Symposium speakers

The speakers for the morning program of the Dies Natalis 2017 (Towards a Global One Health).

Gerrita van den Bunt

Gerrita van den Bunt is a PhD student in the UMCU and RIVM under supervision of Marc Bonten, Ad Fluit and Wilfrid van Pelt. She has a background in health sciences (specialization in infectious diseases). She is involved in the ESBL Attribution consortium (ESBLAT), which is a collaboration between CVI, WUR, RIVM, UU, IRAS, UMCU and GD aiming to get more insight in the different transmission routes and sources of Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamase (ESBL) occurrence and the attribution from different sources to humans. Within this consortium, her research is focusing on the prevalence, risk factors and co-carriage of antimicrobial resistance in humans, dogs and cats from the general community. From November 2014 till November 2016, a random stratified sample of ~2000 inhabitants of the Netherlands was drawn and subjects were invited to complete online an epidemiological questionnaire and to provide a faecal sample. If applicable, a faecal sample was also provided from a dog or cat. They end up with ~4000 faecal human samples and ~800 pet samples, which were al tested for the presence of ESBL-producing bacteria. In addition, the first part of samples were also tested for Ampicillin resistant E. faecium (ARE) and Vancomycin resistant E. faecium (VRE). Since we are facing a global, multiple sources problem, results of this study, with a one health approach, are of great value in getting new insights in identifying and combating antimicrobial resistance.

Yujie He

Yujie He is a fourth year PhD of the sub-department of Environmental Technology. Her research topic is “removal of pharmaceuticals in constructed wetlands”. The consumption of PhACs is impressive in the global scale. The occurrence of pharmaceuticals in the environment becomes a growing concern due to their potential threat to aquatic environment and human health. Wastewater treatment plants as the key barrier for PhACs disposal to the aquatic environment could not remove pharmaceuticals sufficiently. What she is aiming to do is to search an additional technique to eliminate pharmaceuticals efficiently, to understand the removal mechanism and to enhance the removal efficiency.

Bernardo Saucedo Garnica

Bernardo Saucedo Garnica is a Mexican PhD student from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Utrecht University. His area of expertise is Veterinary Pathology. His PhD project concerns the distribution, phylogenetic characterization and overall impact of disease caused by Ranaviruses in amphibian populations in the Netherlands. His project specifically concerns a particular species of Ranavirus called Common Midwife Toad virus which is by far the most prevalent ranavirus species circulating throughout Europe. During the last four years he and his colleagues have conducted this research by delving into diverse fields (Veterinary Pathology, Epidemiology, Virology, Ecology), which has resulted in the complete genome sequencing of 12 CMTV NL viruses circulating in the Netherlands and the discovery of at least two diverse major virus groups segregated geographically that appear to differ in pathogenicity based on differences in mortality patterns and life stages of amphibians affected. Consistent with this theory is the fact that various evident mutations (primarily deletions)are present in both coding and non coding areas in the genome of the seemingly less pathogenic virus. He is currently busy with exploring the true prevalence of these two groups of viruses in live amphibian populations and in the environment, since his previous research was conducted primarily on dead specimens submitted to the Dutch Wildlife Health Centre. He will also perform some viral kinetics in vitro studies to further support the differences in pathogenicity amongst the two main virus groups. His research is meant to encourage a collaboration amongst European researchers to gain more information on the true phylogeny and circulation of ranaviruses in order to pave the way for the development of effective strategies to prevent the spread of these pathogens and their devastating effects on nature.

Saskia Bergervoet

Recent outbreaks of Avian Influenza (AI) virus infections in free-living and domestic birds demonstrate that AI viruses pose a continuous global threat to animal and public health. As a PhD student at Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (June 2015-present), Saskia studies the genetic diversity of AI viruses in wild birds and domestic poultry in the Netherlands. As part of the PhD project, the whole genome sequences of more than 300 AI virus isolates have been generated by next-generation sequencing. By using phylogenetic inference approaches, She aims to identify specific mutations in the AI virus genome that are associated with an increased chance of virus introduction into poultry, within-farm spread and transmission to other poultry farms. In addition, she focuses on the identification of genetic factors that may act as determinants of virulence, pathogenicity and host range. Increased knowledge of virus transmission and potential virulence factors is important to control virus spread and reduce the probability of the emergence of highly pathogenic virus strains.

Sabina Super

In 2006, she started the bachelor Applied Communication Science with a focus on health promotion and nutrition behaviour. She then continued with two master programs, Applied Communication Science and Health & Society, and finished both masters in 2013 with an internship at the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment. In 2013, she started her PhD program on the project Youth Care and Sport which is finished in the summer of 2017, at the Chairgroup of Health & Society. In the Netherlands, 10% of all children get in contact with youth care during their childhood because they experience problems in growing up, for example because they have behavioural problems, are bullied in school or come from problematised families with a drugs or alcohol abuse history. There has been a longstanding interest in the potential of sports participation to reach positive youth development with the underlying idea that sports participation can contribute to the development of competencies and skills, that can benefit these youths in leading a healthy and productive life. In line with this, health professionals and policymakers in the Netherlands aim to encourage sports participation of this group with the aim to reach wider social and educational outcomes. However, these popular beliefs of sport as a means to reach youth development have currently not been supported with scientific evidence nor do we know under which conditions sports participation is beneficial for socially vulnerable youth. Hence, the project Youth, Care and Sport aims to examine the value of sports participation for socially vulnerable youth.

