Prof. Dr. Peter Katsikis Erasmus MC Immunology Department

Peter D. Katsikis MD, PhD

Professor and Head of the Department of Immunology
Infection and Immunity Research Group​ (IIG)
+31-107044188 (Administrative Assistant)
Erasmus MC, University Medical Center
Dr. Molewaterplein 40, 3015 GD Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Yvonne M. Müller, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Immunology
Infection and Immunity Research Group (IIG)

Infection and Immunity Research Group (IIG)

Our research group investigates immunity to pathogens and tumors. A major focus are cytotoxic CD8+ T lymphocytes (CTL), cells which can kill other cells and play an important role in controlling viral infections and cancer. An important goal of this research program is to elucidate the signaling and molecular requirements for the generation of successful effector and memory CTL and to understand why these cells fail in certain chronic infections and cancer.

To understand the molecular pathways that control of CTL responses, we study the signaling requirements and gene regulation networks that enable successful CTL responses. Through manipulation of gene expression and signal regulation pathways via genetically modified and conditional knock out animals, we aim to identify those mechanisms that contribute to successful clearance of viral infections. Current studies in our laboratory utilizing animal models that employ influenza virus and Listeria monocytogenes infections and mouse tumor models to characterizing the role of post-transcriptional gene expression regulation in CTL immunity. A rapid in vitro CTL exhaustion method has been developed to facilitate the testing of exhaustion reversal strategies.
Peter Katsikis Immunology Erasmus MC
Peter Katsikis Immunology Erasmus MC
Another central aim of our research is to understand why CTL fail in HIV infection and how to eliminate the latent HIV reservoir. Studies in our laboratory focus on understanding how CTL immunity develops and is regulated during acute HIV infection and what molecular and signaling pathways are affected in HIV-specific CTL during the chronic phase of HIV infection. The ultimate goal of this research is to discover novel means of restoring maximal functionality within these antiviral cells. To identify CTL enhancing targets, we are using retroviral vectors to screen for post-transcriptional gene expression regulators that can enhance CTL immunity in vitro and in vivo. These studies are being carried out in anti-viral CTL from both mice and HIV-infected patients. Strategies to reactivate HIV from latently infected cells and kill these cells via innate or adaptive immune responses are being explored together within a larger consortium of Cure researchers at Erasmus MC (EHEG) and beyond.
A third area of research is developing potent peptide-based vaccines for cancer. The goal of these studies are to develop personalized vaccines that efficiently target the neoantigens present in each patient’s tumors by combining novel neopeptide prediction algorithms and adjuvants with nanoparticles. These studies involve a large international and national collaboration of experts.
Peter Katsikis

Group members

Peter Katsikis Immunology Research Group Erasmus MC
  • Peter Katsikis
  • Yvonne Mueller
  • Manzhi Zhao, PhD student
  • Caoimhe Kiernan, Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Melisa Castro Eiro, Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Inge Brouwers-Haspels, Research Assistant
  • Marjan van Meurs, Research Assistant
  • Ling Li, PhD student
  • Merel Wilmsen, Research Assistant
  • Tamara van Wees, Research Assistant
  • Tessa Alofs, Research Assistant
  • Danique Laport, Research Assistant
  • Harm de Wit, Research Assistant

Selected Publications

(See all publications for Peter Katsikis in Pubmed)

Mueller YM, Schrama TJ, Ruijten R, Schreurs MWJ, Grashof DGB, van de Werken HJG, Lasinio GJ, Alvarez de la Sierra D, Kiernan CH, Castro Eiro MD, van Meurs M, Brouwers-Haspels I, Zhao M, Li L, de Wit H, Ouzounis CA, Wilmsen MEP, Alofs TM, Laport DA, van Wees T, Kraker G, Jaimes MC, Van Bockstael S, Hernández-González M, Rokx C, Rijnders BJA, Pujol-Borrell R, Katsikis PD: Stratification of hospitalised COVID-19 patients into clinical severity progression groups by immuno-phenotyping and machine learning.
Nat Commun. (in press), 2022

Hope JL, Zhao M, Stairiker CJ, Kiernan CH, Carey AJ, Mueller YM, van Meurs M, Brouwers-Haspels I, Otero DC, Bae EA, Faso HA, Maas A, de Looper H, Fortina PM, Rigoutsos I, Bradley LM, Erkeland SJ, Katsikis PD: “MicroRNA-139 Expression is Dispensable for the Generation of Influenza-Specific CD8+ T cell Responses”.
J Immunol. volume 208, 2022

