Experimental Virology - Ronald Dijkman



Molecular characterization of Influenza D virus - host interactions

In 2011, a novel member of the Orthomyxoviridae family, Influenza D virus, was identified among a broad spectrum of livestock species, including cattle, a species that previously never was considered to be susceptible to influenza virus infection. The underlying determinants affecting the broad host tropism of influenza D virus remain elusive. Considering the zoonotic potential, interspecies transmission and the important veterinary and public health significance of influenza viruses, the molecular characterization of the interaction of influenza D virus with its host’s is warranted. The proposed research will provide detailed knowledge on the host tropism of influenza D viruses, including their zoonotic potential, and on the host innate immune responses of different species. Moreover, it provides a comprehensive overview on basic aspects of the molecular biology of the virus, the interplay of Influenza D virus with the host’s innate immune responses, and on the putative role of viral proteins in antagonizing the host innate antiviral response and its effect on the broad species tropism of the virus. This knowledge is crucial to understand the basic parameters of the successful establishment of Influenza D virus among different livestock species and in possibly humans.




HONOURs is an EU-financed Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) training network on host switching pathogens, infectious outbreaks and zoonosis. The objective of HONOURs is to train Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in all aspects of infectious outbreaks. The consortium consists of 10 high profile universities, research institutions and companies. Coordination is at the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam. The partners are located in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.


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Rapid identification and epidemiological analysis of OIE-notifiable viral animal diseases.

Outbreaks caused by OIE-notifiable animal diseases, such as avian influenza virus (AIV), bluetongue virus (BTV) and African Swine Fever (ASF), can have severe socio-economic consequences. This requires a prompt and adequate response by the governing body for effective animal disease control, which largely depends on the rapid acquirement of information regarding the identification and origin of such viral pathogens. The existing infrastructure within Switzerland is not equipped to provide such information within a matter of days and thereby might negatively influence the response time. The establishment of the state-of-the-art Oxford Nanopore sequencing technology in conjunction with a powerful bioinformatic-based data analytic pipeline that can be projected in a user-friendly visualization tool will considerably aid in the rapid identification and epidemiological understanding of important viral pathogens and will improve the outbreak response time.