prof. dr. S.H.M. Rooijakkers

prof. dr. S.H.M. Rooijakkers

Full Professor
prof. dr. S.H.M. Rooijakkers
  • Department of Medical Microbiology

Research Programs

Infection & Immunity



The goal of the research of Suzan Rooijakkers is to unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying bacterial killing by the human immune system. In particular, she investigates the molecular functioning of the complement system, a large protein network in plasma that plays an essential role in the immune response against all invading bacteria. Complement rapidly labels bacteria for phagocytosis by immune cells and directly kills Gram-negative bacteria via pore formation (Membrane Attack Complex (MAC)). Although the MAC is an evolutionary conserved mechanism to kill bacterial cells, we currently do not understand how complement activation results in bacterial killing. In 2015, she obtained the prestigious ERC Starting grant that is aimed at providing insight into these bacterial killing mechanisms. She has recently established novel methods to study complement activation in highly purified model systems allowing us to provide insight into MAC-dependent killing of bacteria.

Other projects in the lab involve unravelling processes underlying complement-mediated phagocytosis. Complement is essential in immune eradication of Gram-positive bacteria. She aims to elucidate the molecular details of complement opsonin-receptor interactions . The work will pave the way for several therapeutic applications, including targeted complement-dependent bacterial killing and antibody therapy of clinically important bacteria. Furthermore, her studies will create new avenues for blocking the undesired complement activation during systemic bacterial infections and sepsis.

Side Activities

1. 2021 (once)    External grant reviewer Wallenberg foundation, Karolinska Institute, Sweden. No compensation.

2. 2019-now    Board member Executive Board Netherlands Antibiotic Development Platform (NADP). Compensation in favor of research group at UMCU.

3. 2018-NOW   TTW-NACTAR Programme committee  (no compensation)

4. Organizer of the 2nd and 3rd international conference on antibodies and complement. May 2019 and June 2023. Girona, Spain.  (travel and registration costs of PI were compensated (<2000 euro per meeting)

5. Committee member of NWO-ZonMw Veni program (2019, once). Compensation in favor of research group at UMCU.

6. Panel member of the excecutive committe of the 'Complement UK research network', a collaborative organization that joints over 40 PIs (representing 29 UK Centers). My role as a panel member was to recruit PhD students for open positions (May 2016)  Compensation in favor of research group at UMCU.

Fellowship and Awards

Research Grants

2023       €1.500.000,- NWO-Vici grant

2020       €2.000.000,- personal ERC Consolidator grant from European Research Council

2019      co-applicant on a European Joint Doctorate grant

2019      €250.000,- NCOH-AMR Complex Systems grant

2018      €300.000,- NWO-TTW Industrial Doctorate grant

2018       €800.000,- NWO-TTW NACTAR        

2018       €200.000,- NWO-Aspasia grant

2018       Hub for Molecular Immunology, UU

2015     €1.500.000,- personal ERC Starting grant from European Research Council.

2013          Co-applicant on a €800.000,- Eurostars grant together with Pepscan Therapeutics and   Bicycle Therapeutics (#E7679, BAIT, Bicycle Anti-Inflammatory Therapeutics).

2011          €100.000,- Aspasia-grant from NWO.

 2010         €800.000,- personal VIDI-grant for Innovational Research Incentives from NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) (#917-11-379).

2008         European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) long term fellowship (#ALTF 382-2008).

2007          €200.000,- personal VENI-grant for Innovational Research Incentives from NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) (#916-76-037).


Contract research

2018-2021      €500.000,- Genmab-sponsored research grant  (no personal payment)

2015-2017      €300.000,- Genmab-sponsored research grant (no personal payment)

Research Output (89)

CD5L is a canonical component of circulatory IgM

Oskam Nienke, den Boer Maurits A, Lukassen Marie V, Ooijevaar-de Heer Pleuni, Veth Tim S, van Mierlo Gerard, Lai Szu-Hsueh, Derksen Ninotska I L, Yin Victor, Streutker Marij, Franc Vojtech, Šiborová Marta, Damen Mirjam J A, Kos Dorien, Barendregt Arjan, Bondt Albert, van Goudoever Johannes B, de Haas Carla J C, Aerts Piet C, Muts Remy M, Rooijakkers Suzan H M, Vidarsson Gestur, Rispens Theo, Heck Albert J R 12 Dec 2023, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 120 7 p.

