Group van Baarle
Group van Baarle


Our research focus is to understand the course of the immune response against virus infections and which characteristics play a role to protect against or control virus infections. To this end, we analyse quantitative as well as qualitative aspects of the cellular immune response at the level of antigen-presentation, immunodominance, and recognition by T cells. In addition, we perform in vitro studies to unravel the mechanisms underlying proper immune control.
Furthermore, we aim to bridge different public health related fields by using immunological knowledge and principles to address existing and future public health issues. This includes aging-related enhanced risk for infectious diseases, lifestyle and behavioral influences on immunological properties which may enhance the risk for infectious disease and reduce vaccine response.

Research program

Infection and Immunity


Debbie van Baarle

UMCU email
RIVM email

Related website

Research interests

Anti-viral immunity
HLA molecules
  • Peptide presentation
  • Peptide properties
  • T-cell features (function, phenotype, repertoire)
Correlates of protection
Factors impacting the immune response and the immune repertoire
  • Gender, age, genetic background
  • Infection history
  • Co-infection
  • Microbiome

Post doc/PI

Jelle de Wit
Susana Fuentes

Senior technician

Nening nanlohy

PhD students

Sara van den Berg
Josien Lanfemeijer
Bette Loef
Alper Cervigel
Koen van de Ven

Join our group

PhD student position

Postdoc position

  • Systems vaccinology

Key publications

  1. van den Berg SPH, Pardieck IN, Lanfermeijer J, Sauce D, Klenerman P, van Baarle D, Arens R. The hallmarks of CMV-specific CD8 T-cell differentiation. Med Microbiol Immunol. 2019 Aug;208(3-4):365-373. View
  2. van den Berg SPH, Wong A, Hendriks M, Jacobi RHJ, van Baarle D, van Beek J. Negative Effect of Age, but Not of Latent Cytomegalovirus Infection on the Antibody Response to a Novel Influenza Vaccine Strain in Healthy Adults. Front Immunol. 2018 Jan 29;9:82. View
  3. de Wit J, Emmelot ME, Poelen MCM, van Binnendijk RS, van der Lee S, van Baarle D, Han WGH, van Els CACM, Kaaijk P. Mumps infection but not childhood vaccination induces persistent polyfunctional CD8(+) T-cell memory. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2018 May;141(5):1908-1911.e12. View
  4. Costa AI, Koning D, Ladell K, McLaren JE, Grady BP, Schellens IM, van Ham P, Nijhuis M, Borghans JA, Keşmir C, Price DA, van Baarle D. Complex T-Cell Receptor Repertoire Dynamics Underlie the CD8+ T-Cell Response to HIV-1. J Virol. 2015 Jan 1;89(1):110-9. View
  5. Koning D, Costa AI, Hoof I, Miles JJ, Nanlohy NM, Ladell K, Matthews KK, Venturi V, Schellens IM, Borghans JA, Kesmir C, Price DA, van Baarle D. CD8+ TCR repertoire formation is guided primarily by the peptide component of the antigenic complex. J Immunol. 2013 Feb 1;190(3):931-9. View 

Funding and grants

> See all grants



Dr Jose Borghans/Kiki Tesselaar – Immunology (LTI)
>age associated (and CMV-related) T cell dynamics (1 PhD student)

Dr Joop Arends/Prof Andy Hoepelman – Infectious diseases

>Specific immunity and control of infectious diseases (proposal in submission)

Prof Jurgen Kuball – Hematology

>biomarker-based vaccine schemes after allogeneic Stem cell transplantation (clinical study ongoing)

Dr Debby Bogaert/ prof Lieke Sanders – Medische Microbiology/Pediatrics
>(respiratory) microbiome studies and host response (within Strategic Program RIVM)

Dr Eric Spierings - Immunology
>HLA, KIR and TCR sequencing


Dr Michiel van Boven, Epidemiologie Cib
>HLA and immune response variation, CMV and Immunosenensence

Dr Karin Proper/Prof Harry van Steeg, VPZ/GZB
>Role 24/7 economy and jetlag on immune responses and susceptibility to infections

Dr Guy Berbers/Fiona van der Klis, IIV
>Antibody titers and vaccination schemes


Dr Can Kesmir, Theoretical Biology, UU
>Epitope prediction and HLA-KIR interactions

Dr Andre Boonstra/ Andrea Woltman, Hepatology ErasmusMC
Prof Georg Lauer MGH, Boston, USA
>Hepatitis-specific immunity

Prof Marcus Altfeld, Hamburg
>HLA-KIR interactions

Prof David Price, Cardiff University, UK
>TCR repertoire studies

The VITAL consortium (website to be followed soon)