Spinoza winner 2021 | LUMC, NL
Maria Yazdanbakhsh is a professor in cellular immunology of parasitic infections and is the head of the Department of Parasitology at LUMC. She did her PhD at the University of Amsterdam and a post-doctoral fellowship at Imperial College London. Thereafter, she became a researcher at Leiden University and moved along the academic line to the position of professor. She is a member of the steering committee of NWO/WOTRO science for development. She holds visiting professorships at several universities worldwide. She has been elected fellow of the Royal Academy of Sciences (KNAW) and Academia Europaea.
Her research is focused on the interaction between parasites with their human host. Her work aims at gaining in depth understanding of the human immune system. Her research has led to the identification of parasite-derived immune regulatory molecules. Moreover, her population studies in rural and urban areas of LMIC, is showing that intense exposure to microorganisms and parasites can override the influence of genetic factors on the immune system.