Human anti-C1q autoantibodies bind specifically to solid-phase C1q and enhance phagocytosis but not complement activation

Dijkstra Douwe J, van de Bovenkamp Fleur S, Abendstein Leoni, Zuijderduijn Rob, Pool Jos, Kramer Cynthia S M, Slot Linda M, Drijfhout Jan W, de Vor Lisanne, Gelderman Kyra A, Rooijakkers Suzan H M, Zaldumbide Arnaud, Vidarsson Gestur, Sharp Thomas H, Parren Paul W H I, Trouw Leendert A 12 Dec 2023, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 120

The Influence of Human IgG Subclass and Allotype on Complement Activation

Damelang Timon, de Taeye Steven W, Rentenaar Rosa, Roya-Kouchaki Kasra, de Boer Esther, Derksen Ninotska I L, van Kessel Kok, Lissenberg-Thunnissen Suzanne, Rooijakkers Suzan H M, Jongerius Ilse, Mebius Mirjam M, Schuurman Janine, Labrijn Aran F, Vidarsson Gestur, Rispens Theo 1 Dec 2023, In: Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). 211 , p. 1725-1735 11 p.

Artificial surface labelling of Escherichia coli with StrepTagII antigen to study how monoclonal antibodies drive complement-mediated killing

Muts Remy M, den Boer Maurits A, Bardoel Bart W, Aerts Piet C, de Haas Carla J C, Heck Albert J R, Rooijakkers Suzan H M, Heesterbeek Dani A C Dec 2023, In: Scientific Reports. 13 12 p.

Human Complement Inhibits Myophages against Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Egido Julia E, Dekker Simon O, Toner-Bartelds Catherine, Lood Cédric, Rooijakkers Suzan H M, Bardoel Bart W, Haas Pieter-Jan 3 Nov 2023, In: Viruses. 15 17 p.

New Insights into the Complement Receptor of the Ig Superfamily Obtained from Structural and Functional Studies on Two Mutants

Duan Huiquan, Abram Troy G, Cruz Ana Rita, Rooijakkers Suzan H M, Geisbrecht Brian V 1 Nov 2023, In: ImmunoHorizons. 7 , p. 806-818 13 p.

Antibody-Drug Conjugates to Treat Bacterial Biofilms via Targeting and Extracellular Drug Release

Tvilum Anne, Johansen Mikkel I, Glud Laerke N, Ivarsen Diana M, Khamas Amanda B, Carmali Sheiliza, Mhatre Snehit Satish, Søgaard Ane B, Faddy Emma, de Vor Lisanne, Rooijakkers Suzan H M, Østergaard Lars, Jørgensen Nis P, Meyer Rikke L, Zelikin Alexander N 15 Aug 2023, In: Advanced Science. 10 , p. 1-15 15 p.

Colistin resistance mutations in phoQ can sensitize Klebsiella pneumoniae to IgM-mediated complement killing

van der Lans Sjors P A, Janet-Maitre Manon, Masson Frerich M, Walker Kimberly A, Doorduijn Dennis J, Janssen Axel B, van Schaik Willem, Attrée Ina, Rooijakkers Suzan H M, Bardoel Bart W 3 Aug 2023, In: Scientific Reports. 13 , p. 1-13 13 p.

Inhibition of cleavage of human complement component C5 and the R885H C5 variant by two distinct high affinity anti-C5 nanobodies

Struijf Eva M, De la O Becerra Karla I, Ruyken Maartje, de Haas Carla J C, van Oosterom Fleur, Siere Danique Y, van Keulen Joanne E, Heesterbeek Dani A C, Dolk Edward, Heukers Raimond, Bardoel Bart W, Gros Piet, Rooijakkers Suzan H M Aug 2023, In: The Journal of biological chemistry. 299 17 p.

Direct Mass Spectrometry-Based Detection and Antibody Sequencing of Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance from Patient Serum:A Case Study

Peng Weiwei, den Boer Maurits A, Tamara Sem, Mokiem Nadia J, van der Lans Sjors P A, Bondt Albert, Schulte Douwe, Haas Pieter-Jan, Minnema Monique C, Rooijakkers Suzan H M, van Zuilen Arjan D, Heck Albert J R, Snijder Joost 27 Jul 2023, In: Journal of Proteome Research. 22 , p. 3022-3028 7 p.

All research output

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