12 April 2016: Simone Joosten of LUMC awarded ‘Early Career Scientist’
Simone Joosten Ph.D. from our research partner Leiden University Medical Centre has been selected as the second recipient of the CTVD Early Career Scientist Award for her contributions to research in TB biomarkers, novel human T-cell subsets, and TB vaccinology. . CTVD is the Collaboration for TB Vaccine Discovery, and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Simone has contributed to the clinical evaluation of novel TB vaccine candidates and performed Phase 1 clinical trials for novel vaccine candidates and novel vaccine adjuvants which contributed to numerous publications. According to Melvin Sanicas, programme manager of the CTVD, early career scientists such as Simone are essential to ensure that the field remains innovative and scientifically robust.
The Early Career Scientist award carries with it a travel grant to attend a TB-related conference. This award will cover expenses related to this travel.
After graduating in Biomedical Sciences from Utrecht University in 1999, Simone studied the immunological involvement in chronic renal transplant rejection in the department of Nephrology and obtained her PhD at Leiden University in 2004. She obtained certification in Immunology and in Experimental Pathobiology from the SMBWO. Following her PhD, she started working in the Department of Infectious Diseases and focused on mycobacterial infections. Simone also worked at the University of Cape Town, South Africa to work on immune responses following BCG vaccination in infants. Her current work focusses on TB biomarkers, detailed characterization of novel human T-cell subsets and more recently macrophage biology and metabolism.
Our scientific mission is to dissect immunological and host-genetic mechanisms of protective and pathologic immunity to mycobacterial infections, in order to design more effective intervention strategies such as vaccines, diagnostics and new forms of treatment.
We have established a long-term research programme in the field of human immunology, cell biology and immunogenetics of mycobacterial infectious diseases. Amongst some of our scientific contributions are the discovery of the first specific antigens for mycobacterium reactive T-cells in humans; the identification of the first Thelper-1 cells in humans; the discovery of a new human immunodeficiency due to genetic mutations in the receptor for interleukin-12; the cloning of the first monoclonal T-regulatory cells in humans; involved in many human genetic studies that identified, with excellent collaborators, multiple new genetic variants impacting on risk of tuberculosis and leprosy; (together with prof. JJ Neefjes) the identification of a new human PKB/Akt1 controlled signaling pathway, that is manipulated by Salmonella and M.tuberculosis to inhibit phagosomal-lysosomal fusion. One current focus is on the role of T cell subsets (T-helper, T-regulatory), macrophage subsets, intracellular signaling networks, cellular function and systems biology.
A related, translation-oriented focus is on innovative approaches to M.tuberculosis antigen discovery, vaccine design and biomarker discovery. We have executed several clinical phase I/IIa first in human trials with new TB vaccines, including their immune monitoring. We participate in several well-known international research consortia, which include partners from EU, US and developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America. Our funding mostly comes from EC (FP7, HOR2020, IMI2), BMGF, NL Leprosy Relief Foundation and Dutch Government (NW), STW).
Since 2015 Tom Ottenhoff is a member of the senior management team of TBVI.
The members of our lab are:
Dr Marielle C Haks, associate professor