|Nina van Sorge|
Title of talk: Sweet appearances: bacterial surface glycans at the host-pathogen interface.
Nina van Sorge is Associate Professor at the Department of Medical Microbiology and Infection Prevention at Amsterdam University Medical Center, The Netherlands. Research in her group aims to clarify the molecular pathogenesis of bacterial infections to identify new strategies, including vaccines, to prevent and combat bacterial infections. She specifically focusses on the human pathogens Staphylococcus aureus and Group A Streptococcus (GAS) to elucidate how cell wall polysaccharides produced by these species impact recognition of by innate receptors and (vaccine-induced) antibodies. Overall, her work spans the entire spectrum from molecule to organism to patients. Dr. van Sorge is co-inventor for a patent on GAS vaccine development (WO2013/020090 A3), which is licensed and further developed by the pharmaceutical industry with financial support from Carb-X. In addition to her fundamental research activities, she is head of the Netherlands Reference Laboratory for Bacterial Meningitis (NRLBM), which performs the molecular epidemiology for the vaccine-preventable diseases caused by Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae b and Streptococcus pneumoniae and nation-wide surveillance of Groups A and B streptococcal isolates from invasive disease manifestations. The NRLBM receives, characterized and stores approximately 2,000 bacterial isolates from blood and cerebrospinal fluid annually, providing a comprehensive collection of clinically-relevant strains spanning several decades. This provides her with a unique position to connect molecular surveillance with fundamental research on invasive bacterial infections.
* Authors contributed equally; # corresponding author.