portrait of Prof. Kuiken

Prof. Thijs Kuiken

Scientific Coordinator of Antigone, based at Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Research field

Virology, Infectious Diseases

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Research Profile


Thijs Kuiken is a Professor of Pathology at Erasmus MC in the Netherlands. “I like to solve problems together with other experts. In ANTIGONE, pathologists collaborate with virologists, bacteriologists, immunologists, epidemiologists, ecologists, entomologists, mathematicians, and informaticians”, says Kuiken.


SARS and Swine Flu are recent examples of diseases that jumped from animals to humans. Both have shown that such diseases have a severe impact on human health. Understanding the factors that determine which animal viruses and bacteria cause human epidemics will improve our ability to diagnose, treat, and prevent human pandemics.


“We want to understand why some viruses and bacteria that originate from animals cause epidemics in humans, whilst others do not. The research questions are: How do viruses and bacteria cross over from animals to humans? How do they adapt to living in a human body? How do they become transmissible from human to human?”


In ANTIGONE, 14 research groups from seven European countries collaborate. “Our scientists have worked at the crossroads of human and veterinary medicine throughout their careers. Together, we ensure that Europe is prepared for pandemics. To this end, we develop prediction and intervention strategies.”

Which animal viruses and bacteria can cause human pandemics?

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Image credits

Background image: Bram Schaareman

Portrait of the project coordinator: ANTIGONE

Timeline (in chronological order): ANTIGONE