Wendy van de Sande is currently an associate professor at the Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Her research focusses on the tropical neglected disease mycetoma.
Mycetoma is a tropical neglected tropical disease of the subcutaneous disease. It is mainly found the foot and can be caused by more than 70 different causative agents. The causative agents can be of bacterial or fungal origin. The main causative agent is the fungus Madurella mycetomatis. Characteristic of this infection is that the causative agent produces grains. Fungal mycetoma is currently treated with antifungal agents and surgery but often results in amputations. Therefore the research of Dr van de Sande has been focussed on improving the management of mycetoma. She did this by developing novel diagnostic tools to be able to identify the causative agents directly from patient material and by identifying novel drugs with activity against fungal mycetoma causative agents.
In order to improve the diagnosis of mycetoma we have identified the first antigens of the main causative agent M. mycetomatis. We also developed DNA isolation methods directly from mycetoma grains and several molecular amplification methods including PCR, LAMP, RPA and RCA. We are currently evaluating these in the endemic regions.
In order to identify novel drugs for fungal mycetoma, we had to start by developing models first. In our lab we have developed the following models in which we can determine the efficacy of drugs against fungal mycetoma causative agents. These include:
- In vitro susceptibility assays
- In vitro grain models (currently ongoing)
- Invertebrate grain models
We have developed these methods for several causative agents. In our search for novel compounds active against mycetoma causative agents we are following different strategies:
- Determining if novel antifungal agents developed for other fungal diseases have activity against mycetoma causative agents, such as ravuconazole, olorofim and CIN-102
- Using an Open Source Screening platform called MycetOS.
Field(s) of expertise
- Neglected Tropical Diseases of the Skin
Education and career
Wendy van de Sande is convener from the Eumycetoma Working Group under the umbrella of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycosis (ISHAM) since 2007 and member of the steering committee of the Global Mycetoma Working group since 2017.
Wendy van de Sande teaches bachelor, master and post-graduate courses. She gives lectures for the Bachelor Medicine and the Master Infection and Immunity of ErasmusMC. She is giving a lecture in the post-graduate course “Medical Mycology” of the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Centre in Utrecht. Practical tuition is given to second year medical students and to mycetoma scientists all over the world.
She also supervised the following PhD students as ‘co-promotor’ and daily supervisor:
- Bertrand Nyuykonge (ongoing)
- Emmanuel Siddig (ongoing)
- Wilson Lim (ongoing)
- Shereen Omelfarouk (ongoing)
- Patricia Verwer (2016)
- Sarah Abdalla Ahmed Ibrahim (2016)
- Marcel Bruins (2014)
- Hassabelrasoul Elfadil Hassan Abdelgadir (2013)