Prof. dr. W.J. Fokkens

Main activities
Patient care, Research
Focus of research

  Main field of interest is sinus and skull base surgery and mucosal pathology of the upper and lower airways.

Chronic Rhinosinusitis and Nasal Polyps: From epidemiology via system biology to new treatments.
Further to the GA2LEN network we will investigate differences in disease expression between ethnic groups in a cohort of 8000 patients and will further participate in the Helius study. We will identify disease mechanisms and develop new treatments for difficult to treat cases with some new options currently under evaluation. In a national multicenter trial we aim to compare efficacy of surgery versus medical treatment (ZonMw).

Non-allergic rhinitis: From pathophysiology to new treatments.
Around 10% of the European population suffers from NAR with effective treatment only available for few individuals as the aetiology is often unknown. Phenotyping NAR in a clinical and laboratory setting has led to a new treatment option, with a second in development together with pharmaceutical partners.

Allergic rhinitis: Towards personalized treatment
We have shown that different allergen sensitizations have different clinical outcomes that affects treatment in individual patients and corroborated this by laboratory studies. In an international IMI consortium (UBIOPRED) on severe lower respiratory diseases we will search for molecular handprints for the relationships of upper and lower airway and in a new EU trial (BM4SIT) we will evaluate personalized immunotherapy.

Key publications
  • Fokkens WJ, Hoffmans R, Thomas M, Avoid prescribing antibiotics in acute rhinosinusitis. BMJ-BRIT MED J 2014;349:g5703 [PubMed]
  • Fokkens WJ, Lund VJ, Mullol J, Bachert C, Alobid I, Baroody F, Cohen N, Cervin A, Douglas R, Gevaert P, Georgalas C, Goossens H, Harvey R, Hellings P, Hopkins C, Jones N, Joos G, Kalogjera L, Kern B, Kowalski M, Price D, Riechelmann H, Schlosser R, Senior B, Thomas M, Toskala E, Voegels R, Wang DY, Wormald PJ, European Position Paper on Rhinosinusitis and Nasal Polyps 2012. RHINOLOGY 2012;50 (Suppl. 23):3 p preceding table of contents, 1-3 p preceding table of contents298 [PubMed]
  • Bal SM, Bernink JH, Nagasawa M, Groot J, Shikhagaie MM, Golebski K , van Drunen CM, Lutter R, Jonkers RE, Hombrink P, Bruchard M, Villaudy J, Munneke JM, Fokkens W, Erjefält JS, Spits H, Ros XR, IL-1β, IL-4 and IL-12 control the fate of group 2 innate lymphoid cells in human airway inflammation in the lungs. NAT IMMUNOL 2016;17 (6):636-645 [PubMed]
  • Tomassen P, Vandeplas G, van Zele T, Cardell LO, Arebro J, Olze H, Förster-Ruhrmann U, Kowalski ML, Olszewska-Ziąber A, Holtappels G, de Ruyck N, Wang X, van Drunen C, Mullol J, Hellings P, Hox V, Toskala E, Scadding G, Lund V, Zhang L, Fokkens W, Bachert C, Inflammatory endotypes of chronic rhinosinusitis based on cluster analysis of biomarkers. J ALLERGY CLIN IMMUN 2016;137 (5):1449-1456.e4 [PubMed]
  • Gevorgyan A, Segboer C, Gorissen R, van Drunen CM, Fokkens W, Capsaicin for non-allergic rhinitis. COCHRANE DB SYST REV 2015;2015 (7):CD010591 [PubMed]
All Publications
Curriculum Vitae

Present appointments:
2016 - Professor, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Functions in scientific organisations
2016 Secretary General European Rhinologic Society
2015 – Chairperson, Best PhD thesis committee, Netherlands Society of ORL
2014 – 2016 President of European Rhinologic Society
2013 – Editorial Advisory Board Clinical and Translational Allergy
2013 – Editorial board Current Treatment Options in Allergy and Current Allergy and Asthma Reports
2004 – Chairperson task force on diagnosis of rhinosinusitis/nasal polyps of European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (EPOS)
2004 – Associate editor Allergy
2004 – Representative of the AMC and Workpackage leader GA2LEN European Network of Excellence
2002 – Editor (since 2014 Editor in chief) Rhinology
2001 – Member of executive committee of European Rhinologic Society
2000 – Member World Health Organization Initiative Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA)
2012 - Preferred expert Rhinology Netherlands Society of ORL
2010 - 2014 Member Science Agenda Committee of the Netherlands Society of ORL
2014 – 2015 President of International Society of Allergy and clinical Immunology of the Nose
2007- 2011 Chairperson CBO Dutch multidisciplinary guideline on CRS
2006 – 2009 Chairperson guideline committee Netherlands Society of Otorhinolaryngology
2005-2006 Member of executive committee of GA2LEN
2004-2006 Member of executive committee of European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (EAACI)
2004- 2006 Chairperson ENT Board European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology


