Our research is focused on immunology of chronic viral infections, and the long-term consequences of these infections, such as fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC). We study infections with the hepatitis B, C or E virus (HBV, HCV or HEV), as well as infections with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Our interest is in unravelling 1) why immune responses are insufficient to clear the viruses in chronic patients; 2) the parameters that determine disease progression (e.g. fibrosis or liver cancer) in patients with chronic viral hepatitis, and 3) the mechanisms underlying the differences in efficacy of antiviral therapy
To achieve this, we use immuno-monitoring of patients with HBV, HCV, HEV or HIV patients at various disease stages, during standard-of-care and during novel experimental antiviral therapy (in phase I/II clinical trials). Since hepatitis viruses replicate exclusively in the liver, we use the technique of fine-needle aspiration to sample the liver, a technique that we used in numerous research projects over the last decade.