In our Program “Bacterial Infections and Immunity” we aim to redefine the very definition of pathogenic bacteria. We want to understand why a certain bacterium causes disease in a certain host and what the underlying molecular mechanism is for this. With this molecular information we can design novel drugs and vaccines to prevent and treat bacterial infections. In order to acquire this knowledge, all groups within this program work on both the host as well as the bacterial side. We aim to understand the molecular details of those host-factors that eliminate bacteria from our body, especially the complement system and neutrophils. Next to that we study those bacterial factors that play a role in either recognition by the immune system or evasion from the immune system.

Most of our research is centered around the human pathogens  Staphylococcus aureus, Group A streptococci and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

In the Dutch News: interview (with video footage) of Dani Heesterbeek and Suzan Rooijakkers on dutch Radio 1. Chapter 4 of Dani’s thesis “How complement kills bacteria” deals with an interesting concept of the cooperative interaction of the host complement system and antibiotics to kill Gram-Negative bacteria. Testing antibiotics in the presence of complement expands the applicability of existing and novel antibiotics in treatment.