Dr. Niek de Vries

Professionally speaking I would describe myself as a highly motivated and focussed professional who operates as:

– clinician specialized in immunology & rheumatology
– leader of a research team with focus on Genetics & Genomics in immune-mediated disease
– teacher and director of the rheumatology training program at the AMC
– experienced manager in academic health care

1- Translate insights and innovations from (basic) research into improved clinical care.
2- Deliver top health care to our patients.
3- Empower trainees and team members in their education and work

Dr. de Vries leads the rsearch programme “Adaptive immunomics” that comprsie Immunogenomic approaches to selectively monitor and target adaptive immune responses in immune-mediated inflammatory disease

In many autoimmune diseases, but also in immunity against infections and cancer cells, adaptive immune responses play a key role. In these responses T- and B-lymphocytes play a central role, each cell having its own unique specificity. This specificity is encoded in the antigen receptor. Dr de Vries and his team developed a novel tool that quantitatively fingerprints millions of individual lymphocyte receptors in blood or tissues. This can be used to show which lymphocytes get activated and proliferate to form clones that dominate a given immune response. By comparing clonal expansion across tissues and across timelines, and combining these observations with results from in vitro assays, we are identifying and characterizing those clones that play a key role in health and specific disease states, with a focus on autoimmune disease. Detailed analysis of these clones helps to develop novel diagnostics, predictors and therapeutic targets. For instance, based on clonal markers we were able to develop a validated marker for IgG4-related disease, and developed a marker that identifies a subgroup of individuals with autoantibody-positive arthralgia in which 82% of the individuals developed arthritis within 3 years.

Keywords: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Clinical research, Immunology, OMICS, T/B cell repertoire analysis