Mikhael Dito Manurung


Research areas of interest: Single-cell technologies, High-dimensional data analysis, Multi-omics data analysis, Human immune variation, Parasitic infections



Leiden University Medical Center  |  Leiden University Center for Infectious Diseases   |  Department of Human Genetics 

Education and Research background  

As a medical doctor, I have always been fascinated by infectious diseases. My passion for research began during my master’s degree in microbiology in Newcastle in the United Kingdom where I worked on toxin-antitoxin loci of Escherichia coli. However, I soon realized that my true passion lay in understanding how our immune system responds to pathogens. This realization led me to pursue my PhD at Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands, under the guidance of Prof. Maria Yazdanbakhsh. Since then, I have been involved in various projects, working with researchers from diverse backgrounds and building expertise in statistics and bioinformatics. My current focus is on applying high-dimensional data analysis techniques to provide integrative insights into the data generated in our department. I am passionate about my work and committed to advancing our understanding of the immune system’s response to infectious diseases.

My work on immune responses to vaccines

Prior to studying vaccine responses, I focused on understanding variations in immune responses against parasitic infections such as malaria and hookworm. My focus was on how immune responses varied across populations with distinct pre-exposure to these parasites. Through my research, we have gained insights into the tremendous differences in immune phenotypes across populations as well as within populations, and how these relate to infection outcomes. By conducting controlled human infection studies, we were able to compare the dynamics of immune response in unprecedented resolution. Currently, I am characterizing immune variations along the rural-urban gradient in Senegal and the Netherlands. Our research has shown how immune profiles vary along the urban-rural gradient and that rural Senegalese have distinct immune profiles compared to urban Senegalese. I hope to gain insights into how environmental factors such as exposures within an urban environment impact the immune system’s response to infections and vaccinations. Ultimately, our research has the potential to inform the development of more effective vaccines and treatments for infectious diseases.

beyond research

I love reading works of fiction, particularly those written by Haruki Murakami. I have a love-hate relationship with self-help books, and I can speak about it at length. I am also trying to love writing and learning in public by sharing my thoughts on the latest papers in single-cell research. In fact, I have a blog up at scup.netlify.app!