Jump to top menu Jump to main menu Jump to content
Profile picture of Mathilde Richard
Principal Investigator

Dr. M. (Mathilde) Richard

Associate Professor

Associate Professor

  • Department
  • Viroscience




Mathilde Richard (1985) is a biochemist engineer and molecular virologist. She completed her PhD in 2010 in France under the supervision of Prof. Bruno Lina studying the resistance of influenza A viruses to neuraminidase inhibitors. She then integrated the Viroscience Department for her post-doctoral studies, which have focused on the pathogenesis, virulence and transmissibility of influenza A viruses, with special emphasis on genetic and phenotypic viral factors involved in the emergence of new pandemics. Since 2018, she is an assistant professor at the Viroscience Department.

Current research lines and team

The research of her team focusses on the understanding of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIV) emergence, their pathogenesis and the development of new vaccination strategies to cope with antigenic diversity in the context of pandemic preparedness.


Field(s) of expertise

Molecular virology, biochemistry

Education and career

  • 2018 - present: Assistant Professor, Department of Viroscience, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam
  • 2014 - 2018: Scientific Researcher, Department of Viroscience, Erasmus MC,Rotterdam
  • 2011 - 2014: Post-Doctoral Researcher, Department of Viroscience, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam
  • 2007 - 2010: PhD, Virology, University Claude Bernard (Lyon, France), graduated summa cum laude
  • 2007: Master of Science, Microbial Ecology, University Claude Bernard (Lyon, France), graduated cum laude
  • 2002-2007: Master in Engineering, Biochemistry and Biotechnology, National Institute of Applied Sciences (Lyon, France)



Selection of publications:

Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) emergence and host species-specific pathogenesis

Dr. Richard and her team found subtype-specific secondary RNA structures in the hemagglutinin (HA) gene of influenza viruses that might be implicated in the emergence of HPAIV. Her team is developing innovative culture methods for avian primary epithelial and endothelial cells to study the understanding of the host species-specificity of HPAIVs genesis. Her team recently showed that recombination of H7 HAs with foreign RNAs occurs at particular hotspots and hypothesized that RNA recombination of H7 HAs with foreign RNA is facilitated or mediated by snoRNAs.

  • Gultyaev AP, Spronken MI, Funk M, Fouchier RAM, Richard M. Insertions of codons encoding basic amino acids in H7 hemagglutinins of influenza viruses occur by recombination with RNA at hotspots near snoRNA binding sites. RNA. 2020 Nov 13:rna.077495.120. PMID: 33188057.
  • Davis RL, Choi G, Kuiken T, Quéré P, Trapp S, Short KR, Richard M. The culture of primary duck endothelial cells for the study of avian influenza. BMC Microbiology. 2018 Oct 19;18(1):138. PMID: 30340527, PMCID: PMC6194716. Corresponding author.
  • Gultyaev AP, Richard M, Spronken MI, Olsthoorn RCL, Fouchier RAM. Conserved structural RNA domains in regions coding for cleavage site motifs in hemagglutinin genes of influenza viruses. Virus Evolution. 2019 Aug 21;5(2):vez034. PMID: 31456885, PMCID: PMC6704317.
  • Richard M, Fouchier RAM, Monne I, Kuiken T. Mechanisms and risk factors for mutation from low to highly pathogenic avian influenza virus. European Food Safety Authority supporting publication. (OC/EFSA/ALPHA/2015/01, October 2017).

Fundamental understanding of influenza virus transmission and reassortment

Dr. Richard has worked in collaboration with Dr. Sander Herfst (Viroscience Department, ErasmusMC, with Dr. Lowen (Emory University, US), who studies reassortment of influenza viruses using genetically tagged viruses. They thought of novel uses for these tagged viruses: understanding how viral tropism would restrict reassortment and understanding where in the respiratory tract influenza viruses are generated for transmission. Together, they showed that replication in two different anatomical sites in the respiratory tract restricts reassortment of influenza viruses. They also showed that influenza viruses are expelled from the upper respiratory tract for onwards transmission and highlight the nasal cavity as the source of transmissible viruses. 

