Dr. Maartje Huijbers

Maartje G. Huijbers PhD. Group leader at the department of Human Genetics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.

During my training I contributed to the discovery of two new antigens causative of central synaptic autoimmune diseases and unraveled the pathophysiology of MuSK myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular autoimmune disease. We furthermore exploited the associated models to test new treatments for (neuromuscular) autoimmune diseases. These studies sparked my enthusiasm for neuroimmunological translational research. Currently, the key interest of my research group is understanding why and how patients develop IgG4-mediated autoimmune diseases (etiology) and what immunological characteristics contribute to the disease process and chronification of these diseases (pathophysiology). By performing in dept genomic and functional analysis of the autoantibodies and immune cells involved, it is our ultimate ambition to contribute to the development of new therapeutics

Recent publications

  1. Vergoossen DLE, Augustinus R, Huijbers MG. MuSK antibodies, lessons learned from poly- and monoclonality. J Autoimmun. 2020 Jun 3:102488
  2. Huijbers MG, Vergoossen DL, Fillié-Grijpma YE, van Es IE, Koning MT, Slot LM, Veelken H, Plomp JJ, van der Maarel SM, Verschuuren JJ. MuSK myasthenia gravis monoclonal antibodies: Valency dictates pathogenicity. Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm. 2019 Feb 21;6(3):e547.
  3. Huijbers MG, Plomp JJ, van der Maarel SM, Verschuuren JJ. IgG4-mediated autoimmune diseases: a niche of antibody-mediated disorders. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2018.
  4. Strijbos E, Huijbers MG, van Es IE, Alleman I, van Ostaijen-Ten Dam MM, Bakker J, van Zwet EW, Jol-van der Zijde CM, van Tol MD, Verschuuren JJ. A prospective, placebo controlled study on the humoral immune response to and safety of tetanus revaccination in myasthenia gravis. Vaccine. 2017.
  5. Klooster R, Plomp JJ, Huijbers MG, Niks EH, Straasheijm KR, Detmers FJ, Hermans PW, Sleijpen K, Verrips A, Losen M, et al. Muscle-specific kinase myasthenia gravis IgG4 autoantibodies cause severe neuromuscular junction dysfunction in mice. Brain. 2012.

Currently supervising PhD research of

  • Dana Vergoossen: Characterization of pathogenic MuSK myasthenia gravis autoantibodies and B cells.
  • Ellen Strijbos: Preventive and therapeutic vaccins for autoimmune myasthenia gravis.
  • Sander Lipka: Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndromeReza Nadafi (VUMC; Prof. dr. Reina Mebius): Study the immunomodulatory effect of lymph node stromal cells in rheumatic disease