Teunis B. H. Geijtenbeek
Focus of research
We investigate how pathogens and in particular viruses (HIV-1, SARS-CoV-2, Zika and Dengue virus) infect humans. We thereby study mucosal dendritic cells that function as sentinels that sense invading pathogens and induce appropriate immune responses. However, specific viruses hijack the dendritic cells to establish dissemination throughout the body. Thus, dendritic cells are important in determining the susceptibility of humans to viruses such as HIV-1 and SARS-CoV-2. We use primary human dendritic cells isolated from skin and mucosal tissues and we have also developed different ex vivo human tissue infection models to investigate virus susceptibility in a physiological relevant model. We aim to identify the molecular mechanisms triggered by the pathogens to infiltrate the body via dendritic cells and this will provide novel targets to counteract infections or induce specific immune responses.