Bas Zaat

Biomaterial-associated infections and novel antimicrobials

Indwelling medical devices or “biomaterials” such as prosthetic joints, prosthetic heart valves, and catheters are essential for modern day medicine and save lives and provide high quality of life. However, they are susceptible to infection, one of the main causes of their failure, causing high patient morbidity and even mortality, and increase of health care costs.

Zaat’s research line "Biomaterial-associated infection and novel antimicrobial strategies”, is focused on pathogenesis, prevention and treatment of biomaterial-associated infections, both in soft tissue (catheters, surgical meshes) and bone (implants, fixation devices). Based on research on the pathogenesis involving the (molecular) interactions between the pathogen, the host response and the biomaterial, novel preventive strategies are being developed. These include anti-infective coatings not subject to antibiotic resistance development, prevention of biofilm formation, influencing of the host immune response and enhancement of killing of bacteria hiding within tissue surrounding inserted or implanted medical devices. These approaches are aimed at maximally reducing the risk of biomaterial-associated infection for patients.

Research team

Head of the team

Dr. Bas (S.A.J.) Zaat.

Bas Zaat studied Biology at Leiden University, and graduated on at Leiden University on the thesis “Molecular signals in the early Rhizobium – legume interaction”.

Since 2010 he is Principal Investigator and has extensive experience in the field of Biomaterials and Infection research, including research on antimicrobial peptides as alternatives for antibiotics. He was involved in or coordinated the  BMM NANTICO “Non-adherent ANTImicrobial Coatings” project, BMM IBIZA “Imaging of Biomaterial-associated Infection using Zebrafish Analysis”, EU FP7 BALI “Biofilm Alliance” project developing novel Synthetic Antimicrobial and Antibiofilm Peptides, and the EU COST Consortium IPROMEDAI “Improved PROtection Of Medical Devices Against Infection” and Dutch National consortia Craniosafe, SuperActive and PHOTO-TREAT..

Currently he is leading or involved in a number of National and international consortium projects, including EU Horizon2020 Marie Curie training networks PRINT-AID and STIMULUS, EU Horizon 2020 Twinning project CEMBO, and Dutch National consortia GDST, NESDAP, NACQAC and DARTBAC.

Team members

The team consists of senior post-doc Martijn Riool, 2 junior post docs, 10 PhD students and 1 research technician, who are all listed in the section below with their projects and research activities.

Post docs

  • Martijn Riool:Projects PRINT-AID, STIMULUS, GDST, NACQAC, NESDAP, CEMBO, on novel antimicrobial peptides, controlled release systems, in vitro and in vivo biomaterial-associated infection models.
  • Rui Li: NACQAC project: Design, synthesis and physico-chemical characterization of permanent microbicidal coatings for medical devices; collaboration with RUG.
  • Payal Balraadjsing: DARTBAC project: Unravelling the host response to biomaterial-associated infection to develop biomarkers for novel materials which will be “Safe-by-Design”;  with RIVM.

PhD students

  • Gizem Babuccu: EU Marie Curie ITN project STIMULUS (; Diagnostic and antimicrobial triggered release devices.
  • Nikitha Vavilthota: EU Marie Curie ITN project STIMULUS (; Assessing ex vivo and in vivo diagnostic and antimicrobial capacity of smart triggered release system.
  • Deeksha Rajkumar: NWA Dartbac - New material technologies to combat AMR (; Novel antimicrobial release coatings and medical device technologies.
  • Laure van Hofwegen: NWA Dartbac - New material technologies to combat AMR (; Novel antimicrobial strategies and host response in biomaterial-associated infections.
  • Pia Fehrenbach: AO Research Institute AUMC: S. aureus - the host pathogen interaction and the effects on osteoimmunology; with Dr. F. Moriarty, AO Research Institute, Davos, Switzerland and Prof. Dr. E.C. de Jong, Amsterdam UMC.
  • Clara Guarch Perez:  PRINT-AID; In vivo evaluation of novel antimicrobial medical devices produced by additive manufacturing.
  • Chantal Diedrich: Host response against biomaterials used in urogynecology; with Prof. Dr. J.P. Roovers, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Amsterdam UMC.
  • Kim Verhorstert: Cellular and immunologic response to new generation pelvic floor implant; with Prof. Dr. J.P. Roovers, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Amsterdam UMC.
  • Raymond Pasman: Oral microbiome: polymicrobial interactions involving Candida albicans and oral bacteria; with Prof. Dr. S. Brul (UvA) and Dr. B. Krom (ACTA).
  • Shiqi Liu: Antimicrobial peptides and microbiome interactions; with Prof. Dr. S. Brul (UvA).

Research Technicians

  • Leonie de Boer: Molecular microbiology, biofilm and infection models of pathogens causing biomaterial-associated infection, antimicrobial peptides.

Post Doc

Phd Students

  • None at this moment, please contact for information
News & Publications


Sebastianus A. J. Zaat - Publications

Recently published

1.     Guarch-Pérez C, Shaqour B, Riool M, Verleije B, Beyers K, Vervaet C, Cos P,  Zaat SAJ. 2022. 3D-printed gentamicin-releasing poly-ε-caprolactone composite prevents fracture-related Staphylococcus aureus infection in mice. Pharmaceutics 14, 1363

2.     Zhang X, de Boer L, Zaat SAJ. 2022. Photochemical Internalization as a New Strategy to Enhance Efficacy of Antimicrobial Agents Against Intracellular Infections. Methods Mol Biol 2451:671-689.

3.     Verhorstert KWJ, Riool M, Bulten T, Guler Z, de Boer L, Roovers JWR, Zaat SAJ. 2022. The impact of bacterial contamination on the host response towards fully absorbable poly-4-hydroxybutyrate and nonabsorbable polypropylene pelvic floor implants. Mater Today Bio 15:100268.

4.     Pasman R, Krom BP, Zaat SAJ, Brul S. 2022. The Role of the Oral Immune System in Oropharyngeal Candidiasis-Facilitated Invasion and Dissemination of Staphylococcus aureus. Front Oral Health 3:851786.

Dr. Bas (S.A.J.) Zaat  |  Principal Investigator
Sebastianus A. J. Zaat (


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