Picture of Sylvia  van den Hurk

Sylvia van den Hurk BSc, MSc, PhD Professor, Biochemistry, Microbiology & Immunology

Address
A310 VIDO

Research Area(s)

  • DNA vaccines
  • Bovine herpesvirus-1 (BHV-1)
  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV)

About

Dr. Sylvia van den Hurk is the Program Manager of Viral Pathogenesis & Vaccine Development program at VIDO-InterVac. She received her MSc at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands and PhD at University of Saskatchewan.  Her research interests include molecular pathogenesis of bovine herpes virus-1 (BHV-1), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV), and the development of novel DNA, protein and dendritic cell vaccine formulations, in particular for RSV and HCV.  Dr. van den Hurk has published more than 150 peer-reviewed manuscripts, reviews and book chapters, and 8 patents with 1 pending. She has mentored more than 30 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.  At the university she is Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the College of Medicine.

Responsibilities:

  • Program Manager: Viral Pathogenesis & Vaccine Development 
  • Member of Science Management Team
  • Member: RAPID team
  • Member: Neonatal Vaccines group
  • Professor: Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine


Member: University of Saskatchewan College of Graduate Studies and Research

Education:

  • Department of Veterinary Microbiology, University of Saskatchewan: Ph.D. 
  • Departments of Plant Pathology, Genetics and Molecular Biology, University of Wageningen, the Netherlands: M.Sc. and B.Sc.

Current Projects

DNA vaccines, RSV vaccines, Hepatitis C vaccines

Research Areas

  • DNA vaccines: DNA immunization is a promising technology potentially leading to balanced long-lived immune responses. My research group was one of the first to demonstrate the efficacy of DNA vaccines in large animal species. Our focus is to further optimize this vaccination strategy by improving cellular and nuclear entry of the DNA vaccine, slow release of the DNA vaccine, and formulation with immune modulators.
  • Bovine herpesvirus-1 (BHV-1): Herpesviruses cause significant primary and recurrent infections worldwide. BHV-1 causes severe infections in cattle and provides an excellent model for studying herpesviruses in general. Our current focus is the structural and functional characterization of the proteins in the tegument, which are located between the nucleocapsid and the virus envelope. These proteins are thought to have regulatory functions and to play a role in viral assembly and immune evasion.
  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV): Human RSV (HRSV) is the leading cause of bronchiolitis and viral pneumonia in infants and young children, resulting in the hospitalization of up to 2 per cent of children in their first year of life. There are no effective vaccines for HRSV. Bovine RSV (BRSV) is a major respiratory pathogen in calves. Since both viruses are closely related, we are using BRSV as a model to study the virus-host interactions. Furthermore, we developed novel vaccine formulations, which we are now further characterizing and testing for eventual application in human infants.
  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV): HCV is the etiological agent of non-A, non-B hepatitis. An estimated 170 million people are infected with HCV. We demonstrated the potential for dendritic cell therapy against HCV in a mouse model. To further evaluate the potential of this approach, we plan to characterize the dendritic cells from chronic HCV patients in comparison to healthy individuals, and to optimize the functional properties of these dendritic cells by treatment with immunomodulatory compounds.

