Parasitic infections are often long-lasting, and therefore, the host-pathogen interaction has to be complex to allow parasite survival. This research line aims to unravel the adaptations parasites possess that enable them to survive prolonged periods in their various hosts. Interactions between parasites and their hosts and the parasite-specific adaptations that enable them to survive are studied to improve treatment of parasitic diseases by the development of strategies to reduce disease pathology by modulation of the parasite-host interaction, and by searching for novel drug targets via the identification of essential and parasite-specific targets.
- biochemical adaptations in parasites
- host-parasite interactions
- anaerobic mitochondria and their evolutionary origin
Current research topics include:
- host-parasite interaction of schistosomes in order to identify novel factors, in particular lipids, involved in modulation of the host immune system and haemostasis of the host
- immune modulatory effect of lyso-phosphatidylserine molecules of the parasitic worm Schistosoma mansoni on host immune cells
- identification of unique and essential processes in parasites (e.g. energy metabolism) in order to identify targets for therapeutic intervention. In the past we identified multiple parasite-specific enzymes, and these studies are meant not only to identify targets for novel anti-parasitic drugs, but also to elucidate the evolutionary origin of anaerobically functioning organelles of mitochondrial origin (OMOs).
Education and career
Lodewijk Tielens (1951) graduated as a (bio)chemist in 1977 at the University of Utrecht, major: biochemistry, minor: clinical chemistry. In 1982 he obtained his Ph.D. at Utrecht University with a thesis on the energy metabolism of the juvenile liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica. He then left the Department of Veterinary Biochemistry and became a Research Fellow at the Department of Pathology, Fort Collins, Colorado State University, USA, to study the biochemistry of trypanosomes. In October 1983 he returned to Utrecht University as Scientific Investigator at the Department of Veterinary Biochemistry to continue his studies on the bioenergetics of parasites (financed by the World Health Organization). In 1986 he was appointed as assistant professor and in 1994 as associate professor. From September 2000 till January 2019 he was professor at the same Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University. Since September 2007 he was, and still is, guest professor at the Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam.
Publications of Lodewijk Tielens can be found at Google Scholar
Lodewijk has a long-standing expertise in teaching biochemistry and metabolism to veterinary and biomedical students at Utrecht University. He holds a senior qualification in teaching (SKO) and has a large experience in the development of new biomedical curricula (Veterinary Sciences as well as Biomedical Sciences). He developed and was main teacher of many new courses for bachelor and master Veterinary students, Biomedical students and students of the Science bachelor of University College Utrecht.