Marieke van Ham

Anja ten Brinke

The research group of Marieke van Ham and Anja ten Brinke has studied antigen-specific immune responses for more than 2 decades. The group specializes in fundamental and translational research studying both desired antibody responses against pathogens/vaccines as well as undesired immunogenicity against biological and self-antigens.

Key interests of the group are regulation of plasma cell differentiation through antigen-driven interactions between activated B cells and follicular Thelper (Tfh) cells. The group investigates regulation of antigen uptake and MHC-mediated antigen presentation and the differential regulation between proinflammatory (IgG1, IgE) and anti-inflammatory (IgG4) antibodies.

Studies on safety and efficacy of anti-tetanus hyperimmunisation programs of voluntary donors and alloimmunisation upon transfusion or red blood cells or platelets belong to current areas of research.

Finally, the group specialises in general and antigen-specific B and CD4 T cell immunomonitoring for therapy efficacy of immunomodulating drugs/biologics in national and international consortia (HORIZON2020).


Department of Immunopathology, Sanquin, Amsterdam and University of Amsterdam


Unger PA, Makuch M, Aalbers M, Derksen NIL, Ten Brinke A, Aalberse RC, Rispens T, van Ham SM. Repeated vaccination with tetanus toxoid of plasma donors with pre-existing specific IgE transiently elevates tetanus-specific IgE but does not induce allergic symptoms. Clin Exp Allergy. 2018.

Ten Brinke A, Marek-Trzonkowska N, Mansilla MJ, Turksma AW, Piekarska K, Iwaszkiewicz-Grzes D, Passerini L, Locafaro G, Punet-Ortiz J, van Ham SM, et al. Monitoring T-Cell Responses in Translational Studies: Optimization of Dye-Based Proliferation Assay for Evaluation of Antigen-Specific Responses. Front Immunol. 2017.

de Wit J, Jorritsma T, Makuch M, Remmerswaal EB, Klaasse Bos H, Souwer Y, Neefjes J, ten Berge IJ, van Ham SM. Human B cells promote T-cell plasticity to optimize antibody response by inducing coexpression of T(H)1/T(FH) signatures. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015.

Lighaam LC, Vermeulen E, Bleker T, Meijlink KJ, Aalberse RC, Barnes E, Culver EL, van Ham SM, Rispens T. Phenotypic differences between IgG4+ and IgG1+ B cells point to distinct regulation of the IgG4 response. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2014.

Souwer Y, Griekspoor A, de Wit J, Martinoli C, Zagato E, Janssen H, Jorritsma T, Bar-Ephraim YE, Rescigno M, Neefjes J, et al. Selective infection of antigen-specific B lymphocytes by Salmonella mediates bacterial survival and systemic spreading of infection. PLoS One. 2012.


Karin van Schie: Immunogenicity of Therapeutic Antibodies. Immunological Mechanisms & Clinical Consequences. Awarded 2017

Jelle de Wit: B and T cell crosstalk in anti‚Äźbacterial immune responses. Awarded: 2012

Current PhD projects

Peter-Paul Unger: Regulation of T cell-dependent B cell differentiation; contribution of follicular Thelper cells to plasma cell formation and antibody production.

Laura Lighaam: Dissecting the regulation of the IgG4 B cell response.

Fleur Sanne van den Bovenkamp: The role of Fab glycosylation of antibodies in immunity.