Tim Hofmeester

Tim is a young ecologist who just finished his PhD in disease ecology at Wageningen University. He is a real mammal fanatic, studying mammals (especially rodents and carnivores) and their parasites both for his research and in his spare time. Curiosity is his driver and his goal is to better educate the world about natural processes. His PhD research concerned the role of different vertebrate hosts in maintaining populations of the sheep tick (Ixodes ricinus) and several species of pathogen that are transmitted by the sheep tick. He now focusses on how behaviour of vectors and hosts influences pathogen transmission.

Xiaoqian Shi

Xiaoqian Shi a fourth year PhD student from the Laboratory of Phytopathology of Wageningen University. She came to the Netherlands almost nine years ago to finish her BSc in Horticulture, which was a collaboration study program between China Agriculture University and Van Hall Larenstein. Since she arrived here, she enjoyed experiencing not only all the different cultural aspects but also the strong academic atmosphere. Therefore, she decided to continue with an MSc education in Plant Sciences at Wageningen University. During her MSc study, she chose to experience different laboratories within and outside Wageningen. The positive experience during her master thesis at the Laboratory of Phytopathology motivated het to continue with a PhD project. The ultimate aim of her research is to gain fundamental knowledge about the evolution of plant pathogens. Ultimately, this knowledge can contribute to the design of novel methods to prevent, or control plant diseases in important agricultural crops. Specifically, her research is focusing on the fungal genus Verticillium which consists of ten different species. Some of these Verticillium species are notorious pathogens on hundreds of plant species and cause significant economic losses every year because they cause so-called wilt diseases (“verwelking” in Dutch), similar to the Dutch elm disease pathogen that was studied by Johanna Westerdijk. In the Netherlands Verticillium wilt is a problem in greenhouse cultivation of vegetables, but also cultivation of strawberries and of lane trees. Internationally, Verticillium wilts also severely affect the cultivation of cotton and of olive trees, for instance. In contrast to the pathogenic species, other Verticillium species are non-pathogenic saprophytes that degrade dead organic matter. To understand how some species become pathogens while other species are not, and to unravel the molecular mechanisms that allow these pathogens to cause disease, she utilizes bioinformatics to analyze differences in the DNA of pathogenic and non-pathogen species. By genome sequencing and subsequent comparative analyses, she focuses on finding genome features that are associated with pathogens. Ultimately, this research should lead to novel ways to control Verticillium wilt diseases worldwide.

Sophie Schutte

After obtaining her MSc degree in Molecular Nutrition in 2013, Sophie started as a PhD candidate at the Division of Human Nutrition in the Nutrition, Metabolism & Genomics group. In the past 3.5 years she was involved in the execution of two large human intervention studies that investigated the role of different diets and dietary components, such as whole grain wheat products, on metabolic health of overweight and obese individuals. By combining the standard ‘classical’ health outcome measures of such studies with state-of-the-art ~omics tools such as transcriptomics and metabolomics, and modern imaging technologies such as MRI, she aims to better understand the mechanisms that underlie the effects of nutrition on health. The focus of her research is mainly on the health of two important metabolic organs; the liver and the adipose tissue. Unravelling how these organs respond to certain interventions helps her to optimize dietary interventions and to improve health of individuals that are at risk of developing metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

Mart Lamers

Mart Lamers is a PhD student at the Viroscience department of the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam. He received his bachelor's degree in Biology at the University of Amsterdam, after which he completed a master's in Infection & Immunity at the Erasmus MC. Mart is interested in understanding molecular interactions between virus and host and how these interactions shape their evolutionary arms race. Currently, he is working under supervision of Dr. Bart Haagmans on intracellular interactions between the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus and its hosts, which include camels, humans and possibly bats.

Chantal Vogels

Chantal Vogels did her studies in Biology, with specialisation in Ecology, at Wageningen University & Research. Early during her studies, she became fascinated by the way pathogens benefit from insect vectors for their transmission between hosts. After graduation, Chantal started working on a PhD project at the laboratory of Entomology at Wageningen University & Research. The ultimate goal of her PhD project is to understand why West Nile virus outbreaks have not occurred in northern European, while outbreaks in humans are yearly recurring in southern Europe. She is approaching this question from the mosquito’s point of view, by researching ecological factors that can influence the ability of mosquitoes to transmit West Nile virus. Most of the research was done in a specially designed Biological Safety Level 3 laboratory in which mosquitoes can be infected with pathogenic viruses.

Floor Borlée

Floor Borlee is a PhD student at the Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, department Environmental Epidemiology (Utrecht University). her research is focussed on respiratory health of residents living in close proximity of livestock farms. Livestock farm emissions may not only affect respiratory health of farmers but also of neighboring residents. She conducted a large study among 2500 residents of Oost Brabant and the Northern part of Limburg and measured amongst others their lung function. She found both spatial and temporal variation in livestock air pollution emissions associated with lung function deficits in non-farming residents.