Fascinated by the interactions between viruses and the immune system, our studies center around the intricate mechanisms of host modulation, in particular immune evasion by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). This human herpesvirus is causally involved in mononucleosis and several malignancies. Initial focus on T cell immunity led to the discovery of dedicated EBV-encoded functions and novel mechanisms of interference with the cell biology and biochemistry of antigen presentation by HLA I and II molecules. A unique cell system for productive EBV infection of B cells subsequently aided in uncovering EBV’s strategies to modulate innate immunity, notably that involving the Toll-like receptors and cytosolic nucleic acid sensors. Insights obtained on how viruses escape immune elimination are being translated into efforts ranging from attenuation of autoimmunity to enhancing tumor eradication. More recently, we have extended our research to also include gene therapeutic adenoviruses and oncolytic reoviruses, thus comprising immune regulation in viral infection and cancer.
Maaike Ressing studied Biomedical Sciences and obtained her PhD degree in Tumor Immunology, supervised by Kees Melief and Martin Kast, both at Leiden University. She was involved in the first peptide-vaccination trial as immunotherapy for human papillomavirus-induced cervical cancer. These studies sprouted Maaike’s fascination for the interactions between viruses and the immune system. As a postdoctoral researcher, Maaike started investigating the intricate mechanisms of host modulation, in particular immune evasion by the human herpesvirus Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) while working with Emmanuel Wiertz at the RIVM in Bilthoven and later in the departments of Medical Microbiology of the LUMC and UMC Utrecht. From 2013 until 2022, Maaike was appointed as principal investigator and associate professor in the department of Cell & Chemical Biology (CCB) at the LUMC, within the Virus Stem Cell Biology group headed by Rob Hoeben. Maaike has received grants from the Dutch Cancer Foundation (KWF-NKB) and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO-ZonMW-VIDI and Aspasia) and has been awarded the Beijerinck Premium for Virology (KNAW). Maaike has always greatly enjoyed combining basic and applied research with transferring knowledge and educating students and scientists. In 2015, she obtained her university teaching qualification and in 2022, Maaike joined the CCB Educational section headed by Jolanda van der Zee to fully devote her efforts to teaching.
• Human B cells fail to secrete type I interferons upon cytoplasmic DNA exposure.
Gram AM, Sun C, Landman SL, Oosenbrug T, Koppejan HJ, Kwakkenbos MJ, Hoeben RC, Paludan SR, Ressing ME.
Mol Immunol. 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2017.08.025.
• Chemical Tools for Studying TLR Signaling Dynamics.
Oosenbrug T, van de Graaff MJ, Ressing ME, van Kasteren SI.
Cell Chem Biol. 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2017.05.022.
• The Epstein-Barr Virus Glycoprotein gp150 Forms an Immune-Evasive Glycan Shield at the Surface of Infected Cells.
Gram AM, Oosenbrug T, Lindenbergh MF, Büll C, Comvalius A, Dickson KJ, Wiegant J, Vrolijk H, Lebbink RJ, Wolterbeek R, Adema GJ, Griffioen M, Heemskerk MH, Tscharke DC, Hutt-Fletcher LM, Wiertz EJ, Hoeben RC, Ressing ME.
PLoS Pathog. 2016. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005550.