Dr Nienke van der WerfDr. Nienke van der Werf




Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam (2011-2014)

  • Postdoctoral research fellow

University of Edinburgh (2007-2011)

  • Postdoctoral research fellow, Institute of Immunology and Infection Research

University Medical Center Groningen (2001-2006)

  • PhD in Immunology; “The role of cytomegalovirus infection on the development of type 1 diabetes”, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands, Dept. Cell Biology, section Immunology and Histology

University of Groningen (2000)

  • MSc in Medical Biology, Groningen, The Netherlands

Research interests

I am interested in the differential ways infections regulate immune responses. On the one hand, infections can induce a vigorous immune response resulting in effective clearance of the pathogen, though as side effect the immune response might turn towards self (induction of immune pathology) or enhance the autoimmune response as is the case for cytomegalovirus in type 1 diabetes. On the other hand, helminth infections are able to turn off immune responses, thus reaching a chronic stage of infection and pathogen-related pathology might be the result.

Currently, I am investigating in murine models for Litomosoides and Schistosomiasis how helminth infections affect regulatory/effector T cell responses. By providing costimulation/co-inhibition or blocking costimulation/co-inhibition I try to manipulate T cell responses in order to restore protective immunity.


Van der Werf N, Kroese FG, Rozing J, Hillebrands JL.
Viral infections as potential triggers of type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2007 Mar;23(3):169-83. Review.
Van der Werf N, Hillebrands JL, Klatter FA, Bos I, Bruggeman CA, Rozing J.
Cytomegalovirus infection modulates cellular immunity in an experimental model for autoimmune diabetes. Clin Dev Immunol. 2003 Jun-Dec;10(2-4):153-60.
Hillebrands JL, Van der Werf N, Klatter FA, Bruggeman CA, Rozing J.
Role of peritoneal macrophages in cytomegalovirus-induced acceleration of autoimmune diabetes in BB-rats. Clin Dev Immunol. 2003 Jun-Dec;10(2-4):133-9.
Hylkema MN, Timens W, Luinge M, Van Der Werf N, Hoekstra MO.
The effect of bacillus Calmette-Guerin immunization depends on the genetic predisposition to Th2-type responsiveness. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2002 Aug;27(2):244-9.