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Wednesday 3 November 2010

We are very pleased to announce that one of the best Dutch MSc students is an Infection & Immunity student: Evelien Berends. On 24 November she will receive the Abbott prize for best graduation report in Life Sciences. This prize is awarded by the "Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen" and is one of their prices for young talent.

Evelien did her research project in the lab of professor Victor Nizet, at the University of San Diego. Her supervisor was dr Maren von Köckritz-Blickwede. This lab is one of the leading labs when it comes to bacterial immune evasion. Both supervisors were very impressed by Eveliens motivation and academic level. They graded her project with a 9,5.

From the Netherlands Evelien was supervised by professor Jos van Strijp and dr Suzan Rooijakkers. Evelien will do her PhD in their lab, under the supervision of Suzan Rooijakkers.

Eveliens research project concerned the following:
Antimicrobial extracellular traps (ETs) have been recently discovered as a new paradigm in the innate immune function of leukocytes. ETs are released by different host immune cells such as neutrophils, eosinophils, macrophages and mast cells after stimulation with mitogens, cytokines, or microbial pathogens. They consist of a nuclear or mitochondrial DNA backbone associated with antimicrobial peptides and histones that entrap and kill various microbes.

Her work has been published in the Journal of Innate Immunity:
E.T.M. Berends, A.R. Horswill, N.M. Haste, M. Monestier, V. Nizet and M. von Köckritz-Blickwede (2010) Nuclease Expression by Staphylococcus aureus Facilitates Escape from Neutrophil Extracellular Traps. Journal of Innate Immunity 2, 576586

On Friday 19 November Maren von Köckritz-Blickwede will give a lecture on this subject at the Mastersymposium.