  • Richard M, van den Brand JMA, Bestebroer TM, Lexmond P, de Meulder D, Fouchier RAM, Lowen AC, Herfst S. Influenza A viruses are transmitted via the air from the nasal respiratory epithelium of ferrets. Nature Communications. 2020 Feb 7;11(1):766. PMID: 32034144, PMCID: PMC7005743. 
  • Richard M, Herfst S, Tao H, Jacobs NT, Lowen AC. Influenza A virus reassortment is limited by anatomical compartmentalization following co-infection via distinct routes. Journal of Virology. 2018 Mar;92-5. PMID: 29212934, PMCID: PMC5809721.

Risk assessment of zoonotic respiratory viruses and genetic and phenotypic requirements of pandemic potential. 

In 2013, the H7N9 virus emerged in China, causing human cases of infection. Early in the outbreak, it was critical to understand the potential for this virus to transmit via the airborne route, as this is the major route of influenza virus transmission between humans. Dr. Richard demonstrated that the zoonotic H7N9 virus was transmissible via the airborne route, highlighting this virus as a pandemic threat. To really understand the potential impact of H7N9 viruses on public health, she subsequently investigated markers that influence phenotypes important for airborne transmission. Dr. Richard has also characterized several other emerging zoonotic influenza viruses to assess whether these would represent a pandemic risk for the human population. This line of work not only provided risk assessment of zoonotic influenza viruses, but also supported fundamental understanding of the genetic and phenotypic requirements for zoonotic influenza viruses to become pandemic. When SARS-CoV-2 sparked the current pandemic of COVID-19 in spring 2020, Dr. Richard used her expertise on transmission of influenza viruses to understand the modes of transmission of this newly emerging virus. This work has made a tremendous impact on the coronavirus field, as this is one of the first studies demonstrating that SARS-CoV-2 is transmissible between ferrets not only via contact, but also via respiratory droplets and/or aerosols. 
  • Kutter JS, de Meulder D, Bestebroer TM, Lexmond P, Mulders A, Richard M, Fouchier RAM, Herfst S. SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 are transmitted through the air between ferrets over more than one meter distance. Nature Communications. 2021 Mar 12;12(1):1653. PMID: 33712573.
  • Richard M, Kok A, de Meulder D, Besterbroer TM, Lamers MM, Okba NMA, Fentener van Vlissingen M, Rockx B, Haagmans BL, Koopmans MPG, Fouchier RAM, Herfst S. SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted via contact and via the air between ferrets. Nature Communications. 2020 Jul 8;11(1):3496. PMID: 32641684, PMCID: PMC7343828. 
  • Herfst S, Mok CKP, van den Brand JMA, van der Vliet S, Rosu ME, Spronken MI, Yang Z, de Meulder D, Lexmond P, Bestebroer TM, Peiris JSM, Fouchier RAM, Richard M. Human Clade A/H5N6 Influenza Virus Lacks Mammalian Adaptation Markers and Does Not Transmit via the Airborne Route between Ferrets. mSphere. 2018 Jan 3;3. PMID: 29299528, PMCID: PMC5750386. Corresponding author.
  • Richard M, Herfst S, van den Brand JMA, de Meulder D, Lexmond P, Bestebroer TM, Fouchier RAM. Mutations Driving Airborne Transmission of A/H5N1 Virus in Mammals Cause Substantial Attenuation in Chickens only when combined. Scientific Reports. 2017 Aug 3;7(1):7187. PMID: 28775271, PMCID: PMC5543172. Corresponding author.
  • Richard M*, Schrauwen EJ*, Burke DF, Rimmelzwaan GF, Herfst S, Fouchier RA. Amino acid substitutions that affect receptor binding and stability of the hemagglutinin of influenza A/H7N9 virus. Journal of Virology. 2016 Jan 20;90(7):3794-9. PMID: 26792744, PMCID: PMC4794686. Corresponding author.
  • Richard M, Herfst S, van den Brand JM, Lexmond P, Bestebroer TM, Rimmelzwaan GF, Koopmans M, Kuiken T, Fouchier RA. Low Virulence and Lack of Airborne Transmission of the Dutch Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus H5N8 in Ferrets. PLoS One. 2015 Jun 19;10(6):e0129827. PMID: 26090682, PMCID: PMC4474857. Corresponding author.
  • Richard M and Fouchier RA. H10N8 and H6N1 Maintain Avian Receptor Binding. Cell host and Microbes. 2015. Mar 11;17(3):292-4. PMID: 25766290.
  • Richard M*, Schrauwen EJ*, de Graaf M, Bestebroer TM, Spronken MI, van Boheemen S, de Meulder D, Lexmond P, Linster M, Herfst S, Smith DJ, van den Brand JM, Burke DF, Kuiken T, Rimmelzwaan GF, Osterhaus AD, Fouchier RA. Limited airborne transmission of H7N9 influenza A virus between ferrets. Nature. 2013 Sep 26;501(7468):560-3. (*equal contribution). PMID: 23925116, PMCID: PMC3819191. 

