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dr. Rory de Vries
Principal Investigator

Dr. R. (Rory) de Vries

Assistant professor

  • Department
  • Viroscience
  • Focus area
  • Immune responses to respiratory viruses



I study interactions between respiratory viruses and the host adaptive immune system at the Department of Viroscience (Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands). During my PhD, I unraveled how interactions between measles virus and the host partially depletes pre-existing immunological memory leading to immune amnesia. My curiosity was sparked and I saw an opportunity to employ this knowledge on virus-host interactions in the field of vaccination. In my first Postdoc, I established a research line on immune responses to influenza vaccination.

Field(s) of expertise

  • Immunological responses to respiratory viruses
  • Pathogenesis of viral infections
  • Paramyxoviruses, Pneumoviruses, Influenza viruses, Coronaviruses
  • Primary models for virus-host interactions (animal models and primary cells)

Education and career

In 2019, the Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences awarded me the Beijerinck premium (€25,000), a prestigious prize that is awarded every other year to two young researchers that perform excellent virus-oriented research. I used this prize to spend the first months of 2020 at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI), in the lab from Prof. Alessandro Sette in San Diego, USA. I was here when the COVID-19 pandemic started and all research was committed to trying to understand SARS-CoV-2-specific immune responses. I decided to contribute with my specific knowledge and my link with Erasmus MC, a University Hospital in Rotterdam. Upon returning to the Netherlands, I used the tools and experience from LJI to study cellular immunity in COVID-19 patients hospitalized at the Intensive Care Unit of Erasmus MC and was one of the firsts to show that virus-specific T-cells are important players in COVID-19 immunity. I currently employ these tools to study COVID-19 vaccination-induced immune responses.

As a scientist I actively participate in the international field of immunology and infectious diseases as member of WHO working groups, ESPID, ESCMID, ESV, ASV and the Microbiology Society, presenting my work at conferences on average 5-10 times per year. Additionally, I hold several positions of trust; among others I am an editorial board member for the peer-reviewed journals “Frontiers in Immunology” and “Vaccines”, and am a frequent grant proposal and manuscript reviewer. I also actively teach young minds in multiple MSc programs in the Netherlands (e.g. ‘Infection & Immunity’ at the Erasmus MC). In addition to my research achievements, I enjoy sharing knowledge on immunology and infectious diseases to a broad audience. I am involved in the design and execution of the “Viruskenner” project since 2012, a project that generates awareness for viral infections and spread among high school students. Additionally, I participate in “Open Campus” and “March for Science” events, and give vaccination advice workshops to risk groups and individuals that refuse vaccination.


Selected Publications

Contributions to books

  • Measles virus: a respiratory virus causing systemic disease. 
    De Vries RD and RL de Swart. Book chapter, in: Human Respiratory Viral Infections. CRC Press, ISBN 9781466583207 (2014).
  • Morbillivirus infection in non-human primates: from humans to monkeys and back again. 
    De Vries RD, Kuiken T and de Swart RL. Chapter 14 in: Neglected Diseases in Monkeys. L. Jones-Engel and S. Knauf, Eds. Springer, in pre Management

Teaching activities


Rory has been teaching in two different Master programs: "Infection & Immunity" at Erasmus MC and "Molecular Life Sciences" at the Hogeschool of Arnhem and Nijmegen. Since 2014 Rory is a teacher in the LCR schooling program for vaccination physicians, teaching basic immunology and vaccinology. Since 2016, Rory is a teacher in the article 9 course at the Erasmus MC, instructing on experimental design of animal studies and handling of laboratory animals. Finally, he has supervised multiple Bachelor students, Master students, and currently supervises 5 PhD students.


Scholarships, grants, and awards


  • Awarded membership of the ‘Vaccine’ Young Investigator Program (2016-2018)
  • KNAW Beijerinck Premium

Ongoing grants

  • Detection of specific and cross-reactive cellular responses to coronaviruses (Health Holland)
  • COVID-19 vaccination programs: heterologous prime boost regimens, vaccination in primary immunodeficiencies, vaccination of kidney patients (ZonMw)
  • Fusion inhibitors that block SARS-CoV-2 (NIH)
  • Novel tools to support measles control and elimination (ZonMw)

Sociatal Impact of research

Rory is active as coach in the "Viruskenner" project. This project aims to help create more awareness about viral diseases and the way we can fight the transmission of these viruses among school-aged children. See: viruskenner

Impact of his PhD thesis:

Upon publication of his PhD thesis "Novel insights into measles pathogenesis and immune suppression" in 2013, the Netherlands was on the verge of a new measles epidemic. Therefore, shortly after publication of the thesis, the impact of this thesis on vaccination policy was widely discussed in the press, leading to multiple articles in national newspapers & interviews on radio and television. See e.g. the following examples:

  • Mazelenvaccinatie werkt niet alleen goed tegen de mazelen maar ook tegen andere infecties
  • Mazelen is geen onschuldige kinderziekte
  • Mazelen rukken op in Europa

Impact of PostDoc research:

His PostDoc research focussed on the generation of novel influenza vaccines. With yearly influenza vaccinations and epidemics, he is frequently consulted by and cited in Dutch national newspapers and Dutch journals (i.e. Bioké among others) on the subject of novel "universal" influenza vaccines. See e.g. the following examples:

  • Op zoek naar de heilige graal 
  • Vaccinproduktie kan sneller en beter

Current research

His current research focuses on the interaction between respiratory viruses (paramyxoviruses, pneumoviruses, coronaviruses) and the host immune system. In the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this specialty led to inclusion in major vaccinations studies in the Nehterlands, in healthy individuals, transplant recipients, and patients with immune deficiencies. He is frequently cited in Dutch newspapers and on television on the topic of SARS-CoV-2-specific imunity, e.g.:

  • Hart van Rotterdam, afl. 3, 2 November 2021:

My Groups