Dr Lieke van den Elsen is a translational researcher with expertise in the role of early life nutrition in immune development and disease prevention. She completed her PhD project in the laboratory of Prof Johan Garssen at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. This translational project focussed on the impact of fish oil on the prevention of food allergy in infants and animal models.
In 2013, she started at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research in New Zealand to study the role of the gut microbiota and the beneficial effects of dietary components such as pre- and probiotics in early life for optimal immune development.
Since 2018 Lieke works in the team of Prof Valerie Verhasselt at the University of Western Australia in Perth to investigate the impact of early breastfeeding practice on healthy growth and immune homeostasis in early life. She is also associated as a Research Fellow with the Africa Research & Engagement Centre with her work on malaria antigens in human milk.
Her research has resulted in 20 peer-reviewed publications of which 14 as a first author, including publications in leading journals such as JAMA Pediatrics and JACI. Lieke is also a Special Issue Editor for the ‘Early-Life Nutrition and Metabolic Disorders in Later Life’ issue in Nutrients.