Governance functions
2009- 2016 Member and Vice Chair (since 2015) of the Supervisory Board KBCZ de Trappenberg

Past appointments:

2002-2016 Professor and Chairman Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2003- 2010 Director Otorhinolaryngological training programme AMC
2002 - 2002 Professor in Rhinology, Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam (EMCR), Rotterdam, The Netherlands
1994 - 2002 Head of the "Nasal Mucosal Research Group", EMCR, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
1992 - 2002 ENT surgeon, rhinologist

Honorary PhD supervisor
2013 Andre Kuipers, astronaut at the European Space Agency (ESA). UVA Honoray doctorate for successfully making science accessible to a wide audience and the way he has brought together different scientific disciplines in his work.

Phd –Theses:
2017 Kornel Golebski, Regulation and cross-talk between environmental triggers of local immune responses in airway epithelial cells
2016 Joost van Tongeren, Influence of the mucosal environment on the regulation of the local immune response in health and allergic disease
2016 Maaike Berkhout, Sinonasal pathology in Cystic Fibrosis
2016 Fleur Besseling-Hansen, Complicated rhinosinusitis
2014 Reinartz Suzanne, Nasobronchial interaction the effect of therapy
2013 Ravesloot Madeline J. L.: A tailor made approach to obstructive sleep apnea.
2012 Richard Wietske: Developments in diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
2011 Videler Ward J. M.: Recalcitrant chronic rhinosinusitis. Difficulties in diagnosis and treatment.
2010 Ebbens Fenna A.: Controversies in chronic rhinosinusitis.
2009 Vroling Aram B.: Nasal epithelial cells: effector cells in allergy.
2009 Bogaardt Henk. C. A.: Current aspects of assessment and treatment of dysphagia.
2006 Merkus Paul.: Current aspects of nasal drug delivery.
2005 van Rijswijk, Jeroen: Capsaicin in Idiopathic Rhinitis. A hot topic
2004 van Benten, Inesz: Viral respiratory infections and the maturation of the nasal immune responses in infants
2004 Wreesmann, Volkert and B. Singh (dubble thesis): Molecular-Cytogenetic Characterization of Head and Neck Cancer
2002 KleinJan Alex: IgE+ cells and local IgE production in the nasal mucosa
2001 Braunstahl Gert-Jan: Nasobronchial interaction in allergic rhinitis and asthma
1998 Holm Adriaan: Topical corticosteroid in allergic rhinitis. Effects on Nasal Inflammatory Cells and Mucosa
1998 Blom Henk: Non-allergic non-infectious perennial rhinitis. Pathogenesis and treatment

Honours and awards

2015 Honorary member of the Romanian Rhinologic Society
2015 EAACI Paul Ehrlich award for improving experimental research
2015 Honorary member of EAACI
1992 Research prize of the European Rhinologic Society for basic science
1992 Prize of the Dutch Society of ORL for best thesis of the year
1988 Dr. Chanfleury van IJsselsteinprijs for best paper




Research programmes

Pathology of upper airway and digestive system

 Main field of interest is sinus and skull base surgery and mucosal pathology of the upper and lower airways.

Prof. dr. W.J. Fokkens
Drs. G.F.J.P.M. Adriaensen
Prof. dr. A.J.M. Balm
Dr. C.M. van Drunen
Dr. F.A. Ebbens
Dr. C. Georgalas
Prof. P.W. Hellings
Dr. C.E.L. Hoekstra
Drs. S.M. Reinartz
Drs. E. van Spronsen
Dr. I. Terreehorst MD PhD

PhD Students
Drs. G.F.J.P.M. Adriaensen
K. Avdeeva
Drs. D. Dietz de Loos
S. Geerse
Drs. A.M. van Kuijen
Drs. E.S. Lourijsen
Drs. B. Muller
Drs. C.L. Segboer

Other research related activities
  • Board of directors / Trustees / Supervisory board, European Rhinologic Society
  • Board of directors / Trustees / Supervisory board, Other
Current research funding
  • Chordate Medical AB
  • GlaxoSmithKline BV
  • MAPI S.A.S. - RWE
  • ZonMw