Portrait of Prof. Ab Osterhaus, Coordinator of the European health research project VECTORIE

Prof. Ab Osterhaus

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

Research field

Virology, Infectious Diseases

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“I try to look at the big picture. The mosquitoes that we study in VECTORIE have spread from tropical countries to Europe as a result of climate changes and international air transport”, says Ab Osterhaus, Head of the Department of Viroscience at Erasmus MC. Prof. Osterhaus is one of the most successful virologists in the world.


West Nile disease causes neurological problems and can be life-threatening. Chikungunya infections cause fever and joint pains. The risk of West Nile and Chikungunya virus outbreaks has increased in Europe. We thus need a proactive approach to fight these mosquito-borne infections. This is exactly what VECTORIE aims to do.


Prof. Osterhaus explains: “We focus on two viruses: West Nile virus and Chikungunya virus. These are both transmitted by mosquitoes. We study what factors influence the mosquitoes’ capacity to act as a transmitter (=vector), how the viruses cause disease in humans, and how we can develop new vaccines to prevent infections.”


The VECTORIE project integrates the expertise of 7 research partners from 5 European countries. Virologists, insect experts, and vaccination experts work together to monitor the spread of West Nile and Chikungunya virus. “We combine our expertise and research facilities to conduct sophisticated analyses”, says Prof. Osterhaus.

Enhance Europe’s preparedness for vector-borne diseases

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Image credits

Background image: Hans Smid

Portrait of the project coordinator: VECTORIE

Timeline (in chronological order): 2001-mosquito: CDC, J. Gathany and F. Collins; 2001-map: CDC; 2007: CDC’s Public Health Image Library, James Gathany; 2011: Hans Smid