Dr. de Vries studies interactions between respiratory viruses and the host adaptive immune system at the Department of Viroscience (Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands).
During his PhD, he unraveled how interactions between measles virus and the host partially depletes pre-existing immunological memory leading to immune amnesia. He employed this knowledge to virus-host interactions in the field of vaccination and established a research line on immune responses to influenza vaccination during his PostDoc.
After a short visit to the La Jolla institute for Immunology in 2020, Dr. de Vries returned to the Erasmus MC and established multiple research lines on immunity to respiratory viruses, including paramyxoviruses, pneumoviruses and coronaviruses.
Field(s) of expertise
- Immune responses to respiratory viruses
- Pathogenesis of respiratory viruses
- Paramyxoviruses, Pneumoviruses, Influenza viruses, Coronaviruses, Poxviruses
- Primary models for virus-host interactions (animal models and primary cells)
Education and career
In 2019, the Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences awarded Dr. de Vries the Beijerinck premium (€25,000), a prestigious prize that is awarded every other year to two young researchers that perform excellent virus-oriented research. He 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. He was here when the COVID-19 pandemic started and all research was committed to trying to understand SARS-CoV-2-specific immune responses. He decided to contribute with his specific knowledge and link with Erasmus MC, a University Hospital in Rotterdam.
Upon returning to the Netherlands, he 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. He currently employs these tools to study COVID-19 vaccination-induced immune responses.
As a scientist dr. de Vries actively participates in the international field of immunology and infectious diseases as member of WHO working groups, ESPID, ESCMID, ESV, ASV and the Microbiology Society, presenting his work at conferences on average 5-10 times per year. Additionally, he holds several positions of trust; among others he is an editorial board member for the peer-reviewed journals “Frontiers in Immunology” and “Vaccines”, and is a frequent grant proposal and manuscript reviewer.
Dr. Vries actively teaches young minds in multiple MSc programs in the Netherlands (e.g. ‘Infection & Immunity’ at the Erasmus MC). He enjoys sharing knowledge on immunology and infectious diseases to a broad audience, and is 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, dr. de Vries participates in “Open Campus” and “March for Science” events, and gives vaccination advice workshops to risk groups and individuals that refuse vaccination.
- Low levels of monkeypox virus-neutralizing antibodies after MVA-BN vaccination in healthy individuals.
L.M. Zaeck, Lamers MM, Verstrepen BE, Bestebroer TM, van Royen ME, Götz H, Shamier MC, van Leeuwen LPM, Schmitz KS, Alblas K, van Efferen S, Bogers S, Scherbeijn S, Rimmelzwaan GF, van Gorp ECM, Koopmans MPG, Haagmans BL, GeurtsvanKessel CH, de Vries RD. Nat Med 29(1):270-278 (2023).
- Evaluating novel COVID-19 vaccines in the current chapter of the pandemic.
C.H. GeurtsvanKessel CH, de Vries RD. Lancet Infect Dis 22(12):1652-1654 (2022).
- Divergent SARS-CoV-2 Omicron-reactive T and B cell responses in COVID-19 vaccine recipients.
C.H.GeurtsvanKessel, Geers D, Schmitz KS, Mykytyn AZ, Lamers MM, Bogers S, Scherbeijn S, Gommers L, Sablerolles RSG, Nieuwkoop NN, Rijsbergen LC, van Dijk LLA, de Wilde J, Alblas K, Breugem TI, Rijnders BJA, de Jager H, Weiskopf D, van der Kuy PHM, Sette A, Koopmans MPG, Grifoni A, Haagmans BL, de Vries RD. Sci Immunol 7, eabo2202 (2022).
- Intranasal fusion inhibitory lipopeptide prevents direct-contact SARS-CoV-2 transmission in ferrets.
R.D. de Vries, K. S. Schmitz, F. T. Bovier, C. Predella, J. Khao, D. Noack, B. L. Haagmans, S. Herfst, K. N. Stearns, J. Drew-Bear, S. Biswas, B. Rockx, G. McGill, N. V. Dorrello, S. H. Gellman, C. A. Alabi, R. L. de Swart, A. Moscona, M. Porotto. Science 371, 1379-1382 (2021).
- Phenotype and kinetics of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells in COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome
.D. Weiskopf, K. S. Schmitz, M. P. Raadsen, A. Grifoni, N. M. A. Okba, H. Endeman, J. P. C. van den Akker, R. Molenkamp, M. P. G. Koopmans, E. C. M. van Gorp, B. L. Haagmans, R. L. de Swart, A. Sette, R.D. de Vries. Sci Immunol 5, (2020).
- Induction of Cross-Clade Antibody and T-Cell Responses by a Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara-Based Influenza A(H5N1) Vaccine in a Randomized Phase 1/2a Clinical Trial.
R.D.de Vries, Altenburg AF, Nieuwkoop NJ, de Bruin E, van Trierum SE, Pronk MR, Lamers MM, Richard M, Nieuwenhuijse DF, Koopmans MPG, Kreijtz JHCM, Fouchier RAM, Osterhaus ADME, Sutter G, Rimmelzwaan GF. J Infect Dis. 2018 Jul 13;218(4):614-623.
- Measles immune suppression: lessons from the macaque model.
R.D.de Vries, McQuaid S, van Amerongen G, Yüksel S, Verburgh RJ, Osterhaus AD, Duprex WP, de Swart RL. PLoS Pathog. 2012;8(8):e1002885.
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
Dr. De Vries 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 7 PhD students.
Scholarships, grants, and awards
Awards• Awarded membership of the ‘Vaccine’ Young Investigator Program (2016-2018)
• KNAW Beijerinck Premium
Ongoing grants (selection)• Innovative nasal vaccines (HORIZON-HLTH-2022-DISEASE-06-03)
• Fusion inhibitors block SARS-CoV-2 transmission (NIH R01AI160953)
• Measles Control (ZonMw 10150511910052)
• SWITCHing of COVID-19 vaccines (ZonMw 10430072110001)
• Towards a diagnostic T-cell assay for COVID-19 (Health Holland EMCLSH20017)
• Overarching analyses of COVID-19 vaccination (ZonMw 10430072110008)
Societal 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
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.:
- NRC, 26 May 2021: Ook t-cellen beschermen na vaccin tegen varianten
- Nu.nl, 22 January 2021: Gaat vaccineren onze natuur tegen?
- Hart van Rotterdam, afl. 3, 2 November 2021:
- Rory de Vries
- Rik de Swart
- Mark Power
- Katharina Schmitz
- Laura van Dijk
- Kim Handrejk
- Daryl Geers
- Luca Zaeck
- Babs Verstrepen
- Lennert Gommers
- Nella Nieuwkoop