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 Prof. Dr. Ger Rijkers (Head of Department)


Ger Rijkers (1952) is Professor in the Biomedical and Life Sciences and Head of the Science Department of University College Roosevelt in Middelburg, The Netherlands. At UCR, he is coordinator of the Life Sciences track as well as the Biomedical track and the Pre-Medical program. Rijkers coordinates the research program “Maintaining Health”, which includes research on early detection of dementia (Gerda Andringa and Nathalie van de Zande) as well as research initiatives on biobased economy. In 2014 and 2015 he was Director of Research a.i. He is also a part of the i-4-1-Health project:

He also works as a senior scientist at the Laboratory of Medical Microbiology and Immunology of the St. Antonius Hospital in Nieuwegein. Dr. Rijkers graduated as cell biologist from the Wageningen University in 1977 and finished his PhD thesis on The immune System of Cyprinid Fish in 1980 at the same university. Next he started working in the Laboratory of Pediatric Immunology of the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital in Utrecht (which now is part of the UMC). In 1984 he became a qualified medical immunologist. Dr. Rijkers has spent 2 sabbatical periods in the USA: in 1983 in the Lab of Don Mosier, at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia and in 1989 in Denver in the Lab of John Cambier at National Jewish. From the Children’s Hospital he went to the Department of Surgery of the UMC Utrecht to work on mucosal immunology of the gastrointestinal tract.

Ger Rijkers has a wide  research interest with emphasis on mucosal immunology, immunoregulation (in autoimmune diseases, allergic diseases and infections), interaction between gut microbiota and the immune system, and vaccination. Rijkers has published over 300 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He is Section Editor for the journal Beneficial Microbes and member of the Editorial Board of Pneumonia. In 2009 he published (as editor in chief) the textbook “Immunologie” (ISBN978 90 313 4263 1); the second edition will be published in 2016.

In the St. Antonius Hospital he (co)supervises eight PhD students who perform research on both clinical as well as fundamental aspects of the interaction between microbes and the immune system.

Ger Rijkers has a broad experience in teaching, ranging from guest-lectures at primary school children to postgraduate masterclasses on allergy, autoimmunity and vaccination. He has set up medical courses on Immunity and Infection as well as Metabolism and Endocrinology. In his spare time he is running and cycling and collects rock music from the sixties and seventies.

Ger Rijkers is married to Riky Lievendag since 1975 and they have 3 sons and 1 grandson.


Selected Publications 2015

  • Jespersen L, Tarnow I, Eskesen D, Morberg CM, Michelsen B, Bügel S, Dragsted, LO, Rijkers GT, Calder PC. Effect of Lactobacillus paracasei subsp. paracasei, L. casei 431 on immune response to influenza vaccination and upper respiratory tract infections in healthy adult volunteers: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jun;101(6):1188-96.

Selected Publications 2014
  • Rijkers GT, Damoiseaux JG, Hooijkaas H. Medical immunology: Two-way bridge connecting bench and bedside. Immunol Lett. 2014 Oct 16;162(2PB):127-133. 
  • Vorselaars AD, Verwoerd A*, van Moorsel CH, Keijsers RG, Rijkers GT, Grutters JC. Prediction of relapse after discontinuation of infliximab therapy in severe sarcoidosis. Eur Respir J. 2014 Feb;43(2):602-9.
  • Spoorenberg SM, Bos WJ, Heijligenberg R, Voorn PG, Grutters JC, Rijkers GT, van de Garde EM. Microbial aetiology, outcomes, and costs of hospitalisation for community-acquired pneumonia; an observational analysis. BMC Infect Dis. 2014 Jun 17;14:335. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-14-335.

Selected Publications 2013

  • Rijkers GT. Nutrition, immunity and human health. Br J Nutr. 2013 Jul 8:1-2.

  • Binnendijk KH*, Rijkers GT. What is a health benefit? An evaluation of EFSA opinions on health benefits with reference to probiotics. Benef Microbes. 2013 Sep 1;4(3):223-30. doi: 10.3920/BM2013.0019.

  • Beunk L*, Verwoerd A*, van Overveld FJ, Rijkers GT. Role of mast cells in mucosal diseases: current concepts and strategies for treatment. Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2013 Jan;9(1):53-63. doi: 10.1586/eci.12.82. Review.

Selected Publications 2012

  • Remmelts HH, van de Garde EM, Meijvis SC, Peelen EL, Damoiseaux JG, Grutters JC, Biesma DH, Bos WJ, Rijkers GT. Addition of vitamin D status to prognostic scores improves the prediction of outcome in community-acquired pneumonia. ClinInfect Dis. 2012 Dec;55(11):1488-94.

  • Safari D, Marradi M, Chiodo F, Th Dekker HA, Shan Y, Adamo R, Oscarson S, Rijkers GT, Lahmann M, Kamerling JP, Penadés S, Snippe H. Gold nanoparticles as carriers for a synthetic Streptococcus pneumoniae type 14 conjugate vaccine. Nanomedicine (Lond). 2012 May;7(5):651-62.

  • Robroeks CM, van Vliet D, Jöbsis Q, Braekers R, Rijkers GT, Wodzig WK, Bast A, Zimmermann LJ, Dompeling E. Prediction of asthma exacerbations in children: results of a one-year prospective study. Clin Exp Allergy. 2012 May;42(5):792-8.

Selected Publications (2011)

  • Gerritsen J, Timmerman HM, Fuentes S, van Minnen LP, Panneman H, Konstantinov SR, Rombouts FM, Gooszen HG, Akkermans LM, Smidt H, Rijkers GT. Correlation between protection against sepsis by probiotic therapy and stimulation of a novel bacterial phylotype. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2011 Nov;77(21):7749-56.
  • Meijvis SC, Hardeman H, Remmelts HH, Heijligenberg R, Rijkers GT, van Velzen-Blad H, Voorn GP, van de Garde EM, Endeman H, Grutters JC, Bos WJ, Biesma DH. Dexamethasone and length of hospital stay in patients with community-acquired pneumonia: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet. 2011 Jun 11;377(9782):2023-30.
  • van Mens SP, Meijvis SC, Endeman H, van Velzen-Blad H, Biesma DH, Grutters JC, Vlaminckx BJ, Rijkers GT. Longitudinal analysis of pneumococcal antibodies during community-acquired pneumonia reveals a much higher involvement of Streptococcus pneumoniae than estimated by conventional methods alone. Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2011 May;18(5):796-801.

Selected Publications (2010)

  • Rijkers GT, van Mens SP, van Velzen-Blad H. What do the next 100 years hold for pneumococcal vaccination? Expert Rev Vaccines. 2010 Nov;9(11):1241-4.
  • Rijkers GT, Bengmark S, Enck P, Haller D, Herz U, Kalliomaki M, Kudo S, Lenoir-Wijnkoop I, Mercenier A, Myllyluoma E, Rabot S, Rafter J, Szajewska H, Watzl B, Wells J, Wolvers D, Antoine JM. Guidance for substantiating the evidence for beneficial effects of probiotics: current status and recommendations for future research. J Nutr. 2010 Mar;140(3):671S-6S.
For a full list of publications see PubMed: g rijkers
(* UCR Student (co-)authors)

Head of Department
Cell biologist and Medical Immunologist

P.O. Box 94
NL-4330 AB Middelburg
Office hours: by appointment
Tel. 0118-655516 / fax 0118-655508