Lab head


Mihai Netea was born and studied medicine in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He completed his PhD at the Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, on studies investigating the cytokine network in sepsis. After working as a post-doc at the University of Colorado, he returned to Nijmegen where he finished his clinical training as an infectious diseases specialist, and where he currently heads the division of Experimental Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Nijmegen University Nijmegen Medical Center. Since February 2017 he is also heading a new working group - Immunology and Metabolism - at the LIMES Institute of the University of Bonn. His main research interests are pattern recognition of fungal pathogens and the induction of antifungal immunity, primary immunodeficiencies in innate immune system, and the study of the memory traits of innate immunity.


National & International Personal Prizes & Awards

1999 Merck Irving S. Sigal Memorial Award of the American Academy of Microbiology

2002 International Sepsis Forum Young Investigator Award

2002 Dutch Society for Medical Microbiology Aventis Award

2003 Postdoctoral Investigator Award, International Cytokine Society

2003 SmithKline Beecham ICAAC Award

2005 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Young Investigator Award

2005 ICAAC Programme Committee Award in "Immunology of Infection"

2006 WRO Goslinsgsprijs of the Infectious Diseases Society of the Netherlands

2011 Radboud Science Award

2013 European Society for Clinical Investigation Award for"Translational Research"

2015 Elected member Academia Europaea

2016 Elected member KNAW

2016 NWO Spinoza Prize

Interview with Prof. Dr. Mihai Netea, 28.02.2017

I am an internist and infectious diseases specialist. I was born and did my medical studies in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. After finishing the medical studies in 1993, I moved to Radboud University Nijmegen for the PhD and clinical specialization with the group of Prof. Dr. Jos van der Meer. After another year as a post-doc at the University of Colorado, Denver, in the lab of Prof. Charles Dinarello, I moved back to Nijmegen, where I work as a Professor of Experimental Medicine since 2008.

My key interest is to understand the regulation of innate immune responses during severe infections, such as disseminated fungal infections or sepsis. In addition, our group works on the adaptation of innate immunity after infection or vaccination: this is a de facto innate immune memory that we recently termed trained immunity. The reason for this interest is my firm belief that innate immune mechanisms are some of the most important components of host defense, and at the same time some of the least approached from a therapeutic point of view. 

Most of my exposure is with science environments in the Netherlands and United States. Of course the major ways of approaching research are very similar. However, there is a much more collaborative sphere in the Netherlands compared with United States, where people and labs are much more competitive with each other. Romania is at this moment at the very beginning of building a research culture, but this has started to change fast in the last couple of years.

I have had a very fruitful collaboration with researchers at LIMES for several years already. It was very stimulating to perform these collaborative projects together, and we have observed how nice our expertise is complementary. It was thus an organic process in which we thought to improve this collaboration even further by joining the LIMES.

Be enthusiastic about what you are doing and work together with others. Never be afraid to collaborate: the vast majority of colleagues are nice, they want to help and will teach you a lot. And in the end it is much more fun to work together with many people.

It is in fact pretty easy, because Nijmegen and Bonn are in fact close. I already arranged dates when I will be in Bonn to discuss with the colleagues, to organize the lab and supervise the work.

I love to hike in the mountains and I love to read science-fiction. I actually even wrote a science fiction novel myself: North-West Passage to the Moon.