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About The Speaker

Maartje Huijbers

LUMC, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AND GROUP LEADER, DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN GENETICS AND DEPARTMENT OF NEUROLOGY

Maartje Huijbers

LUMC, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AND GROUP LEADER, DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN GENETICS AND DEPARTMENT OF NEUROLOGY

Dr. Maartje G. Huijbers is associate professor and group leader at the department of Human Genetics and the department of Neurology at LUMC in Leiden, The Netherlands. Maartje’s career started in the lab of Josep Dalmau (UPenn, Philadelphia) where she contributed to the discovery of two new antigens for central nervous system autoimmunity. She continued her passion for neuroimmunology research by starting a PhD in the lab of Prof. dr. Jan Verschuuren and Prof. Dr. Silvère van der Maarel at LUMC.

Maartje obtained her PhD in 2016 from Leiden University for her work on the pathomechanism of MuSK myasthenia gravis (a neuromuscular autoimmune disease). Using in vitro and in vivo models she studied whether and how patient-derived IgG4 causes myasthenic muscle weakness. During her PhD she visited the Steve Burden lab at NYU (New York) where she unravelled the mechanism by which IgG4 MuSK autoantibodies cause myasthenia gravis. During her post doc she investigated the therapeutic potential of FcRn inhibition on MuSK myasthenia gravis and continued her work on neuromuscular autoimmune diseases at LUMC which escalated into the neuroimmunology group (https://www.lumc.nl/en/over-het-lumc/afdelingen/human-genetics/translational-neuroimmunology/ ).

Maartje has received fellowships from EMBO, NWO, LUMC, Health Holland, and Prinses Beatrix Spierfonds to support this work.
Currently, the translational research in her group, in close collaboration with clinicians, focusses on understanding the cause and consequences of (IgG4) autoantibodies and B cells and their characteristics in these autoimmune diseases. The ultimate ambition being to either prevent or cure the onset of IgG4 autoimmune (neuromuscular) diseases. Together with a pharmaceutical partner, one therapeutic which stems from her own research, is being tested for the first time in phase 1 clinical trials in 2023.

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