Astrid Hogenkamp is assistant professor of immunopharmacology (Fac. Science, Utrecht University, 2013-present). After obtaining her PhD on collectins in the innate immune defense (Fac Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, 2007), she started working as a postdoc in the field of immune functioning and programming (dept Pharmaceutical Sciences, Utrecht University). Her work is aimed at elucidating immune-modulatory and immune-programming mechanisms induced by nutrition. For this, she has collaborated with both international academic partners as well as industrial partners. Hogenkamp was one of the first to publish on long term effects of maternal dietary interventions.
She has co-authored several patent applications following her findings on the long-term effects of maternal dietary intervention
Our research is aimed at elucidating the mechanisms by which maternal exposure to beneficial nutrition or detrimental compounds can affect the development of the immune system of the offspring. As the prevalence of non-communicable disease cannot be attributed to genetic drift, external factors must have a significant impact and we believe that the early stages of development play a key role in determining future health. To this end, we study differential effects of external exposures on the course of pregnancy and the impact these exposures have on the functioning of the placenta, taking in regard the cellular composition, immune mediators and the microbiome in this very important organ. The effects on the fetus are studied in order to investigate the potential early life effects of maternal exposures. After birth, breastmilk is a major determinant in the further development of the neonate. Maternal exposure to beneficial diets or detrimental compounds can affect the quality of the milk. In our studies, we investigate this early window of opportunity with regard to immune programming effects of maternal dietary interventions. The outcome of such immune programming effects is studied in various experimental animal models, such as food allergy to hen’s egg which was validated in our laboratory. Using these experimental models, it is possible to investigate effector responses in adult offspring by assessing clinical symptoms, but also to study of a wide range of immune cells, and the effector molecules they produce. These experimental models provide us with the opportunity to study the long-term effect of early life exposures. In addition to these studies which are largely aimed at immune disorders, we have recently set up a project in which we are investigating the effects of maternal immune activation on cognitive and behavioral development. In this setting, we combine the strengths within our division by joining our expertise on neuro-immunopharmacology, assessing the long-term effects of detrimental exposures in utero on brain development.
More information can be found on her staff page