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Erik Lubberts

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Erik Lubberts, PhD
Associate Professor
Head, Research Lab of Immune Mediated Inflammatory Diseases
Erasmus MC
Department of Rheumatology
Wytemaweg 80
3015 CN, Rotterdam
The Netherlands

Curriculum Vitae
Erik Lubberts obtained his degree in Biology (Biotechnology) in 1995 from the University of Groningen (RuG), The Netherlands. In 1999 he obtained a PhD from the University of Nijmegen (KuN), The Netherlands (Promoter: Prof. Dr. W.B. van den Berg) for his thesis “The role of interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-10 in the regulation of experimental arthritis”. He worked as a post-doc fellow in the Department of Rheumatology (prof. Dr. W.B. van den Berg) on the in vivo role of IL-17 in arthritis. In addition, in 2001/2002 he extended his research on IL-17 as a post-doc in the lab of Professor Jay K. Kolls at the department of Genetics, at the LSU Health Science Center in New Orleans USA. In addition, in 2002 he worked as a post-doc in the lab of Professor Ellen Gravallese at the department of Rheumatology at the Harvard Institute of Medicine, Boston, USA. He was a first prize winner of the C. Gordon van Arman Award for excellence in Inflammation Research at the 10th National Conference Inflammation Research Association, 2000, Virginia USA. He was awarded in the same year with the Bertus Kemp-prize 2000 for the best thesis (The role of interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-10 in the regulation of experimental arthritis) in the field of connective tissue pathology in The Netherlands. Furthermore, he received a VENI fellowship and a Talent-stipend of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). In March 2005, Erik Lubberts became head of the Rheumatology Research Laboratory at the Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. In 2009, he was appointed as Associate Professor at the Department of Rheumatology at the same institute.

Research Interest
Erik Lubberts has a long-standing interest in the basic mechanisms of joint inflammation and immunological events in the development of inflammatory arthritis with focus on: 1) T cell/cytokine activity, in particular the IL-23/IL-17/Th17 immune pathway and their interaction with stromal cells/myeloid cells/lymphocytes at the site of inflammation; and 2) osteoimmunology, the interaction of T cell/cytokine activity and bone remodelling including bone resorption/bone formation and the repair process.
He have performed studies in well-defined animal models as well as in samples from patients with (early) RA and PsA. He has significantly contributed to the clinical field regarding the development of anti-IL-17 therapy. He was the first who showed amelioration of collagen-induced arthritis after neutralizing IL-17 activity in 2001 and later in 2003. The discovery of a new T helper subset (Th17) has a marked impact on the immunological arthritis research, although it is still not clear whether RA is a Th1 and/or Th17 mediated disease. Interestingly, he discovered with his team a subpopulation of memory Th17  lymphocytes that express the CCR6+ chemokine receptor that are more prevalent in patients with early stage RA than in healthy controls. These cells are more potent in activating synovial fibroblast from patients with RA compared to memory CCR6- T cells. A major challenge in medicine is how to control the pathogenic Th17 cell activity in human inflammatory diseases. Recently, he has shown with his team that TNF blockade requires 1,25(OH)²D³ to control human Th17-mediated synovial inflammation, indicating more valuable therapeutic potential of vitamin D/anti-TNF combination therapy compared to the current TNF neutralisation strategies in patients with RA and potentially in other Th17-mediated diseases.
In addition to RA, the translational research on IL-23/IL-17 immune-biology is extended to other IL-17/Th17-mediated chronic inflammatory diseases such as Spondyloarthritis, mainly Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA); Psoriasis, Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), SLE; and Sjögren’s Syndrome, including the use disease specific mouse models for arthritis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and SLE, including unique transgenic mouse lines. Research has been focused on improvement of biological immunotherapies in these diseases towards precision medicine and new taxonomy of immune mediated inflammatory diseases.

In 2017: total of 89 scientific peer reviewed publications (1997-2017). For the total list of my publications (Lubberts E between 1997-2017) I refer to PubMed.
H-factor: 42 (excluding self-citations; source: web of science)

Rheumatology, dermatology, arthritis, inflammation, immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, memory T cells, Th17 cells, cytokines, transcription factors, co culture systems, vitamin D, disease specific mouse models, transgenic mice, osteoimmunology.