Debby Bogaert's group focuses on investigating the physiology and pathophysiology of respiratory infections and inflammation from an ecological perspective.
Respiratory infections are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in children worldwide. The respiratory and bacterial pathogens causing these infections are actually common colonizers of the upper respiratory tract as well, living mostly in full harmony with the host. The reason why in one child colonization with those pathogens is followed by disease, and in others not, is not fully understood.
My research group has a major focus on investigating the physiology and pathophysiology of respiratory infections and inflammation from an ecological perspective, with the ultimate goal to design new or improved treatment and preventive measures for respiratory infections in susceptible populations. To this purpose, the team uses a fully translational approach, combining epidemiological, molecular microbiological, immunological and systems biology approaches to answer their research questions. Moreover, we execute mechanistic studies in vitro and in vivo. I still have a research team in Utrecht, the Netherlands, working on continuation of several birth cohorts and clinical studies.
Professor Bogaert joined the Centre for Inflammation Research in September 2016. Since 2008 she worked as a physician scientist at the Department of Pediatric Immunology of the UMC Utrecht, The Netherlands, where she initiated several ecological studies of the upper respiratory tract microbiome in relation to pathogenesis and prevention of respiratory infections. A Veni and Vidi career grant (NWO) and Top grant (ZonMW) led to the validation and adaptation of a metagenomic pipeline for analysis of low-density respiratory microbiota, the set-up of applied bioinformatic methods and the first analyses of environmental effects on such microbiota including mode of delivery, breastfeeding and outcome. Furthermore, she participates in and facilitates microbiological and immunological research projects linked to clinical studies.
She worked from 2006 to 2008 as a postdoctoral fellow (Professor M Lipsitch and Professor R Malley, Harvard School of Public Health/Boston Children’s Hospital) where she executed in vitro and animal studies on susceptibility of infants to pneumococcal colonization and infection, with specific emphasis on host-immunity.
She obtained her PhD degree cum laude from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands (Supervisors: Professor R de Groot, Professor PWM Hermans, 1999-2004), for her studies on pathogenesis of pneumococcal infections, focusing on (molecular) epidemiology of bacterial colonization of the upper respiratory tract. Amongst others, she was one of the first to obtain epidemiological evidence for in vivo bacterial interactions occuring at the nasopharyngeal niche.
In parallel, she was also trained as a pediatrician at the Sophia Children's Hospital in Rotterdam, obtaining her licence in 2006. She obtained her licence as Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology Specialist at the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital, Utrecht in 2014.