Recent Publications

  • Zhang K, Donovan T, Sucharita S, Brownlie R, Snider M, Tikoo S, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. US3 kinase-mediated phosphorylation of tegument protein VP8 plays a critical role in the cellular localization of VP8 and its effect on the lipid metabolism of bovine herpesvirus-1-infected cells.. Journal of Virology. 2019 May;93(6):e2151-18.
  • Sarkar I, Zardini Buzatto A, Garg R, Li L, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. Metabolomic and immunological profiling of respiratory syncytial virus infection after intranasal immunization with a subunit vaccine candidate. Journal of Proteome Research. 2019 May;18(3):1145-1161.
  • Afroz S, Brownlie R, Fodje M, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. The bovine herpesvirus major tegument protein, VP8, interacts with host HSP60 concomitant with deregulation of mitochondrial function. Virus Research. 2019 Feb;261:37-49.
  • Garg R, Brownlie R, Latimer L, Gerdts V, Potter A, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. Maternal vaccination with a novel chimeric glycoprotein formulated with a polymer-based adjuvant provides protection from human parainfluenza virus type 3 in newborn lambs. Antiviral Research. 2019 Feb;162:54-60.
  • Garg R, Brownlie R, Latimer L, Gerdts V, Potter A, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. A chimeric glycoprotein formulated with a combination adjuvant induces protective immunity against both human respiratory syncytial virus and parainfluenza virus type 3. Antiviral Research. 2018 Jul;158:78-87.
  • Afroz S, Fodje M, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. The major tegument protein of bovine herpesvirus-1, VP8, forms a complex with DNA damage response proteins and induces apoptosis. Journal of Virology. 2018 Jul;92(15).
  • Sarkar I, Garg R, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. The respiratory syncytial virus fusion protein formulated with a polymer-based adjuvant induces multiple signaling pathways in macrophages. Vaccine. 2018 Apr;36(17):2326-2336.
  • Garg R, Brownlie R, Latimer L, Gerdts V, Potter A. Vaccination with a human parainfluenza virus type 3 chimeric FHN glycoprotein formulated with a combination adjuvant induces protective immunity. Vaccine. 2017 Dec;35(51):7139-7146.
  • Landi A, Aligodarzi MT, Khodadadi A, Babiuk LA, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. Refining a standard and weighted mathematical index for maturation of dendritic cells. Immunology. 2018 Apr;153:532-544.
  • Garg R, Latimer L, Gerdts V, Potter A, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. Intranasal immunization with a single dose of the fusion protein formulated with a combination adjuvant induces long-term protective immunity against respiratory syncytial virus. Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics. Epub 2017 Aug. doi: 10.1080/21645515.2017.1349584.
  • Zhang K, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. Viral tegument and immediate early proteins are the pioneers of herpesviruses in the battle between viral Infection and nuclear domain 10-related host defense. Virus Research. 2017 Jun;238:40-48.
  • Garg R, Babiuk L, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S, Gerdts V. A novel combination adjuvant platform for human and animal vaccines. Vaccine. 2017 Aug;35:4486-4489.
  • Zhao J, Poelaert KCK, Steukers L, Favoreel H, Li Y, Chowdhury S, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S, Caij B, Nauwinck H. Us3 and Us9 proteins contribute to the stromal invasion of bovine herpesvirus 1 in the respiratory mucosa. J. Gen. Virol. Epub 2017 May 1. doi:10.1099/jgv.0.000764.
  • Sadat S, Snider M, Garg R, Brownlie R, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. Local innate responses and protective immunity after intradermal immunization with bovine viral diarrhea virus E2 protein formulated with a combination adjuvant in cattle. Vaccine. 2017 Jun;35:3466-3474.
  • Martinez E, Garg R, Shrivastava P, Gomis S, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. Intranasal treatment with a novel immunomodulator mediates innate immune protection against lethal pneumonia virus of mice. Antiviral Research. 2016 Nov;135:108-119.
  • Garg R, Theaker M, Martinez E, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. A single intranasal immunization with a subunit vaccine formulation induces higher mucosal IgA production than live respiratory syncytial virus. Virology. 2016 Oct;499:288-297.
  • Van Wyk B, Snider M, Scruten E, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S, Napper S. Induction of functional interferon alpha and gamma responses during acute infection of cattle with non-cytopathic bovine viral diarrhea virus. Vet. Microbiol. 2016 Nov;195:104-114.
  • Sarkar I, Garg R, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. Formulation of the respiratory syncytial virus fusion protein with a combination adjuvant promotes transient and local innate immune responses and leads to improved adaptive immunity. Vaccine. 2016 Aug;34:5114-5124.
  • Shrivastava P, Sarkar I, Atanley E, Gomis S, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. IL-12p40 gene-deficient BALB/c mice exhibit lower weight loss, reduced lung pathology and decreased sensitization to allergen in response to infection with pneumonia virus of mice. Virology. 2016 Jul;497:1-10.
  • Gerdts V, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S, Potter A. Protection of neonates and infants by maternal immunization Maternal Immunization. Expert Review in Vaccines. 2016 May 25;15(11):1347-1349.
  • Afroz S, Brownlie R, Fodje M, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. VP8, the major tegument protein of bovine herpesvirus-1, interacts with cellular STAT1 and inhibits interferon- signaling. Journal of Virology. 2016 Apr 29;90(10):4889-4904.
  • Zhang K, Brownlie R, Snider M, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. Phosphorylation of Bovine Herpesvirus-1 VP8 plays a Role in Viral DNA Encapsidation and is Essential for its Cytoplasmic Localization and optimal Virion Incorporation. Journal of Virology. 2016 Apr 14;90(9):4427-4440.
  • Garg R, Latimer L, Wang Y, Simko E, Gerdts V, Potter A, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. Maternal immunization with respiratory syncytial virus fusion protein formulated with a novel combination adjuvant provides protection from RSV in newborn lambs. Vaccine. 2016 Jan 4;34(2):261-269.
  • Shrivastava P, Watkiss E, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. Re-infection with pneumovirus in aged mice induces a differential immune response in animals with different genetic backgrounds. Immunobiology. 2016 Mar;221(3):494-502.
  • Shrivastava P, Atanley E, Sarkar I, Watkiss E, Gomis S, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. Blunted inflammatory and mucosal IgA responses to pneumonia virus of mice in C57BL/6 neonates are correlated to reduced protective immunity upon re-infection as elderly mice. Virology. 2015 Nov;485:233-243.
  • McCorkell L, Horsman SR, Wynne-Edwards J, Muench G, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk, S, Waeckerlin R, Eschbaumer M, Dardari R, Chaiyakul M, Gajda P, Czub M, van der Meer F. Acute BVDV-2 infection in beef calves delays humoral responses to a non-infectious antigen challenge. Can. Vet. Journal. 2015 Oct;56(10):1075-1083.
  • Zhang K, Afroz S, Brownlie R, Snider M, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. Regulation and Function of Phosphorylation on VP8, the Major Tegument Protein of Bovine Herrpesvirus-1. J. Virol. 2015 Apr 15;89(8):4598-4611.
  • Garg R, Gerdts V, Potter A, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. The respiratory syncytial virus fusion protein formulated with a novel combination adjuvant induces balanced immune responses in lambs with maternal antibodies. Vaccine. 2015 Mar 10;33(11):1338-1344.
  • Schulz S, Landi A, Garg R, Wilson J, van Drunen Littel- van den Hurk S. Indolamine 2,3-dioxygenase expression by monocytes and dendritic cell populations in hepatitis C patients. Clin. Exp. Immunol. 2015 Jun;180(3):484-498.
  • Islam A, Schulz S, Afroz S, Babiuk L, van Drunen Littel- van den Hurk S. Interaction of VP8 with mRNAs of bovine herpesvirus-1. Virus Research. 2015 Feb 2;197:116-126.
  • Mackenzie-Dyck S, Atanley E, Kovacs-Nolan J, Attah- Poku S, Babiuk L, van Drunen LIttel-van den Hurk S. Immunogenicity of a bovine herpesvirus-1 glycoprotein D DNA vaccine complexed with bovine neutrophil beta-defensin 3.. Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2015 Jan;22(1):79-90.