dr. U.V. Lagemaat

dr. U.V. Lagemaat

Full Professor
dr. U.V. Lagemaat
  • Department of Medical Microbiology

Research Programs

Infection & Immunity



The goal of the research of Suzan Rooijakkers is to unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying bacterial killing by the human immune system. In particular, she investigates the molecular functioning of the complement system, a large protein network in plasma that plays an essential role in the immune response against all invading bacteria. Complement rapidly labels bacteria for phagocytosis by immune cells and directly kills Gram-negative bacteria via pore formation (Membrane Attack Complex (MAC)). Although the MAC is an evolutionary conserved mechanism to kill bacterial cells, we currently do not understand how complement activation results in bacterial killing. In 2015, she obtained the prestigious ERC Starting grant that is aimed at providing insight into these bacterial killing mechanisms. She has recently established novel methods to study complement activation in highly purified model systems allowing us to provide insight into MAC-dependent killing of bacteria.

Other projects in the lab involve unravelling processes underlying complement-mediated phagocytosis. Complement is essential in immune eradication of Gram-positive bacteria. She aims to elucidate the molecular details of complement opsonin-receptor interactions . The work will pave the way for several therapeutic applications, including targeted complement-dependent bacterial killing and antibody therapy of clinically important bacteria. Furthermore, her studies will create new avenues for blocking the undesired complement activation during systemic bacterial infections and sepsis.

Side Activities

1. 2021 (once)    External grant reviewer Wallenberg foundation, Karolinska Institute, Sweden. No compensation.

2. 2019-now    Board member Executive Board Netherlands Antibiotic Development Platform (NADP). Compensation in favor of research group at UMCU.

3. 2018-NOW   TTW-NACTAR Programme committee  (no compensation)

4. Organizer of the 2nd and 3rd international conference on antibodies and complement. May 2019 and June 2023. Girona, Spain.  (no compensation)

5. Committee member of NWO-ZonMw Veni program (2019, once). Compensation in favor of research group at UMCU.

6. Panel member of the excecutive committe of the 'Complement UK research network', a collaborative organization that joints over 40 PIs (representing 29 UK Centers). My role as a panel member was to recruit PhD students for open positions (May 2016)  Compensation in favor of research group at UMCU.

Fellowship and Awards

Research Grants

2020       €2.000.000,- personal ERC Consolidator grant from European Research Council

2019      co-applicant on a European Joint Doctorate grant

2019      €250.000,- NCOH-AMR Complex Systems grant

2018      €300.000,- NWO-TTW Industrial Doctorate grant

2018       €800.000,- NWO-TTW NACTAR        

2018       €200.000,- NWO-Aspasia grant

2018       Hub for Molecular Immunology, UU

2015     €1.500.000,- personal ERC Starting grant from European Research Council.

2013          Co-applicant on a €800.000,- Eurostars grant together with Pepscan Therapeutics and   Bicycle Therapeutics (#E7679, BAIT, Bicycle Anti-Inflammatory Therapeutics).

2011          €100.000,- Aspasia-grant from NWO.

 2010         €800.000,- personal VIDI-grant for Innovational Research Incentives from NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) (#917-11-379).

2008         European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) long term fellowship (#ALTF 382-2008).

2007          €200.000,- personal VENI-grant for Innovational Research Incentives from NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) (#916-76-037).


Contract research

2018-2021      €500.000,- Genmab-sponsored research grant  (no personal payment)

2015-2017      €300.000,- Genmab-sponsored research grant (no personal payment)

Research Output (65)

How opsonins drive bacterial uptake:A phagocyte's dinner

Boero Elena, Rooijakkers SHM 13 Feb 2022, 161 p.

Human monoclonal antibodies against Staphylococcus aureus surface antigens recognize in vitro and in vivo biofilm

de Vor Lisanne, van Dijk Bruce, van Kessel Kok, Kavanaugh Jeffrey S., de Haas Carla, Aerts Piet C., Viveen Marco C., Boel Edwin C., Fluit Ad C., Kwiecinski Jakub M., Krijger Gerard C., Ramakers Ruud M., Beekman Freek J., Dadachova Ekaterina, Lam Marnix G. E. H., Vogely H. Charles, van der Wal Bart C. H., van Strijp Jos A. G., Horswill Alexander R., Weinans Harrie, Rooijakkers Suzan H. M. 6 Jan 2022, In: eLife. 11 , p. 1-25

Polymerization of C9 enhances bacterial cell envelope damage and killing by membrane attack complex pores

Doorduijn Dennis J., Heesterbeek Dani A.C., Ruyken Maartje, De Haas Carla J.C., Stapels Daphne A.C., Aerts Piet C., Rooijakkers Suzan H.M., Bardoel Bart W. Nov 2021, In: PLoS Pathogens. 17

Staphylococcus aureus Depends on Eap Proteins for Preventing Degradation of Its Phenol-Soluble Modulin Toxins by Neutrophil Serine Proteases

Kretschmer Dorothee, Breitmeyer Ricarda, Gekeler Cordula, Lebtig Marco, Schlatterer Katja, Nega Mulugeta, Stahl Mark, Stapels Daphne, Rooijakkers Suzan, Peschel Andreas 6 Sep 2021, In: Frontiers in Immunology. 12

C1q binding to surface-bound IgG is stabilized by C1r2s2 proteases

Zwarthoff Seline A., Widmer Kevin, Kuipers Annemarie, Strasser Jürgen, Ruyken Maartje, Aerts Piet C., de Haas Carla J.C., Ugurlar Deniz, den Boer Maurits A., Vidarsson Gestur, van Strijp Jos A.G., Gros Piet, Parren Paul W.H.I., van Kessel Kok P.M., Preiner Johannes, Beurskens Frank J., Schuurman Janine, Ricklin Daniel, Rooijakkers Suzan H.M. 29 Jun 2021, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 118 , p. 1-12

Use of Flow Cytometry to Evaluate Phagocytosis of Staphylococcus aureus by Human Neutrophils

Boero Elena, Brinkman Iris, Juliet Thessely, van Yperen Eline, van Strijp Jos A.G., Rooijakkers Suzan H.M., van Kessel Kok P.M. 19 Feb 2021, In: Frontiers in Immunology. 12 , p. 1-15

Staphylococcal protein A inhibits complement activation by interfering with IgG hexamer formation

Cruz Ana Rita, den Boer Maurits A., Strasser Jürgen, Zwarthoff Seline A., Beurskens Frank J., de Haas Carla J.C., Aerts Piet C., Wang Guanbo, de Jong Rob N., Bagnoli Fabio, van Strijp Jos A.G., van Kessel Kok P.M., Schuurman Janine, Preiner Johannes, Heck Albert J.R., Rooijakkers Suzan H.M. 16 Feb 2021, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 118 , p. 1-11

Outer membrane permeabilization by the membrane attack complex sensitizes Gram-negative bacteria to antimicrobial proteins in serum and phagocytes

Heesterbeek Dani A.C., Muts Remy M., van Hensbergen Vincent P., de Saint Aulaire Pieter, Wennekes Tom, Bardoel Bart W., van Sorge Nina M., Rooijakkers Suzan H.M. 22 Jan 2021, In: PLoS Pathogens. 17

Method for Depletion of IgG and IgM from Human Serum as Naive Complement Source

Zwarthoff Seline A., Magnoni Simone, Aerts Piet C., van Kessel Kok P.M., Rooijakkers Suzan H.M. 2021, p. 21-32 12 p.

All research output

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