Stavast CJ, van Zuijen I, Karkoulia E, Özçelik A, van Hoven-Beijen A, Leon LG, Voerman JSA, Janssen GMC, van Veelen PA, Burocziova M, Brouwer RWW, van IJcken WFJ, Maas A, Bindels EM, van der Velden VHJ, Schliehe C, Katsikis PD, Alberich-Jorda M, Erkeland SJ: The tumor suppressor MIR139 is silenced by POLR2M to promote AML oncogenesis.
Leukemia (in press), 2021

Rao S, Lungu C, Steijaert T, Crespo R, Palstra RJ, Rokx C, Mueller YM, van Kampen J, Verbon A, Katsikis PD, Boucher C, Gruters R, Mahmoudi T: Induction of selective cell death in HIV-1 infected cells by DDX3 inhibitors leads to depletion of the inducible reservoir.
Nat Commun. 12:2475, 2021

van der Sijde F, Mustafa DAM, Vietsch EE, Katsikis PD, van Eijck CHJ: Circulating Immunological Biomarkers: Prognosis of Pancreatic Cancer Patients Reflected by the Immune System.
Pancreas. 50:933-941, 2021

Gharbharan A, Jordans C, GeurtsvanKessel C, den Hollander J, Karim F, Mollema F, Stalenhoef-Schukken J, Dofferhof A, Ludwig I, Koster A, Hassing RJ, Bos J, van Pottelberge G, Vlasveld I, Ammerlaan H, van Leeuwen – Segarceanu E, Miedema J, van der Eerden M, Schrama T, Papageorgiou G, te Boekhorst P, Swaneveld F, Mueller Y, Scheurs M, van Kampen JJA, Rockx B, Okba N, Katsikis PD, Koopmans M, Haagmans B, Rokx C, Rijnders B: Effects of Potent Neutralizing Antibodies from Convalescent Plasma in Patients Hospitalized for Severe SARS-CoV-2 Infection.
Nat Commun. 12:3189, 2021

Hope JL, Spantidea PI, Stairiker CJ, Rijsbergen LC, van Meurs M, Brouwers-Haspels I, Mueller YM, Nelson DJ, Aerts JGJV, Katsikis PD: Microenvironment-dependent gradient of CTL exhaustion in the AE17sOVA murine mesothelioma tumor model.
Front. Immunol. 10:3074, 2020

Zhao M, Kiernan CH, Stairiker CJ, Leon LG, Meurs M, Brouwers-Haspels I, Boers R, Boers J, Gribnau J, IJcken WFJ, Bindels EM, Hoogenboezem RM, Erkeland SJ, Mueller YM, Katsikis PD: Rapid in vitro generation of bona fide exhausted CD8+ T cells is accompanied by Tcf7 promotor methylation.
PLoS Pathog. 16(6): e1008555, 2020

Dammeijer F, Van Gulijk M, Mulder EE, Lukkes M, Klaase L, van den Bosch T, van Nimwegen M, Lau SP, Latupeirissa K, Schetters S, van Kooyk Y, Boon L, Moyaart A, Mueller YM, Katsikis PD, Eggermont AM, Vroman H, Stadhouders R, Hendriks RW, Thüsen JV, Grünhagen DJ, Verhoef C, van Hall T, Aerts JG.: Selective PD-L1 blockade in the tumor-draining lymph node induces effective anti-tumor T-cell immunity.
Cancer Cell. 38(5):685-700, 2020

Stoszko M, Al-Hatmi AMS, Skriba A, Roling M, Ne E, Crespo R, Mueller YM, Najafzadeh MJ, Kang J, Ptackova R, Biswas P, Bertoldi A, Kan TW, de Crignis E, Sulc M, Lebbink JHG, Rokx C, Verbon A, van Ijcken W, Katsikis PD, Palstra RJ, Havlicek V, de Hoog S, Mahmoudi T: Gliotoxin, identified from a screen of fungal metabolites, disrupts 7SK snRNP, releases P-TEFb and reverses HIV-1 latency.
Sci Adv. 6(33): eaba6617, 2020

Stairiker CJ, van Meurs M, Leon LG, Brouwers-Haspels I, Rijsbergen LC, Mueller YM, Katsikis PD*: Heatr9 is an infection responsive gene that affects cytokine production in alveolar epithelial cells.
PLoS One 15(7): e0236195, 2020

Kumova OK, Fike A, Thayer JL, Nguyen LT, Chang Mell J, Pascasio J, Stairiker CJ, Leon LG, Katsikis PD, Carey AJ: Lung transcriptional unresponsiveness and loss of early viral control in influenza virus infected neonates is prevented by intranasal Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG.
PLoS Pathog. 15: e1008072, 2019

Hancock A, Stairiker CJ, Boesteanu AC, Monzón-Casanova E, Lukasiak S, Mueller YM, Stubbs A, Garcia-Sastre A, Turner M, Katsikis PD: Transcriptome analysis of infected and bystander type 2 alveolar epithelial cells during influenza A virus infection reveals in vivo Wnt pathway downregulation.
J. Virol. 92. pii: e01325-18, 2018