For a complete list of publications, see: 

Link to publons 
Link to ORCID 
Link to NCBI



Teaching activities

  • 2021-present: Core teacher of the Infection and Immunity master, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam
  • 2020: Virology course for PhD students. Date is pending.
  • 2018-present: Minor in Biomedical Research in Practice (BRiP) for for third-year medical students, students from clinical technology and from university college. Topic: “Zoonoses and Pandemics”.
  • 2016-present: Infection and Immunity. Master year 1 and 2. Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Topics: “Animal models in influenza” and “Influenza viruses”
  • 2015-2016: Micro- and Immunobiology. Bachelor. Erasmus University College, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Topic: “Zoonoses and pandemics”.
  • 2015-2018: Postgraduate School Molecular Medicine Course, ErasmusMC. Topic: “Infections and host responses”.
  • 2007-2010: Biological engineering. Bachelor. Institut Universitaire Technique A. University Claude Bernard Lyon 1. Lyon, France. Topics : Microbiology, Cellular Biology, Histology, Biochemistry.

Other positions

Selected experiences and Professional Memberships

  • 2020 - present: Topic editor of Viruses
  • 2020: Enrolment in a Female Top Academic Leadership program (Top Vrouw)
  • 2020: Reviewer for the French National Research Council
  • 2019: Reviewer for the Polish National Research Council
  • 2019: Guest Editor of Frontiers in Microbiology Special topic “RNA virus polymerases: forming bonds and balancing errors”
  • 2018: - present Academic editor of PLOS One
  • 2018: Organizer of the 8th Orthomyxovirus Research Conference, Hanoi, Vietnam 
  • 2018: Organizer of the first “Dutch Replication Meeting” (the Netherlands)
  • 2015: - present Member, NIH/NIAID CEIRS Network Ferret Reagent Working Group 
  • 2015: - present Member, NIH/ NIAID CEIRS Network Virus Risk Assessment Working Group 
  • 2014: - present Member, European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) 
  • 2011: - present Frequent reviewer for Nature Microbiology, PLOS Pathogens, Cell reports, Journal of Virology, PLOS One, Virology Journal, Scientific reports, Vaccine, Journal of Medical Virology, Emerging Infection & Microbes, Veterinary Microbiology, Viruses, Frontiers in Microbiology.
  • 2016: Organizer of an international expert workshop on pathogen inter- and intraspecies transmission (held in Netherlands)
  • 2015: External expert for the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) on the mechanisms and risk factors for the transition from LPAIV to HPAIV
  • 2014 - 2016: Member, Graduate Women in Science Network (GWIS)
  • 2014 - 2015: Member, European Society of Virology (ESV)
  • 2007 - 2010: Extensive experience with teaching of Bachelor, Master, MD, and PhD students in France 
  • 2004: Internship McGill (Montreal, Canada)

Selected Invited talks

  • 2019: “Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Viruses”, Department of Bionanoscience, Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, TU Delft. Delft, the Netherlands
  • 2018: “Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 viruses. Evolution, Transmission and Genesis”, Department of Pathology, Cambridge University. Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 2017: “Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 viruses. Evolution, Transmission and Genesis”, International Center for Infectiology Research. Lyon, France
  • 2016: “Characterization of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N6 virus of clade”, 10th Vaccine Congress. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 2016: “The newly emerged reassortant viruses of the influenza H5 A/Goose/Guangdong/1/96 lineage”, 6th European Congress of Virology, Satellite Symposium. Hamburg, Germany

