Yvette van Kooyk Group leader

Professor Yvette van Kooyk obtained her PhD (cum laude) at the University of Amsterdam in 1993, studying the Lymphocyte adhesion mediated by integrins at the department of Immunology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute. From 1993 to1996 she was post-doc in the group of Prof. Carl Figdor at the department of Tumor Immunology, University Hospital St Radboud Nijmegen, pioneering the field of integrin activation and adhesion functions of Dendritic cells. In 2000 an Aspasia grant was rewarded, based on her discovery of the innate receptor DC-SIGN on DC, and she obtained an Associate Professor position at Radboud University Nijmegen.

In 2001 she transferred with her research group to the VUmc in Amsterdam and was appointed Professor in Molecular Cell Biology, and group leader of the research group 'Dendritic Cell Biology'. Her Pionier grant, rewarded in 2001, allowed her to direct her research line into the field of functional glycomics, a field neglected by immunologists, which focuses on the understanding how the exposed glycans on glycoproteins/lipids on pathogens or host cells are instrumental for the functional activity and communication of immune cells, in particular Dendritic Cells. Moreover this discovery set the stage of a new field that led to new concepts on pathogen interactions through C-type lectin receptor, that modify Dendritic cell responses.

Her current work, financed by an ERC-Advanced grant and KWF combines basic research to a translational setting aimed to aimed to identify glycans as DC targeting strategy to improve anti-tumor as well as glycans that inhibit inflammatory responses such as in auto-immunity. She is director of the Amsterdam Infection & Immunity Institute, and a member of the directory board of Cancer Center Amsterdam.

Yvette van Kooyk is cofounder of the biotech start-up DC4U that focuses on bringing glycan based diagnostics and therapeutics that interfere with DC function into the clinic.