Prof. Tom H. M. Ottenhoff (MD 1982, PhD 1986) from Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) has longstanding expertise in the fields of immunology, immunopathology, immunogenetics and cell biology of infectious diseases caused by mycobacteria, particularly leprosy and tuberculosis. He has made several contributions to the characterisation of the human T cell response against mycobacterial pathogens, including the identification of novel antigens and epitopes, and the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control immunity to mycobacteria.
Current research projects include: (i) the development of effective and novel vaccines against tuberculosis, based on fundamental insights into the immunology and cell biology of host/pathogen interactions in tuberculosis, (ii) the genetic basis of susceptibility to disease and disease manifestations of infections caused by intracellular bacterial pathogens, and (iii) the immunopathogenesis of tissue damage in anti-mycobacterial immunity. The Ottenhoff laboratory has extensive knowledge and experience with intracellular bacteria, in regards to mycobacterial species as well as Salmonella.
Research has focused on both the innate as well as the adaptive immune response to bacterial infection with particular focus on the host mechanisms that are essential in regulating such infections. Prof. Ottenhoff has an extensive list of publications in peer reviewed journals. He was awarded the Eijkman medal in 2013 for his contributions to the fields of immunology of tuberculosis and leprosy.