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Verjans, Georges

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Georges M.G.M. Verjans (MSc PhD) studied Medical Biology at the University of Utrecht and received his PhD in Medicine at the University of Amsterdam in 1994, for his studies on the pathogenic role of HLA-B27 in HLA-B27 associated diseases. He joined the Department of Viroscience at the Erasmus MC to start his own line of research on the alpha-herpesviruses herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), varicella zoster virus (VZV), simian varicella virus (SVV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).

His main research interests are the characterization of the virus-host interactions involved in both the development and clinical outcome of herpetic disease, and the inhibition of viral reactivation from latency within sensory ganglia, in patients and experimental animal models. Elucidation of the virus/host factors and cell types involved in the 3 elementary phases (i.e., primary, latent and reactivation) of herpesvirus infections in the virus’ natural host is pivotal for the development of new intervention strategies to prevent and effectively treat herpesvirus-induced  diseases.

Recent achievements of his team include the identification of the route of (ocular) viral HSV-1 and SVV infection, the phenotype and breadth of systemic HSV-1-specific T-cell responses in healthy HSV-1 immune individuals, the identification of the differential immune surveillance of HSV and VZV latently infected sensory neurons in human trigeminal ganglia, the role of acyclovir-resistant HSV-1 in latency and disease and potential pathogenic EBV-specific - but not autoantigen-specific - T-cell responses in multiple sclerosis patients.

Viroscience department website


Key publications (past 5 years):
• van Nierop GP, Mautner J, Mitterreiter JG, Hintzen RQ, Verjans GM. Intrathecal CD8 T-cells of multiple sclerosis patients recognize lytic Epstein-Barr virus proteins. Mult Scler. 2016;22:279-91.
• van Nierop GP, Janssen M, Mitterreiter JG, van de Vijver DA, de Swart RL, Haagmans BL, Verjans GM, Hintzen RQ. Intrathecal CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell responses to endogenously synthesized candidate disease-associated human autoantigens in multiple sclerosis patients. Eur J Immunol. 2016;46:347-53.
• Ouwendijk WJ, Geluk A, Smits SL, Getu S, Osterhaus AD, Verjans GM. Functional characterization of ocular-derived human alphaherpesvirus cross-reactive CD4 T cells. J Immunol. 2014;192:3730-9.
• van Velzen M, van de Vijver DA, van Loenen FB, Osterhaus AD, Remeijer L, Verjans GM. Acyclovir prophylaxis predisposes to antiviral-resistant recurrent herpetic keratitis. J Infect Dis. 2013;208:1359-65.
• van Velzen M, Jing L, Osterhaus AD, Sette A, Koelle DM, Verjans GM. Local CD4 and CD8 T-cell reactivity to HSV-1 antigens documents broad viral protein expression and immune competence in latently infected human trigeminal ganglia. PLoS Pathog. 2013;9:e1003547.
• Ouwendijk WJ, Mahalingam R, de Swart RL, Haagmans BL, van Amerongen G, Getu S, Gilden D, Osterhaus AD, Verjans GM. T-Cell tropism of simian varicella virus during primary infection. PLoS Pathog. 2013;9:e1003368.
• Jing L, Schiffer JT, Chong TM, Bruckner JJ, Davies DH, Felgner PL, Haas J, Wald A, Verjans GM, Koelle DM. CD4 T-cell memory responses to viral infections of humans show pronounced immunodominance independent of duration or viral persistence. J Virol. 2013;87:2617-27.
• Ouwendijk WJ, Choe A, Nagel MA, Gilden D, Osterhaus AD, Cohrs RJ, Verjans GM. Restricted varicella-zoster virus transcription in human trigeminal ganglia obtained soon after death. J Virol. 2012;86:10203-6.
• van Velzen M, van Loenen FB, Meesters RJ, de Graaf M, Remeijer L, Luider TM, Osterhaus AD, Verjans GM. Latent acyclovir-resistant herpes simplex virus type 1 in trigeminal ganglia of immunocompetent individuals. J Infect Dis. 2012;205:1539-43.
• Jing L, Haas J, Chong TM, Bruckner JJ, Dann GC, Dong L, Marshak JO, McClurkan CL, Yamamoto TN, Bailer SM, Laing KJ, Wald A, Verjans GM, Koelle DM. Cross-presentation and genome-wide screening reveal candidate T cells antigens for a herpes simplex virus type 1 vaccine. J Clin Invest. 2012;122:654-73.