Anne-Mieke Vandamme was trained as biochemist, and holds a PhD in Sciences since 1986. She joined the Rega Institute at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 1990, where she started a unit on virus genetic testing for clinical practice. Together with Professor Van Ranst, she founded a new division, Clinical and Epidemiological Virology.Since 2010 she is Invited full professor at the ‘Universidade Nova de Lisboa’, performing Bioinformatics research at the ‘Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical (IHMT)’.
At IHMT, Anne-Mieke Vandamme and her team perform research in the field of molecular epidemiology and drug resistance of HIV, and on bioinformatics (data mining, phylogenetic analysis) technology. In the fields of HIV molecular epidemiology and drug resistance, she has an extensive and widely recognized expertise. She supported the development of a few widely used (bioinformatics) tools, the Rega HIV Drug Resistance algorithm, the Rega HIV typing and subtyping tool, and RegaDB, a free and open source software for collecting and sharing HIV epidemiological, clinical and virological data. She authored more than 350 publications in international journals such as Lancet, Nature Medicine, Lancet Infectious Diseases, PNAS, Journal of Virology, Trends in Microbiology, half of them with first and/or last author from the lab. More than 550 abstracts were presented at International Meetings. Her h-index on 6 Oct 2015 was 56.
In addition to her research activities, Anne-Mieke Vandamme is organizer of the yearly International Bioinformatics Workshop on Virus Evolution and Molecular Epidemiology (VEME, 20th in 2015), is co-initiator and co-organizer of the European Meeting on HIV & Hepatitis: Treatment Strategies and Antiviral Drug Resistance (13th in 2015), is coordinating the European HIV Drug Resistance Guidelines initiatives and is teaching phylogenetics worldwide. She is editor of the widely used handbook “The Phylogenetic Handbook”, Cambridge University Press (2nd edition).
Investigating transmission of HIV-1 drug resistance is essential to map current and predict potential future problems in the treatment of HIV-1 patients. If a patient develops resistance to an antiviral regimen and consequently needs to switch treatment, this represents not only a loss of therapeutic options for the patient but also an additional economical cost. Patients thus burn their regimens faster, have a reduced quality of life because of faster disease progression, more toxic side effects of drugs for salvage treatment, and a shorter life expectancy with a larger loss in productivity for the society. The detection of primary drug resistance in newly diagnosed patients, and the understanding and prevention of the occurrence of transmitted drug resistance is therefore not only a public health but also an economical problem.
Studies have shown that in absence of drug selective pressure, major drug resistance mutations tend to disappear in the circulating virus because of their fitness cost for the virus, but remain archived in the body. Transmitted drug resistance can therefore be present as a minority variant, not detectable by population sequencing. Such variants can then contribute to first line failure even when this therapy was optimized using resistance testing. Therefore we intend to develop the knowledge and framework that could be used to estimate markers of hidden transmitted drug resistance mutations, inform guidelines how to deal with this, and apply them in routine clinical practice. In that way, the 1st line therapy could be further optimized to avoid the selection of drug resistance mutations present in those minority populations.
Previous studies investigated the amount of transmitted drug resistance and tried to predict its future trends, but why and how transmission of drug resistance occurs, whether and how it is causing new ‘resistant’ epidemics, and how such variables contribute to treatment failure of the first line regimen needs more research. Not only epidemiological aspects of the infection should be considered, but also the biological and evolutionary dynamics of the virus, and the spatio-temporal and sociodemographic characteristics of transmitted drug resistance. This would allow predicting which mutations are more likely to be transmitted, under which genomic background such transmission should be expected, and where and how such transmissions take place.
In our research, we would like to understand, model and predict patterns of transmission of drug resistance, by combining deep sequencing, molecular epidemiology, mathematical modeling, longitudinal logistic regression and spatio-temporal modeling.
- Salemi M., Strimmer K., Hall W.W., Duffy M., Delaporte E., Mboup S., Peeters M. & Vandamme A.-M. Dating the common ancestor of SIVcpz and HIV-1 group M and the origin of HIV-1 subtypes using a new method to uncover clock-like molecular evolution. FASEB Journal online 10.1096/fj.00-0449fje, 2000. FASEB Journal print 15: 276-278, 2001. (2001 IF=8.817, citations up to 06/10/2016=91)
- Lemey P., Pybus O.G., Wang B., Saksena N.K., Salemi M. & Vandamme A.-M. Tracing the origin and history of the HIV-2 epidemic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 100, 6588-6592, 2003. (2003 IF= 10.272, citations up to 06/10/2016=181)
- de Oliveira T, Deforche K, Cassol S, Salminen M, Paraskevis D, Seebregts C, Snoeck J, van Rensburg EJ, Wensing AM, van de Vijver DA, Boucher CA, Camacho R, Vandamme AM. An automated genotyping system for analysis of HIV-1 and other microbial sequences. Bioinformatics. 2005 Oct 1;21(19):3797-800. (2005 IF=6.019, citations up to 06/10/2016=270)
- Vandamme AM, Camacho RJ, Ceccherini Silberstein F, De Luca A, Palmisano L, Paraskevis D, Paredes R, Poljak M, Schmit J-C, Soriano V, Walter H, Sönnerborg A and the European HIV Drug Resistance Guidelines Panel. European recommendations for the clinical use of HIV drug resistance testing: 2011 update AIDS Reviews 2011;13:77-108. (IF 2011 = 3.512, citations up to 06/10/2016=60)
- Abecasis AB, Wensing AM, Paraskevis D, Vercauteren J, Theys K, Van de Vijver DA, Albert J, Asjö B, Balotta C, Beshkov D, Camacho RJ, Clotet B, De Gascun C, Griskevicius A, Grossman Z, Hamouda O, Horban A, Kolupajeva T, Korn K, Kostrikis LG, Kücherer C, Liitsola K, Linka M, Nielsen C, Otelea D, Paredes R, Poljak M, Puchhammer-Stöckl E, Schmit JC, Sönnerborg A, Stanekova D, Stanojevic M, Struck D, Boucher CA, Vandamme AM. HIV-1 subtype distribution and its demographic determinants in newly diagnosed patients in Europe suggest highly compartmentalized epidemics. Retrovirology. 2013 Jan 14;10(1):7. (IF 2013 = 4.767, citations up to 06/10/2016=26)