Universiteit Leiden

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Reinaldus Toes

Professor Experimental Rheumatology

Prof.dr. R.E.M. Toes
+31 71 526 1946

René E.M. Toes is professor in experimental rheumatology and head of the laboratory Experimental Rheumatology at the LUMC. He received in 2003 a VIDI-, in 2008 a VICI-, and in 2015 a ZonMW TOP- and a Graduate program in Immunity, infection and tolerance grant from The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. Research of Prof Toes focuses on several aspects associated with the immune response in rheumatic diseases, more specifically, in rheumatoid arthritis.

More information about Reinaldus Toes

Autoimmune disease

Focus of our research has been given to the aberrant immune response underlying various rheumatic disease. 

Break of immunological tolerance is at the basis of the development of autoimmunity and consequently autoimmune diseases. We aim to understand how B-cell tolerance towards self-antigens in rheumatic disease is broken. Emphasis is given to B-cells and auto-antibodies recognizing post-translationally modified protein-antigens in rheumatoid arthritis. However, also other B-cell- and auto-antibody responses present in other rheumatic diseases are studied. We thrive to implement the knowledge acquired on the breach of tolerance and the evolution of human auto-reactive antibody- and B-cell responses into the design of preventive strategies and/or interventions aiming to restore normal immune-homeostasis against autoantigens and cure of B-cell mediated auto-immune diseases. The ultimate goal of our studies is to understand how rheumatic disorders arise and are maintained with the aim to treat patients in an earlier phase to cure or even prevent disease.

Academic career

René Toes, Ph.D. received his M.Sc. specialized in immunology and biochemistry in 1989 at the Free University in Amsterdam. In 1991 he started his PhD-project and defended in 1996 his thesis entitled “Modulation of tumoricidal T cell responses against adenovirus-induced tumours” at the University of Leiden in The Netherlands. He held post-doctoral positions at Leiden University and the Leiden University Medical Center from 1996 to 1998, where he specialized on antigen-presentation and T cell-activation. In 1998 he became a fellow of the Dutch Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences and was a visiting scientist at the department of Cell Biology of the University in Tübingen, Germany. Since 2001 he is head of the laboratory for experimental rheumatology at the LUMC. His inaugural lecture was in 2011 with the title “Experimental rheumatology in the spotlight”. 

Prizes and honourable appointments

1997 CJ Kok Prize for Innovative basic research, Medical faculty University of Leiden

1998 Fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences: ““Mechanisms of exogenous antigen-processing for induction of MHC class I-restricted T cell responses”

2003 VIDI-Laureate Dutch Organization for Scientific Research: “T cell-mediated immune regulation in rheumatoid arthritis”

2008 VICI-Laureate Dutch Organization for Scientific Research: “Rheumatoid Arthritis and the Human Leukocyte Antigens: How do they connect?

Professor Experimental Rheumatology

  • Faculteit Geneeskunde
  • Divisie 2
  • Reumatologie

Work address

LUMC Main Building
Albinusdreef 2
2333 ZA Leiden
Room number C1-R



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