M. de Haas
Professor by special appointment Translational Immunohematology
Masja de Haas is professor in Translational Immunohematology, on behalf of Sanquin Blood Supply. She is appointed at the Dept of Immunohematology and Blood Transfusion and at the Jon J van Rood Center for Clinical Transfusion Research a collaboration between LUMC and Sanquin Blood Supply. She is also the head of the national reference center for Immunohematology Diagnostics of Sanquin Blood Supply. Since 2018, she serves as vice president the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT). In 2006 she received the Jean Julliard Prize of the ISBT.
Research of Masja de Haas within the theme of “Translational Immunohematology” aims to improve the prevention and diagnostic testing of immunological activity against donor blood or against a patient’s own blood cells. Immunological reactions can cause life threatening organ damage. If also antibodies against the patient’s own blood cells are formed, this can cause shortage of red blood cells, platelets or leukocytes. In these cases, transfusion of donor blood is not possible and correct determination of the type of immunological reactivity is needed to start optimal immune suppressive treatment.
Part of the research program is related to study cost effectiveness analysis of transfusion policies with extended blood type matched red cells units designed to prevent alloimmune reactions. Also during pregnancy, a mother’s alloantibodies can cause blood cell destruction and disease in the unborn child (for example “Rhesus disease”). Knowledge of the mechanisms leading to destruction of donor blood or the patient’s own blood cells, will lead to development of improved diagnostic testing, to optimal choices in selection of donor blood and to precision medicine for the different groups of transfusion-dependent patients. In the future, a unique patient profile will be determined and will form the basis of transfusion or immune modulating therapy.
The research relates to the following questions in the Nationale Wetenschapsagenda (Dutch National Research Agenda):
091: Pregnancy, child birth and menopause can we improve the care?
094: How to make the quality of health care as good as possible, while keeping it affordable?
095: How can health care, for instance by using individual biomarkers, be more tailored to the individual?
104: How to develop minimal-invasive techniques and interventions for diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of patients?
Masja de Haas absolved Medical School and her doctoral research at the University of Amsterdam. The title of her doctoral thesis (1995) reads ‘IgG Fc receptors and its soluble forms” (promotors prof dr A.E.G.Kr von dem Borne and prof dr D. Roos). Subsequently Prof. de Haas was appointed as a scientist at Sanquin Blood Supply (the former Central Laboratory of Blood Transfusion) to develop new laboratory tests within the field of immunohematology, with a focus on molecular blood group testing. Since 2008, she is laboratory director of the Depts of Immunohematology Diagnostics at Sanquin Diagnostic Services and leads the national reference laboratories of Sanquin. In 2015, she became professor, by special appointment, in Translational Immunohematology, on behalf of Sanquin Blood Supply. The title of her inaugural lecture (June 3, 2016) was “To connect within the chain.”
Masja de Haas experience in research, diagnostic testing and clinical advice within the field of immunohematology lasts over 20 years. This concerns investigation of allo-and autoantibody formation against blood group antigens of red blood cells, platelets and granulocytes.
She contributed to more than 120 scientific publications. And is an active member of various working parties of the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT). Since 2018, she serves as vice president for this international scientific society.
In the past she was the chair of the scientific committee of the Dutch Society of Blood Transfusion. Recently, she contributed to the revision of the Dutch Transfusion guide line.
She is a member of the program committee of the RIVM to support the population screening program: prenatal screening infectious diseases and erythrocyte immunisation in pregnant women.
She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Blood and Tissue Bank of Barcelona.
Finally, she is the chair of the Employee Complaint Committee of Sanquin.
Prizes and honourable appointments
Masja de Haas was awarded the Jean Julliard Prize of the International Society for Blood Transfusion (ISBT) in 2006.