Palstra RJ, De Crignis E, Roling M, van Steveren T, Kan TW, van Ijcken W, Mueller YM, Katsikis PD, Mahmoudi T: Allele-specific long distance regulation of IL-32 confers susceptibility to HIV-1 infection.
Science Advances 4: e1701729, 2018

Stelekati E, Chen Z, Manne S, Kurachi M, Ali M, Lewy K, Cai Z, Hope JL, Fike A, Katsikis PD, Wherry EJ: Long-term persistence of exhausted CD8 T cells in chronic infection regulated by microRNA-155.
Cell Rep. 23:2142-2156, 2018

Gracias DT, Boesteanu AC, Fraietta JA, Hope JL, Carey AJ, Mueller YM, Kawalekar OU, Fike A, June CH, Katsikis PD*: Phosphoinositide 3-Kinases p110δ isoform regulates CD8+ T cell responses during acute viral and intracellular bacterial infections.
J. Immunol. 196:1186-98, 2016

Carey AJ, Gracias DT, Thayer JL, Boesteanu AC, Kumova OK, Mueller YM, Hope JL, Fraietta JA, van Zessen DBH, Katsikis PD*: Impaired CD8+ T cell responses to Influenza infection in neonatal mice are due to the immature TCR repertoire.
J. Immunol. 196:2602-13, 2016

Acute exposure to ZnO nanoparticles induces autophagic immune cell death.
Johnson BM, Fraietta JA, Gracias DT, Hope JL, Stairiker CJ, Patel PR, Mueller YM, McHugh MD, Jablonowski LJ, Wheatley MA, Katsikis PD.
Nanotoxicology. Nov 7:1-12, 2014

Bystander Chronic Infection Negatively Impacts Development of CD8 T Cell Memory.
Stelekati E, Shin H, Doering TA, Dolfi DV, Zeigler CG, Beiting D, Liboon J, Wolski D, Katsikis PD, Shen H, Roos DS, W. Haining WN, Lauer G, Wherry EJ.
Immunity 40:801-13, 2014

Type I interferon upregulates Bak and contributes to T cell loss during human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
Fraietta JA, Mueller YM, Yang G, Boesteanu AC, Gracias DT, Do DH, Hope JL, Kathuria N, McGettigan SE, Lewis MG, Giavedoni LD, Jacobson JM, Katsikis PD.
PLoS Pathog. 9:e1003658, 2013

The microRNA miR-155 controls CD8(+) T cell responses by regulating interferon signaling.
Gracias DT, Stelekati E, Hope JL, Boesteanu AC, Doering TA, Norton J, Mueller YM, Fraietta JA, Wherry EJ, Turner M, Katsikis PD.
Nat Immunol. 14:593-602, 2013.

Katsikis PD, Mueller YM, Villinger F.
The cytokine network of acute HIV infection: a promising target for vaccines and therapy to reduce viral set-point?
PLOS Pathogens 7: e1002055, 2011

IL-15 treatment during acute simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection increases viral set point and accelerates disease progression despite the induction of stronger SIV-specific CD8+ T cell responses.
Mueller YM, Do DH, Altork SR, Artlett CM, Gracely EJ, Katsetos CD, Legido A, Villinger F, Altman JD, Brown CR, Lewis MG, Katsikis PD.
J Immunol. 180:350-60, 2008

Memory CD8+ T cells require CD28 costimulation.
Borowski AB, Boesteanu AC, Mueller YM, Carafides C, Altman JD, Jennings SR, Katsikis PD.
J. Immunol. 179:6494-6503, 2007

Interleukin-15 increases effector memory CD8+ T cells and NK Cells in simian immunodeficiency virus-infected macaques.
Mueller YM, Petrovas C, Bojczuk PM, Dimitriou ID, Beer B, Silvera P, Villinger F, Cairns JS, Gracely EJ, Lewis MG, Katsikis PD.
J Virol. 79:4877-85, 2005

IL-15 enhances survival and function of HIV-specific CD8+ T cells.
Mueller YM, Bojczuk PM, Halstead ES, Kim AH, Witek J, Altman JD, Katsikis PD.
Blood. 101:1024-9, 2003

In vivo stimulation of CD137 broadens primary antiviral CD8+ T cell responses.
Halstead ES, Mueller YM, Altman JD, Katsikis PD.
Nat Immunol. 3:536-41, 2002

Increased CD95/Fas-induced apoptosis of HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells.
Mueller YM, De Rosa SC, Hutton JA, Witek J, Roederer M, Altman JD, Katsikis PD.
Immunity. 15:871-82, 2001