target to B
Newsletter volume 2
  1. Our symposium
  2. Meet our people
  3. Outline WP2 and WP5 by Jelle de Wit
  4. Save the date
  5. News update

1. Our Symposium: May 9th, 2019

After a lecture by Prof. Radbruch, the different Workpackage (WP) leaders gave a brief presentation of the work in progress. A joint presentation was given both of WPs 2 and 5 and WPs 3 and 6 respectively, underscoring the coherence of the consortium WPs.
The overall conclusion of these presentations was that there is a lot of enthusiasm among all participants and that the program is on track, and that the deliverables and timelines described in the grant proposal seem to be realistic.
Importantly, more than 10 PhD students, fellows and postdocs have been recruited since October 2018. They briefly introduced themselves during the meeting and appeared to be highly motivated for their respective projects.
The meeting concluded with a lecture by Prof. Verschuuren followed by informal drinks.
(summary by Prof. Rien van Oers)

2. Meet our people

Hi everyone, my name is Carlo Bonasia. I am from Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. I obtained a Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Groningen. In April I started my PhD at the Department of Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology of the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) under the supervision of dr. Bram Rutgers.
carlo Bonasia
Matthias Busch
My name is Matthias Busch and I am working as a fellow in clinical immunology and allergology at the department of internal medicine of the Maastricht University Medical Center. Since January 2019, I am working as a PhD candidate at the same department as well, mainly within work package 7 and 8 of the Target to B! consortium under supervision of dr. van Paassen. As a part of the group, we are going to investigate the effects and efficacy of B-cell targeting and antibody removal in patients with B-cell related autoimmune disease like anti-neutrophil cytoplasm antibody-associated vasculitis.
I am Sabrina Pollastro and I recently joined the Target to B! consortium as PostDoc/Bioinformatician in the group of Marieke van Ham at Sanquin. I performed my PhD at the AMC, under the supervision of Pr. Niek de Vries. Here I specialized in B-cell and T-cell receptor repertoire analysis applied to fundamental as well as clinical research.

My focus within the TTB! consortium will be to provide the consortium with both practical and bioinformatic help in setting up and performing B-cell receptor clonality analysis. A part from this, I am also involved in the analysis of single cell RNA sequencing data and immunomonitoring of antigen specific responses.

Sabrina Pollastro 1
My name is Mariateresa Coppola and contributing in unrevealing the human immune responses fascinates me enormously.
After obtaining my medical degree, I moved to the lab of Prof. Tom Ottenhoff to start an exciting PhD project on new TB vaccines. In addition to this, I have been trained for 3 years as vaccinologist in the Marie Curie Initial Training Network Vactrain.

Last July, I started mLasty PostDoc project in the group of prof. Reina Mebius and dr. Lisa van Baarsen. Within the T2B framework we aim to study B cells in several auto-immune diseases and cancer by integrating mass cytometry and RNA-seq data.
I'm Andien Vaes, the Financial Manager on target-to-B!. Since the beginning of 2018 I work as a consortium controller for projects in which the AMC is coordinator.
The first decade of my working life I was active as a financial controller and later as a business controller for large companies. After 2009 I started working at the University of Leiden as a project controller. I became familiar with KP7 and H2020 projects and auditing. After 8 years I decided to take the next step: working for research project with more societal impact. The first proposal I worked on at the AMC was Target-to-B!.

Andien Vaes

3. Outline WP2 and WP5

WP2 (B-cell assays in health and disease) is dedicated to set-up specialized cellular assays to study the dynamics, diversity and function of B-lymphocyte differentiation in health, B-IMDs and B-ONC. We are building a powerful, state-of-the-art, B-cell immune monitoring platform based on integration of existing and novel assays for immune monitoring of B-cell function and differentiation in health and B-IMDs/B-ONCs. These assays include deep-immunophenotyping of B cells at a single cell level, using CyTOF and scRNA-sequencing, and functional analyses by investigating differentiation and signaling of B cells.

With this Target-to-B!-dedicated platform, we can characterize the B-cell compartment in healthy individuals and B-IMD/B-ONC patients, to assess B-cell function, pathogenicity and/or recovery in our clinical cohorts (WP1) and subsequent in-depth analysis in dedicated lines of research (WP5-8). The strong collaborations and interactions with the other work packages stimulate to efficiently build this immune monitoring platform. It will allow us to investigate the contribution of the B-cell/plasmablast and plasma cell compartment in many B-IMD and B-ONC and compare results, thus yielding a truly disease-overarching B-cell immunomonitoring platform.

WP5 (B-Cells in health and disease of B-IMD/B-ONC) focuses on the actual investigation of the role of B-cell differentiation and B cell function in health and disease, in order to obtain a detailed understanding of phenotypic and functional B cell properties that are unique for or shared between B-IMDs/B-ONCs. For this, we will apply the B-cell immunemonitoring platform for different diseases. We are in the process of harmonizing our protocols between the different institutes. Cohorts have been inventoried and samples from dedicated cohorts will be selected to perform deep-immunophenotyping using CyTOF and assess the contribution of B cell function and B cell differentiation to different diseases.
We are in the process of harmonizing our protocols between the different institutes. Cohorts have been inventoried and samples from dedicated cohorts will be selected to perform deep-immunophenotyping using CyTOF and assess the contribution of B cell function and B cell differentiation to different diseases. We will investigate common and disease-specific molecular mechanisms that lead to the generation of pathogenic B-cells or explain the contribution of the pathogenic B cells to disease. Currently, we focus on comparing AAV, RA, Sjögren, Pemphigus, CIDP/GBS/MS, MG and B-ONC (CLL, FL). The knowledge obtained will aid in improved disease monitoring in B-IMDs/B-ONCs and may provide clues to which B-cell targeted therapeutic strategies are most effective in B-IMDs/B-ONCs.

4. Save the date

Symposium 3 on the 14th of November, Groningen
Our third symposium will take place on the 14th of November 2019 (hosted by UMC Groningen). Please register at:

NVVI pre-meeting 10th of December 2019, Noordwijkerhout
Together with the 2 other immunology PPS- consortia (DC4Balance andTIMID ), we have a meeting prior to the NVVI meeting on December 10, 2019.
This day will be important for the continuation of T2B after 2022 – possibly in a larger entity, merging with the other two consortia into one big consortium. Health Holland has started discussions with the three immunology consortia and the board of the NVVI to generate a large research platform that will be very important for the future of our own research.
It's at the same venue where the annual congress of the NVVI (Dutch Society Immunology) will be held on December 11 and 12.
It's already possible to register and book the hotel nights. If you also want to stay the night of December 10, there is an extra possibility in the online registration system to book that night as well. We hope that all of you will be present that day.
Please, make sure that you take that into account when you book.

5. News update

Did you know that we have submitted our Datamanagementplan and that it got approved by Health Holland and the Samenwerkende Gezondheidsfondsen.
The teammembers of WP1 and Sjaak van Peelen (Lygature) have worked very hard on meeting the deadline for this deliverable.

samenwerkende gezondheidsfondsen