Research line



Main researcher(s)

Mirjam Weissenbruch
Mirjam Weissenbruch
Tessa de Baat
Tessa de Baat

Prof. Mirjam van Weissenbruch holds the Desmond Tutu chair (Aim of the chair: ”Bridging Diversities for Academic Advancement” coordinated by SAVUSA (South Africa - VU University - Strategic Alliances). One of the most important targets of this program is the stimulation of exchange and guiding of undergraduate and PhD students. The chair has also created the opportunity to further develop the neonatal research agenda by adding South Africa as a second collaborating site aside from Indonesia. South African (SA) collaboration: In SA neonatal morbidity and mortality is high, with infectious diseases related sepsis as one of the main causes. However, there is not much data available about the epidemiology, aetiology, diagnosis and management of neonatal-sepsis in Sub-Sahara Africa. There is an urgent need to study the outstanding questions related to the right diagnostic approach and optimal treatment of neonatal sepsis in Sub-Saharan Africa. Together with neonatologist Lizel lloyd and Angela Dramowski of the Tygerberg Hospital, we are in the process of developing a bedside scoring system together with a cheap point-of-care (POC) test for pro-calcitonine and CRP in order to predict and/or identify neonatal sepsis at an early stage. This may ultimately lead to an improvement in better short- and long-term outcome. Neonatal sepsis is also the focus of Tessa de Baat’s research in collaboration with the Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust. Recognition of true neonatal sepsis amongst the large amount of neonates with presumed sepsis is of essential importance to reduce neonatal mortality and the rising problem of antimicrobial resistance in low and middle income countries.


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