Effective March 1, 2021, Chantal Bleeker-Rovers has been appointed professor of Outbreaks of Infectious Diseases at Radboud university medical center/Radboud University. Her research will focus in particular on the preparation for future outbreaks of infectious diseases that, like SARS-CoV-2, are caused by zoonoses and have a large social impact.
Chantal Bleeker has worked at Radboud university medical center since 2007 and is trained as an internist specialized in infectious diseases. She performs clinical and translational research in the field of infectious diseases that present in the form of outbreaks with a large social impact, for example because the outbreak affects regular care or because coordination with the veterinary sector is needed. She specializes in Q fever and is founder of the Q fever Expertise Center at the Radboudumc. In particular, she studies the immunological backgrounds and long-term effects of this disease. As a professor, she focuses her research on zoonoses, which, as in the case of Q fever and COVID-19, often present themselves as outbreaks.
Major role in crisis organization during outbreak of SARS-CoV-2
In addition, Chantal Bleeker will translate the knowledge and experience she acquired during the Dutch Q fever outbreak (2007-2011) into new research during future outbreaks of new infectious diseases. It is expected that we will have to deal with this more often. That is why her chair focuses on outbreak preparedness and outbreak management: both being prepared for an outbreak and dealing with it properly. Within the Radboud university medical center she has fulfilled a leading role in organizational matters during the outbreak of the corona crisis. She is the first woman to be one of the (rotating) chairpersons of the Crisis Policy Team and is shared chairperson of the Action Team (corona) Care and Action Team Vaccination. She frequently appears in the media as COVID-19 expert.
The role of imaging in infectious diseases
Chantal Bleeker (Veghel, 1971) studied medicine at Radboud University in Nijmegen. She obtained her PhD in 2007 with a thesis on the role of imaging, such as PET scans, in infectious diseases (title of thesis: ‘Positron emission tomography with fluorodeoxyglucose in fever of unknown origin and infectious and non-infectious inflammatory diseases’). Thanks to her research, the PET scan is now in use worldwide in the diagnosis of long-term, chronic Q fever. In 2015 and 2019, she was awarded the designation Principal Clinician for her work in the field of outbreak management. For her studies, she received ZonMw and Horizon2020 grants, among others.