Marit van Gils

Virus vaccine immunology

The van Gils lab is committed to make a lasting impact on the field of vaccine immunology.

Our mission is to comprehend the underlying immunology behind vaccination, in particular the elicitation of antibody responses by vaccines and compare these with the antibody responses after natural infection. Therefore, increasing our knowledge on the interactions of viruses and vaccine candidates with B cells will guide the development and improvement of vaccines against infectious diseases to create a healthier world. The van Gils lab has successfully isolated antibodies targeting HIV, Influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 to identify novel sites of vulnerability which have guided vaccine design.

Well-designed experiments, acceptation of failures and determination are the start of every novel discovery. Communicating about these novel discoveries is equally important and in the van Gils lab we believe that this needs to be within, but also beyond the greater scientific community to engage the general public.

Research team

Head of the team

Marit van Gils, PhD Associate Professor, specialty Virology

Marit van Gils (1982) studied medical pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. She has done her Ph.D. research (2007-2011) at the University of Amsterdam in the lab of Dr. Schuitemaker after which she continued her career as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Sanders. Marit has performed part of her postdoctoral research at the Scripps Research Institute and has started her own research group at the Amsterdam UMC in 2017 studying vaccine immunology, especially the recognition of immunogens by B cells and antibodies.

Team members
  • Aafke Aartse, PhD student working at BPRC, Rijswijk studying the Influenza virus HA antibody response in humans and non-human primates
  • Mathieu Claireaux, PhD; Postdoctoral Fellow studying Tfh cells after HIV infection and vaccination
  • Marlon de Gast; PhD student studying the initial interactions between T and B cells to improve vaccine induced antibody responses
  • Marloes Grobben; PhD student characterizing the antibody response and antibody effector functions after HIV and SARS-CoV-2 infection
  • Gius Kerster; Technician specialized in flow cytometry of T and B cells and antibody isolationhier content
  • Haye Nijhuis; PhD student
  • Wouter Olijhoek; research technician specializing in cellular assays for HIV-1 and SARS-CoV-2
  • Angela Schriek; PhD student developing VHH nanobodies with antibody effector functions for HIV cure
  • Jacqueline van Rijswijk; research technician specializing in antibody assays for HIV-1 and SARS-CoV-2
  • Sabine de Ruiter; research technician specializing in characterizing vaccine immune responses
  • Khadija Tejjani; research technician specializing in antibody binding assays for HIV-1 and SARS-CoV-2
  • Steven de Taeye, PhD; Postdoctoral Fellow working on HIV cure using antibody engineering to improve antibody effector functions
  • Jeffrey Umotoy; PhD student working on activating compounds to increase killing of HIV-infected cells towards HIV cure
  • Marit van Gils received a grant from NWO (ENW-KLEIN 2021) to study intrastructural help to improve antibody responses after HIV vaccination. This 4-year grant will support a PhD student.
  • Karlijn van der Straten (PhD student)  and Marloes (PhD student) have presented their work during oral poster session at the IAS 2021 COVID-19 symposium and the annual meeting of the Dutch Immunology Society 2021, respectively.
  • Aafke Aartse (PhD student) won the poster price at the annual meeting of the Dutch Immunology Society 2021.
  • Marit van Gils was awarded the ESCMID young investigator award. She will receive the price at the annual ESCMID conference 2021, which will take place virtually from Vienna.
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