Human Leucocyte Antigen (HLA) matching is an important aspect of transplantation. Highly immunized patients have antibodies and memory B-cells against mismatched HLA molecules due to previous transplantations, blood transfusions and/or pregnancy. These patients have a severely reduced chance to find a compatible donor organ. Current treatment options nonspecifically target antibodies and B cells that recognize mismatched HLA which leads to side effects and remain moderately effective.
In this project, I hope to develop a novel cellular therapy to specifically eliminate memory B-cells with reactivity towards mismatched HLA molecules. Such therapy can potentially serve as a personalized immune therapy to treat highly personalized patients and thereby increase the chance to get transplanted and prevent or treat antibody-mediated rejection.
In 2014 I started with the study Nutrition and Health at Wageningen University. During this bachelor, I also participated in the Erasmus exchange program, where I studied for one semester at Umeå University in Sweden. During my studies, I developed an interest in underlying mechanisms of disease which led to the decision to study Biomedical Sciences. I was admitted to the pre-master for Biomedical Sciences, subsequently I started with the Master Biomedical Sciences at Leiden University. In 2021 I received my MSc degree after which I started as a PhD student at the department Immunology, in collaboration with the department of Hematology under the supervision of dr. Sebastiaan Heidt and dr. Mirjam Heemskerk.
Identification of Functional HLA-A*01:01–Restricted Epstein-Barr Latent Membrane Protein 2–Specific T-Cell Receptors.
Huisman, W., Gille, I., Van Der Maarel, L.E., Hageman, L., Morton, L.T., De Jong, R.C.M., Heemskerk, M.H.M., Amsen, D., Falkenburg, J.H.F., Jedema, I.
2020- The Journal of Infectious Diseases. doi:10.1093/infdis/jiaa512