dr. S (Sylvia) Brugman

dr. S (Sylvia) Brugman

Assistant Professor

Sylvia Brugman studied Biology (Medical Biology and Behavioural-& Neuroscience) in Groningen. She obtained her PhD in 2007. Her PhD centered on the role of dietary and bacterial antigens on the development of type 1 diabetes and was supervized by prof. Nicolaas Bos (co-promotor), dr. Jan Rozing (co-protomor) and prof. Frans Kroese (promotor) at the University Medical Centre in Groningen.

After her PhD, she was appointed in the laboratory of prof. Edward Nieuwenhuis at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam to develop of a novel model for enterocolitis (intestinal inflammation) in zebrafish. With this novel model she was able to identify unique links between certain intestinal bacteria, the recruitment of distinct immune cells and the nature of mucosal inflammation (Gastroenterology 2009). In 2009, Sylvia joined prof. Nieuwenhuis in his transfer to the Wilhelmina Childrens Hospital (UMCU) in Utrecht, where she and Sabine Middendorp set-up a new Pediatric Gastroenterology Lab. During this time the new lab established intensive collaboration with the Hubrecht Institute (groups of prof. Clevers and prof. Schulte-Merker).

Sylvia Brugman's research from 2010 onwards has concentrated on the crosstalk between the intestinal microbiota and the zebrafish immune system. She has investigated the role of adaptive immune development on the intestinal microbiota and mucosal homeostasis and demonstrated that zebrafish without adaptive immunity have an altered microbial composition and altered mucosal immune responses. Using adoptive transfer protocols for microbes as well as adaptive immune cells she showed that T cells regulate microbial community (Gut Microbes, 2014) and epithelial chemokine release (J Immunol. 2014).

From 2010 Sylvia was a guest member of the laboratory of Prof. Stefan Schulte-Merker at the Hubrecht Institute and together with postdoc dr. Huitema, who characterized the bone phenotype of the msp-deficient zebrafish, she started to investigate the role of Msp in intestinal homeostasis (Zebrafish, 2014).  From January 2014, Sylvia worked as a senior postdoc at Wageningen University at the Cell Biology and Immunology group. She worked on two projects: 1) innate cell recruitment in inflammatory disease using zebrafish and 2) induction of IgA1 and IgA2 production by mucosal factors using human primary B cells.

As of June 2016 Sylvia Brugman is appointed as Assistant Professor at the Cell Biology and Immunology Group. Here, she was involved in research on human and animal immunology.

As of April 2020 Sylvia transferred to the Host Microbe Interactomics group at Animal Sciences. Her current research focusses on 1) the effect of feed on mucosal homeostasis and microbial composition using the zebrafish as a model for aquaculture fish species and other vertebrates, 2) the influence of the adaptive immune system in controlling microbial composition.


-NWO-TTW: Fishing for functional feed: using the zebrafish to screen novel feed

-NWO-ENW: Host control of pathobiont species

-Protein transition investment theme: Setting up a pipeline to understand the effects of novel sustainable plant proteins on health and digestibility.