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Imke Visser


Track 17: Understanding the role of vector, host and virus variations in transmission and disease


Marion Koopmans (EMC)

Primary Supervisor

Barry Rockx (EMC)


Martijn van Hemert (LUMC)


Erasmus University Medical Centre


Description PhD project

During my BSc in Animal Sciences at Wageningen University, I gained a fundamental understanding of the biological functioning, health, and behaviour of domestic and captive animals. I continued with the (medical) Biotechnology MSc program at Wageningen University, where I carried out my MSc thesis at the department of Virology at Wageningen University. I continued with a research internship in Brisbane (Australia), where I worked with a mouse model to study the immune response against Zika virus mutants while concurrently exploring areas of vaccine potential. Afterwards, I was eager to learn more about arthropod-borne viruses, their interesting transmission cycle, and the ongoing battle between virus and host. During my PhD, my main focus lies on the primary mode of transmission of arthropod-borne viruses, which is through the bite of an infected mosquito. I want to study the early interactions between virus, vector saliva, and the first organ that the virus encounters: the skin. I am going to investigate if these early interactions subsequently influence the host viremia and viral pathogenesis. Overall, I want to see whether distinct mosquito species trigger different host immunopathogenic responses, accounting for diverse clinical outcomes of viral infection.