Skip to content

Honorary Postdoctoral Researcher


Dr Lieke van den Elsen (BSc, MSc, PhD) is a translational researcher with expertise in the role of early nutrition in immune development and disease prevention. After completing the Bachelor of Pharmacy (Cum Laude) and the master Drug Innovation (Cum Laude) at Utrecht University (The Netherlands), she started as a PhD candidate with Prof Garssen (Utrecht University). This translational project focussed on the impact of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids for the prevention of food allergy in infants from the Salmon in Pregnancy Study and various 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. This included models for allergic disease, vaccination and diet-induced obesity and led her to become a co-investigator on a patent focused on human milk oligosaccharides for improving immune fitness.

In 2018 Lieke joined the team of Prof Verhasselt at the University of Western Australia to work on the role of early breastfeeding practice in healthy growth and immune homeostasis in animal models and human birth cohorts. She is also associated as a Research Fellow with the Africa Research & Engagement Centre with her work on malaria antigens in human milk.

Dr van den Elsen has 20 peer-reviewed publications (14 original research articles, 6 reviews) of which 14 as a first author, including publications in leading journals in their field such as JAMA Pediatrics (top 1% in pediatrics). She is also a Special Issue Editor for the special issue ‘Early-Life Nutrition and Metabolic Disorders in Later Life’ of Nutrients.

  • Education and Qualifications
  • Awards/Honours
  • Active Collaborations