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Eric Snijder

Professor Medical Microbiology, in particular molecular virology

Name
Prof.dr. E.J. Snijder
Telephone
+31 71 526 1657
E-mail
e.j.snijder@lumc.nl

Eric J. Snijder is professor of molecular Virology and head of the Section Research of the Department of Medical Microbiology of Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC). He is also a member of the Permanent Science Committee of LUMC and board member of the LUMC research profile area Immunology, Infection & Tolerance.

More information about Eric Snijder

Eric  J. Snijder is professor of molecular Virology and head of the Section Research of the Department of Medical Microbiology of Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC). He is also a member of the Permanent Science Committee of LUMC and board member of the LUMC research profile area Immunology, Infection & Tolerance.

Molecular virology

Viruses are specialized in abusing the infrastructure of their host cell for the benefit of the replication and expression of the viral genome and the production of new virus particles. On many levels, viruses are also engaged in a molecular arms race with their host cell, during which viruses time and again manage to evade or disrupt cellular defence mechanisms.  While doing so, viruses with an RNA genome can benefit from a special feature: a high mutation frequency that essentially renders the viral progeny a ‘swarm of mutants’ (known as ‘quasi-species’). Although this would perhaps appear to be disadvantageous, RNA viruses employ this genetic variation to escape from, for example, the immune system of the host or antiviral therapy. Furthermore, it can enable them to adapt to new host species, a relevant phenomenon as many (re)emerging viruses are transferred from animal reservoirs (zoonotic infections). Basic knowledge regarding virus replication and evolution can be used to develop novel antiviral strategies, which will be essential to prepare ourselves for future virus outbreaks.

Academic career

Eric Snijder (1962) graduated from Utrecht University, the Netherlands, in 1986 (cum laude M.Sc. in Biology), after specializing in molecular biology, electron microscopy and molecular virology. Subsequently, he continued with a Ph.D. research project at the Department of Virology of the Utrecht Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, resulting a cum laude Ph.D. in 1991 (thesis 'Berne virus – replication and evolution of the torovirus prototype'). In 1990, Snijder moved to the Department of Medical Microbiology of the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), where he became assistant professor and subsequently associate professor and principal investigator of the nidovirus research group. In 2000, he was awarded the C.J. Kok prize for his work on the molecular biology of nidoviruses (arteri- and coronaviruses). In 2007, Snijder was appointed full professor of molecular virology. His inaugural lecture was entitled ‘Virus evolution: ready while you wait’.

Eric Snijder investigates the molecular biology and evolution of viruses with a positive-stranded RNA genome, in particular nidoviruses like the coronaviruses that cause SARS and MERS. The (molecular) interactions between these viruses and their host cell have been a central and recurrent theme in his research, which was and is supported by a variety of research grants from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and the European Union (EU). Snijder has published over 235 scientific publications. He is a former Editor of the Journal of General Virology, member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Virology and Virus Research, and member of the Advisory Committee of the Beijerinck Virology Fund. For the LUMC Biomedical Sciences curriculum, he coordinates the M.Sc. course 'Molecular Virology of RNA viruses' and is also involved in a variety of other teaching activities.

Prizes and honourable appointments

In 2012, Eric Snijder was elected member of the American Academy of Microbiology.

Professor Medical Microbiology, in particular molecular virology

  • Faculteit Geneeskunde
  • Divisie 4
  • Medische Microbiologie

Work address

LUMC Main Building
Albinusdreef 2
2333 ZA Leiden
Room number E4-P

Contact

  • American Society of Microbiology Editorial Board member Journal of Virology
  • Elsevier Editorial Board member Virus Research
  • KNAW Lid Adviescommissie Beijerninck Virologie Fonds
  • Synthetic Genomics, Inc Ad hoc consultant op het gebied van arterivirus vectorontwikkeling
  • Uitgevers, funding agencies Ad hoc reviewer
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