Marouba Cisse


Research areas of interest: Immunology, Parasitic infections, Transcriptomics



Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands   |  Leiden University Center for Infectious Diseases

Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar (UCAD)   | Faculty of Medicine, Pharmacy and Odontology, Department of Immunology

Education and Research background  

I have obtained a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree and completed a Master of Science (MSc) in immunology and infectious diseases. Currently, I am pursuing a PhD at Leiden Medical University Center (LUMC) with a specialization in host-parasite interactions within the Immune Hyporesponsiveness Group which is part of the Leiden University Center for Infectious Diseases. In addition to my academic pursuits at the LUMC, I have actively participated in several projects. These include:
GDIR EDCTP project: As a scientific officer, I contributed to this project at the Department of Immunology, Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD), and the Institute of Research in Health, Epidemiological Surveillance and Training (IRESSEF). This project aims to investigate immune responses in a rural to urban gradient and identify geographical footprints of the immune system to enhance vaccine development.
BEAT Project: In 2020, I made contributions to this project.
EDCTP-2 AIDCO Project: I served as a scientific officer in this project which focused on gathering crucial data on the COVID-19 profile in Africa, particularly in Senegal, during the period of 2020-2021.
Covid-19 Delta project: I participated in this project, conducting a baseline study on the Delta variant in Senegalese individuals from Dakar and Rufisque. This study categorized participants into four groups: control, vaccinated, infected unvaccinated, and infected not vaccinated against COVID-19.
Vaccines Study (IRVAC): I engaged in this study, specifically focusing on the follow-up study of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
High and Low SES Study: This is one of my PhD projects that aims to assess the impact of socioeconomic status on the immune system.

My work on immune responses to vaccines

My PhD project aims to investigate the mechanisms underlying differential responsiveness to infections and vaccines in Senegal versus the Netherlands. Specifically, my hypothesis is that socioeconomic status (SES) may influence vaccine response and infection outcomes. To assess this question, we plan to map immune signatures and identify immune markers associated with SES. We also plan on assessing the functional relevance of identified subsets and to investigate these play in infection and vaccine response.
The results of this study may help to identify the mechanisms underlying vaccine responsiveness and infection outcomes for people living in different geographical areas. Previous studies have shown that vaccine hesitancy is a significant issue in Senegal, with low levels of awareness and acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines. Understanding the factors associated with vaccine hesitancy and identifying immune markers associated with SES may help to improve vaccine acceptance and coverage in low-income regions. Additionally, investigating the role of immune markers in infection outcomes may help to identify potential targets for vaccine design and testing. Overall, this study has the potential to contribute to the development of more effective vaccines and improve global health outcomes.

beyond research

I enjoy cooking, playing football, and listening to music. I conducted SARS-CoV-2 PCR tests for the Senegalese national football team and visited the Pink Lake and Niokolo-Koba Safari Park in Senegal. The Pink Lake is known for its unique pink colour caused by the presence of a type of algae while the Niokolo-Koba Safari Park is a protected area rich in flora and fauna.