Marit J. van Gils
vaccine immunology with the focus on antibodies
Focus of research
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. These antibody responses are vital in the protection against infectious diseases and the major goal in vaccine research is to induce potent antibodies. We believe that the protective effects of antibody responses are to a major extent imprinted during the first encounters of B and T cells with vaccines. Therefore, gaining knowledge and control over the initial interactions of vaccine candidates with B and T cells and the formation of germinal center responses, will guide the development and improvement of vaccines against infectious diseases. Therefore, we focus on determining phenotypic characteristics of B and Tfh cells and the interactions between these cells correlated with lifelong immunity after common childhood vaccines and after experimental vaccines. We use different techniques such as RNA sequencing, T and B cell receptor analysis and monoclonal antibody isolation to characterize the phenotype, affinity, and specificity of the antigen-specific B and T cells. Through this, we will provide new insights directed towards improving vaccines with the ultimate goal to elicit durable protective immune responses against infectious diseases, such as HIV, HCV and Influenza.