Lisa van Baarsen Lab

In our group we study the failure of immunological tolerance in various rheumatic diseases, focusing on the interaction between stromal cells and immune cells.

Specifically, we use a unique combination of peripheral blood samples and lymph node biopsies from individuals at risk for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and patients with the established disease to study which processes lead to the development of arthritis. Furthermore, we have recently started investigating failure of immunological tolerance in pregnant women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) to understand their high risk (up to 50%) of pregnant complications. For this, we are currently building a microbead-based organoid to model the maternal-fetal interface.

Team leader

Lisa van Baarsen

Assistant Professor

Over the past years, I gained extensive experience in translational research in the fields of rheumatology and immunobiology. I received prestigious personal grants including a ZonMw VENI, VIDI, TOP and the AMC fellowship award. It is my ambition to unravel the molecular and biological processes leading to systemic autoimmune diseases by studying unique human lymphoid and synovial tissue biopsies obtained during the pre-clinical and earliest phases of rheumatoid arthritis.

My research group is focused on the interaction between tissue resident mesenchymal stromal cells and the immune system and how they regulate each other during health and disease. Findings have led us into the field of cellular aging, senescence and metabolism and their inter-connection. Ultimately, these studies will lay the foundation for the development of novel therapies to prevent and treat this chronic disabling immune-mediated autoimmune disease.

Wendy Dankers

Postdoctoral researcher

I am a postdoctoral researcher studying the role of (failing) maternal-fetal tolerance in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In 2016, I finished my PhD at Erasmus University about the effect of vitamin D on T cells in rheumatoid arthritis. Afterwards, I did a postdoc at Monash University where I worked on an alternative for glucocorticoid therapy in SLE. In these projects I developed expertise in molecular immunology and used state-of-the-art techniques such as whole genome CRISPR screens. In 2022, I brought this knowledge to Amsterdam UMC to start a new research line about pregnancy complications in SLE.

Team members

Irene Bultink

Marjon de Boer

Hannelie Semmelink
Research Technician


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VENI, VIDI, ZonMW TOP, AMC Fellowship, H2020-MSCA-COFUND (Lisa van Baarsen)

Amsterdam UMC Postdoc Bridging Grant, Amsterdam Reproduction and Development Open Research Grant, FOREUM Career Research Grant (Wendy Dankers)