Michel Bengtson


Research areas of interest: Molecular diagnostics for poverty-related parasitic diseases, Global health development, Implementation research (capacity building and technology transfer) 



Leiden University Medical Center  |  Leiden University Center for Infectious Diseases

Education and Research background  

I am a molecular biologist with experience in developing, evaluating and implementing diagnostic tests for use within resource-limited settings. In my home country of South-Africa, I witnessed the impact of infectious diseases and I am motivated to contribute towards making global impact in healthcare. I obtained a bachelor degree in cellular biology, and a master degree in biological sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. I obtained a PhD at the Kavli Research Institute of Nanoscience under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Cees Dekker (Bionanoscience Department, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Delft University of Technology). During my PhD, I initiated a diagnostics project and developed an adaptable DNA-based point-of-care diagnostic assay for infectious diseases. I joined the Parasitology Department at the LUMC in 2020, where I initially gained experience as a quality assessment associate. In this role, I was responsible for designing and implementing quality control experiments for an in vitro antigen detection assay that is specific for schistosomiasis, in line with EU IVDR guidelines. Thereafter, I worked as a research project manager for the NWO-funded INSPiRED-project where we focused on the development and implementation of Ai-driven digital diagnostic devices for parasitic diseases in developing countries. In parallel, I worked as a scientific coordinator for a molecular diagnostic work package in a Phase II/III adaptive multi-centric clinical trial for a novel anti-parasitic drug. I have experience in validating diagnostic devices in research settings, as well as experience conducting field research in Sub-Saharan Africa.

My work on immune responses to vaccines

I have been managing research projects for the Clinical Diagnostics Research Group at the LUMC Parasitology Department over the past 3 years. I recently joined the HypoVax Global Knowledge hub team as a coordinator. I am also a data curator for the WORMVACS2.0 project.

beyond research

I love to travel, especially along the coastline of a country – the only exception to the rule is navigating from KwaZulu-Natal (my hometown) through Sani Pass. Travel tip: The Nelson Mandela Capture Site, located in the Midlands Meander, is an unforgettable experience en-route Sani Pass.