Wim Adriaensen
  • Nationalestraat

    2000 Antwerpen

    Belgium

20172024

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research expertise

Wim Adriaensen (MSc 2010, PhD 2015) is an assistant professor and heading the Clinical Immunology Unit in the Department of Clinical Sciences (Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium). He was trained in immunology and medical research during his double-PhD in medical sciences and public health (Academic Centre for General Practice, KULeuven and Institute of Health and Society, UCLouvain, Belgium) on the clinical impact of the aging of the immune system and its complex relationship with cytomegalovirus for patient and vaccination outcomes in octogenarians in Belgium; that he performed partly at the University of Tübingen, Germany. He started at ITM as a clinical trial scientist (Clinical Trial Unit, ITM) to gain more affinity with clinical trials and project management on several infectious diseases in low-resource settings. Subsequently, he acquired a competitive post-doctoral fellowship (Research Foundation Flanders) on the synergistic impact of HIV co-infection on T-cell suppression in VL-HIV patients. During this time, he founded a clinical immunology research line within the unit of neglected tropical diseases at ITM with a particular dedication on human cellular immunity and its translation to bench-side diagnostic and therapeutic applications, which was consolidated in 2021 as a separate unit that he leads to date. In recent years, the research lines were successfully expanded to cutaneous leishmaniasis, rabies, SARS-CoV-2 and Ebola. He has successfully obtained >4 million euros as principal investigator from diverse funding sources. He has set up or assisted in over 20 clinical trials and prospective cohort studies to date. 

To date, the Clinical Immunology Unit has expertise in a portfolio of patient immunosurveillance methodologies, with single cell and spatially-resolved resolutions, that are the focus of its educational and capacity-sharing programs in many partnering countries. The research is focused on several impact pathways:

  • Understanding the underlying drivers of chronic visceral leishmaniasis disease in HIV co-infected patients, and the development of predictive biomarkers and immunotherapeutic approaches to break the cycle of recurrent disease relapses
  • Defining a protective immune response across the spectrum of human leishmaniasis and a better understanding of antigen presentation and recognition, to guide antigen discovery and vaccine development for leishmaniasis
  • Development of immunodiagnostic tools to assist elimination efforts of visceral leishmaniasis
  • Prioritizing skin-resident immunity as a key vaccine outcome in vaccine development for bite or arthropod infections, and ways to improve and assess the level of skin imprinting by vaccination.
  • Perform comparative trials on booster vaccinations for Ebola Virus Disease, and duration of protection, to contribute in urgently required re-vaccination recommendations

Teaching expertise

Teaching assignments include:

  • The teaching of specialized guest lectures
  • Supervision of Msc and Bsc students from the Master in Tropical Medicine (ITM), Master and Bachelor in Biomedical Sciences (UA), Leading International Vaccinology Education (LIVE) Master
    • MTM modules: Tropical Biomedical Sciences, Biomedical Methods II, Thesis
  • Supervision of predoc fellows and students in Clinical Immunology tracks (University of Gondar, Ethiopia) and the Institute of Biomedical Research (DRC).
  • Supervision of PhD candidates
  • Jury member on the evaluation committee of the Master in Tropical Medicine (ITM)

Education/Academic qualification

Msc in Biomedical Sciences

Double PhD in medical sciences and public health, Immunosenescence and the compex relationship with CMV infection

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