Douwe Bakker

Douwe Bakker, a molecular microbiologist, has been active in a broad array of aspects the diagnosis of mycobacterial infections in the Laboratory for Mycobacterial Infections of the Central Veterinary Institute of Wageningen University in Lelystad.

The CVI is the independent national reference and veterinary research institute for M. bovis and M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis , Map,  in The Netherlands, acting for governmental authorities (including EU, WHO, FAO etc.)  and livestock boards.

The laboratory has played an active role in the eradication of bovine tuberculosis in livestock in the Netherlands and is still active in maintaining this free status. In past decades, research in the field of mycobacterial infections at the CVI has been in support of control strategies for mycobacterial infections in livestock as well as in wildlife and exotic zoo animals.

In recent years, an increased concern about the high prevalence of paratuberculosis, its effect on the sustainability of  (dairy) farming, the possible involvement of Map in Crohn’s disease and interference with the diagnosis of bovine tuberculosis, resulted in an increased input in paratuberculosis research, while maintaining its expertise and activities in the area of bovine tuberculosis. The laboratory’s paratuberculosis research is focused on the improvement of diagnostic methods and vaccins which will aid in the control (and in the future eradication) of paratuberculosis, without interfering with the control of bovine tuberculosis. To this purpose a wide variety of different approaches, using innovative molecular and immunological techniques, are in progress. The above allows the laboratory to play a leading role in (para)mycobacterial research in Europe and abroad and resulted in organising and co-ordinating the EU project ParaTBTools with 28 partners worldwide. Internationally, the laboratory plays an important role in both Tb and paraTb research and is a partner in several EU and international research projects. In recent years DB has been asked by Reference laboratories, Government Agencies, and EU bodies (EURL for bovine TB, DEFRA, WHO, EFSA, DG-SANCO) for advise in working groups.

The expertise in PPD tuberculin and antigen production acquired over the past decades has resulted in multiple requests for advise from national and OIE reference laboratories to improve production, quality control and use of these diagnostic reagents.