Scholarships, grants, and awards


  • 2017-2022. Delta-Flu consortium (Horizon2020 program). Dynamics of avian influenza in poultry and other host species. PI. EUR 593.750
  • 2018-2021. Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS). NIH/NIAID. pilot project on the genesis and pathogenesis of highly pathogenic avian influenza A viruses in avian species. PI. USD 400.000.
  • 2014-2021. Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS). NIH/NIAID. Pathogenesis and transmission of influenza viruses. Co-PI. USD 4.000.000.
  • 2015-2021. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). Development of vaccination strategies to protect against a potential H5 pandemic. Co-PI. USD 3.200.000.


  • 2016. Van Goghprogramma (EP-Nuffic). Grant accorded to cover travel expenses when visiting collaborators at a French institute as part of the collaboration with Dr. Sascha Trapp. EUR 2.000.
  • 2014. Travel award.To attend the 5th ESWI conference awarded by the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID). EUR 850.
  • 2013. Award for best publication Awarded by the Erasmus Postgraduate school Molecular Medicine for Richard et al. Nature 2013 (PMID: 23925116). EUR 1.000.
  • 2012. Travel award. To attend the 6th Orthomyxovirus Research Conference awarded by ESWI. EUR 488.
  • 2012. EUR-fellowship. Grant awarded by the ErasmusMC for researchers who submitted an admissible proposal for an NWO Veni, but who did not receive funding for budgetary reasons, in spite of receiving a good evaluation. EUR 7.000.
  • 2011. Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS). NIH/NIAID. Co-PI with Prof. Fouchier of a pilot project on the “Genesis of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses”. USD 350.000.
  • 2007-2010. Fellowship for PhD position. Grant awarded for 3 years by the French ministry of Education and Research to perform PhD research. Top 5%. EUR 60.000.
  • 2007-2010. Grant for teaching. Grant awarded for 3 years by the French ministry of Education and Research to perform teaching activities during the PhD research (Moniteur de l’Enseignement supérieur). Top 5%. EUR 12.000.
  • 2006. Merit Grant. Grant awarded by the French ministry of Education and Research to perform Master studies. Top 5%. EUR 4.000.
  • 2005. Travel grant. To study at the University of Concordia, Montreal, Canada awarded by the French ministry of Education and Research. EUR 2.400.


  • Dr. Aartjan te Velthuis (University of Cambridge, UK)
  • Dr. David Bauer (Francis Crick Institute, UK)
  • Dr. Anice Lowen (Emory University of School of Medicine, USA)
  • Dr. Chris Mok (Hong-Kong University Pasteur Research Pole, China)
  • Dr. Sascha Trapp (University of Tours, France)
  • Dr. Kirsty Short (University of Queensland, Australia)
  • Prof. Nynke Dekker (Delft University of Technology, Netherlands)
  • Prof. Yoshiro Kawaoka and Dr. Gabriel Neumann (University of Winsconsin, USA)
  • Prof. Derek Smith (University of Cambridge, UK)
  • Dr. El-Sayed M. Abd El-Whab (Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute, Germany)

My Groups

Group of dr. Richard

Current members

Adinda Kok, PhD student
Anja de Bruin, PhD student
Mathis Funk, PostDoc
Rachel Scheur, technician (part time)
Theo Bestebroer, technician (part time)
Monique Spronken, Master student, ErasmusMC
Lars van den Biggelaar, Bachelor student, Technical University Delft.

Former members

Lieke de Jong, Master student, ErasmusMC
Romy van Acker, Bachelor student, ATGM School of life science and environmental technologies.
Djenolan van Mourik, technician
Stefan van der Vliet, technician
Jocynthe Buzink, Bachelor student, ATGM School of life science and environmental technologies.
Victor Lorente Leal, PhD Student. 
Raissa Davis, Master student, Leiden University.
Geunho Choi, Master student, Leiden University.
Anne Reiners, Master student, Free University Amsterdam