Professor Lieke Sanders (1959) is Chief Science Officer Host Response at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). She is a paediatrician and Professor of Paediatric Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital/Utrecht University Medical Centre (UMC).

Lieke Sanders
Safe vaccination in effective programmes for all ages is of great public and individual importance. Millions of people owe their health to vaccination.

Lieke Sanders studied medicine at Utrecht University, and has been a paediatrician in the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital (WKZ) of UMC Utrecht since 1989, specialising in recurrent infections and immunodeficiency disorders. In 1994 she obtained her PhD. In 2003, she was appointed Professor and Head of the clinical Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, and since 2009, she has been director Research & Education in the Wilhelmina Children’s University Hospital.

Her research interest is immunological disorders and prevention of infectious diseases. Vaccination is a central theme and Lieke Sanders has carried out many large vaccination studies in this area. Other research areas include the effect of life style and environment on the development of microbiome in the young child and susceptibility to respiratory infections. Lieke Sanders has supervised over 25 PhD students and published some 220 papers on vaccinations, immunodeficiency,  respiratory infections and the development of respiratory microbiome. She has contributed to various textbooks and guidelines on these topics.

As Chief Science Officer (CSO) Host Response, Lieke Sanders wants to foster links between various research areas at RIVM. She sees many opportunities for new cooperation within and outside RIVM, in multidisciplinary research. She considers RIVM has a great responsibility for public health in the Netherlands.

In addition to her position as CSO at RIVM, Lieke Sanders works a day at week at WKZ, in the immunology outpatient clinic and supervising research and PhD students.

Areas of expertise

  • Prevention and vaccinations (respiratory tract infections, invasive bacterial disease)
  • Immunodeficiencies in children
  • Respiratory tract infections and Respiratory microbiota dynamics
  • Maturation and ageing of the immune system
  • Immunodeficiency disease