Group de Zoete
Group de Zoete


The intestinal microbiota plays a key role in health and disease, often through direct bacterial interactions with the host intestinal (immune) cells or by released bacterial metabolites. Our main goal is to understand the molecular mechanisms that underly pathogenic host-microbiota interactions. An important focus is a group of ‘pathogenic’ commensals called pathobionts, which often live within the intestinal mucus layer in close proximity or attached to intestinal epithelial cells. The interactions of these pathobionts with the host epithelium and immune system are still mostly unclear but believed to dramatically impact on various disease, including inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer and metabolic syndrome. By unraveling the molecular mechanisms behind pathological host-microbiota interactions, we aim to pave the road for the development of novel therapeutic approaches.

Research program

Infection and Immunity

Research interests

Intestinal inflammation
Inflammatory bowel disease
Bacterial adhesion mechanisms
Bacteria-host interactions
Innate immunity
Bacterial metabolites


Marcel de Zoete

Phone +31 0887567934


Department of Medical Microbiology, University Medical Center Utrecht
Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX UTRECHT, The Netherlands
Room number G04.518, Internal mail n° G04.614

Related websites

Group members

Join our group

For Master and Bachelor student projects, contact Marcel de Zoete 

Key publications

  1. Immunoglobulin A coating identifies colitogenic bacteria in inflammatory bowel disease. Palm NW*, de Zoete MR*, Cullen TW, Barry NA, Stefanowski J, Hao L, Degnan PH, Hu J, Peter I, Zhang W, Ruggiero E, Cho JH, Goodman AL, Flavell RA. Cell. 2014 Aug 28;158(5):1000-1010. View
  2. Immune-microbiota interactions in health and disease. Palm NW*, de Zoete MR*, Flavell RA. Clin Immunol. 2015 Aug;159(2):122-127. View
  3. Epithelial endoplasmic reticulum stress orchestrates a protective IgA response. Grootjans J, Krupka N, Hosomi S, Matute JD, Hanley T, Saveljeva S, Gensollen T, Heijmans J, Li H, Limenitakis JP, Ganal-Vonarburg SC, Suo S, Luoma AM, Shimodaira Y, Duan J, Shih DQ, Conner ME, Glickman JN, Fuhler GM, Palm NW, de Zoete MR, van der Woude CJ, Yuan GC, Wucherpfennig KW, Targan SR, Rosenstiel P, Flavell RA, McCoy KD, Macpherson AJ, Kaser A, Blumberg RS. Science. 2019 Mar 1;363(6430):993-998. View
  4. NLRP1 restricts butyrate producing commensals to exacerbate inflammatory bowel disease. Tye H, Yu CH, Simms LA, de Zoete MR, Kim ML, Zakrzewski M, Penington JS, Harapas CR, Souza-Fonseca-Guimaraes F, Wockner LF, Preaudet A, Mielke LA, Wilcox SA, Ogura Y, Corr SC, Kanojia K, Kouremenos KA, De Souza DP, McConville MJ, Flavell RA, Gerlic M, Kile BT, Papenfuss AT, Putoczki TL, Radford-Smith GL, Masters SL. Nat Commun. 2018 Sep 13;9(1):3728. View
  5. Interactions between Nod-Like Receptors and Intestinal Bacteria. de Zoete MR, Flavell RA. Front Immunol. 2013 Dec 17;4:462. View
 *contributed equally



NWO/ZonMw - Vidi grant

K.F. Hein Fonds

Chinese Scholarship Council



Utrecht University

Jos van Putten
Tom Wennekes
Karin Strijbis

UMC Utrecht

Onno Kranenburg
Bas Oldenburg
Noortje Ijssennagger
Lilly Verhagen (Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital)

In the US

Noah Palm, Yale University
Jason Shapiro, Hasbro Children’s Hospital


Education & Courses

Course Coordinator

Bacterial Pathogenesis, MSc Infection and Immunity, Utrecht University


Molecular Biology of Bacterial Infections, BSc Biomedical Sciences, Utrecht University
Advanced Infectionbiology, Infection & Immunity PhD program, Utrecht University
Moleculaire Prokaryote Microbiology, BSc Biology, Utrecht University
Infection meets Immunity Summer Course, Infection & Immunity PhD program, Utrecht University