Sylvia Brugman


Sylvia Brugman

Room E1253

tel 00317482729



Sylvia Brugman did her PhD on the role of dietary and bacterial antigens on the development of Type 1 Diabetes at the University Medical Center in Groningen. During this PhD she became more and more interested in the cross talk between members of the commensal microbiota and the host. After she obtained her PhD she was given the opportunity to further develop her ideas in the laboratory of Edward Nieuwenhuis at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam. Her first post-doc project entailed the development of a novel model for enterocolitis in zebrafish. With this novel model unique links between defined phyla of intestinal microbiota, the recruitment of distinct immune cells and the nature of mucosal inflammation were identified. In 2009, Sylvia transferred to the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital as a junior PI. Her research from 2010 onwards has concentrated on the crosstalk between the intestinal microbiota and the zebrafish immune system. Together with Prof. Stefan Schulte-Merker at the Hubrecht Institute she investigated epithelial function in macrophage stimulating protein(msp)-deficient zebrafish. Mutations in the msp gene are associated with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and indeed msp-deficient zebrafish develop spontaneous intestinal inflammation. Furthermore, the role of adaptive immune development on the intestinal microbiota and mucosal homeostasis were studied in collaboration with Prof. Michiel Kleerebezem and the NIZO institute. Zebrafish without adaptive immunity have an altered microbial composition (dysbiosis) and altered mucosal immune responses. Using adoptive transfer protocols for microbes as well as adaptive immune cells it was shown that T cells regulate microbial community and epithelial chemokine release. Currently, Sylvia is working as a postdoc at Wageningen University, Animal Sciences Group, Cell Biology and Immunology group. She will continue her work on mucosal immunity in health and disease in zebrafish as well as other model systems.