van den Hurk, Sylvia
Office Location: Room A310, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO)
Phone: 306-966-1559 or 306-966-1582
Dr. van den Hurk is Program Manager, Viral Pathogenesis and Vaccine Development, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO). For more information, please visit Dr. van den Hurk's profile page on the VIDO web site
- BSc, MSc, University of Wageningen, The Netherlands
- PhD, University of Saskatchewan
- DNA vaccines: Recently, DNA immunization was shown to be a promising approach potentially leading to balanced long-lived immune responses. My research group was one of the first to demonstrate the efficacy of DNA vaccines in large animal species. Our focus is to further optimize this vaccination strategy by improving cellular and nuclear entry of the DNA vaccine, slow release of the DNA vaccine, and formulation with immune modulators.
- Bovine herpesvirus-1 (BHV-1): Herpesviruses cause significant primary and recurrent infections worldwide. BHV-1 is a severe cattle disease and is an excellent model for studying herpesvirus infections in general. Our current focus is the structural and functional characterization of the proteins in the tegument, which are located between the nucleocapsid and the virus envelope, and are important for viral assembly.
- Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV): Human RSV (HRSV) is the leading cause of bronchiolitis and viral pneumonia in infants and young children, resulting in the hospitalization of up to 2 per cent of children in their first year of life. There are no effective vaccines for HRSV. Bovine RSV (BRSV) is a major respiratory pathogen in calves. Since both viruses are closely related, we are using BRSV as a model to study the virus-host interactions. Furthermore, we developed novel vaccine formulations, which we are now further characterizing and testing for eventual application in human infants.
- Hepatitis C virus (HCV): HCV is the etiological agent of non-A, non-B hepatitis. An estimated 170 million people are infected with HCV. We demonstrated the potential for dendritic cell therapy against HCV in a mouse model. To further evaluate the potential of approach, we plan to characterize the dendritic cells from chronic HCV patients in comparison to healthy individuals, and to optimize the functional properties of these dendritic cells by treatment with immunomodulatory compounds.