dr. CA (Christine) Jansen

dr. CA (Christine) Jansen

Associate professor

Research focus: As an experienced veterinary immunologist my research focuses on understanding how the cells of the immune system in veterinary species are activated and exert their function. This includes studying basic mechanisms and novel concepts, developing assays and reagents and basic research on the characterization of immune cells and their function during infections with viruses and bacteria. On the other hand part of my research is to apply this basic knowledge to design novel strategies to modulate the immune system, with the ultimate aim to improve immune mediated protection and reduce infections in livestock.

Expertise in veterinary immunology: With a background in human immunology and experience in studying host pathogen interactions (my PhD) and natural killer cells (my first postdoc), I entered the field of avian immunology in 2007. A postdoc project on natural killer cells in avian influenza allowed me to combine my knowledge on host-pathogen interactions and natural killer cells, however in chicken as the species of interest. A NWO VENI grant allowed me to start my own research line on chicken NK cells, and I identified novel markers and developed assays to study the function of natural killer cells in chickens. These assays gave me the opportunity to study for the first time the role of NK cells during infections with poultry viruses like avian influenza virus, Infectious Bronchitis Virus, Marek’s Disease Virus as well as the foodborne zoonosis Salmonella enteritidis.

Due to these unique tools to measure chicken NK cells I became one of the experts on this subject withing the avian immunology field. In parallel my group developed tools to study the presence and function of other cells of the chicken immune system including monocytes, dendritic cells and T cells. This toolbox enabled me to extend my work on NK cells to other cells of the chicken innate and adaptive immune system, and we investigated the role of these immune cells upon infection with the poultry pathogens mentioned above.

Although chickens were initially the main focus of my work, in more recent years I expanded my research topics to include also pigs and cows where measurement of immune cells was needed to answer specific research questions.

Toolbox: I have developed many flow cytometry based assays and protocols to study the function of immune cells in chickens, and more recently also other livestock species. The include in-dept analysis of activation of immune cells from many organs (blood, spleen, lungs, intestine, liver, bonemarrow and thymus), analysis of cytokines, a quantative analysiss of numbers of immune cells in whole blood. Moreover I have experince with in vitro models including intestinal organoids and in vivo infection models with pathogens like AIB, IBV, NDV, MDV, Salmonella, and PEDV.

Education: I coordinate the course Human and Veterinary Immunologywhich fits very well with my background and expertise. In this advance immunology course, I  combine knowledge on the immune system with host pathogen interactions (what happens when a pathogen enters a host? Do you expect the same upon a viral or bacterial infection?), immune modulatory strategies like vaccination but also interactions with the microbiome.