Joke den Haan Group members

Dr. Alsya Affandi (postdoctoral researcher)
Our group study different types of antigen-presenting-cells (APCs) in human and mouse and we previously found that antigen-targeting to CD169+ macrophages can stimulate superior T & B cells responses. I aim to develop an effective vaccination strategy targeting CD169+ APCs using liposomes to induce anti-pancreatic cancer immune responses. The role of macrophages and dendritic cells subsets (cDCs & pDCs) in this context is investigated. Email:

Dieke van Dinther (PhD student)

Joanna Grabowska (PhD student)
CD169 (Siglec-1) is specifically expressed on strategically localized macrophages present in the spleen. Studies show that antigen targeting to CD169+ macrophages promotes potent antigen-specific immune responses. In my project we exploit CD169 ligand-coated liposomes for antigen delivery to splenic CD169+ macrophages to stimulate (anti-cancer) immune responses. Email:

Miguel Lopez Venegas (PhD student)
Given their ideal location to be in close contact with blood borne antigens in secondary lymphoid organs, CD169+ macrophages are exceptional candidates to target therapeutic strategies, so as to generate a specific antitumor response. In my project, our aim is to model in a human in vitro system such scenario. To do so, we target monocyte-derived dendritic cells with two different strategies: anti-CD169 monoclonal antibodies conjugated to the melanoma antigens MART-1 and gp100 and ligand-specific liposomes containing the same antigens encapsulated in their core. Additionally, we are working on the isolation of blood and tonsil dendritic cells populations to validate our model ex-vivo. Email:

Katarina Olesek (research technician)
The main focus of our group is on vaccination strategy and immune therapy for cancer in melanoma and pancreatic cancer models. I mostly perform various in vitro assays like antigen presentation, binding and internalization assays, immunostainings (FACS and immunofluorescent staining on tissue) and ELISA.