dr. P.C.J.L. (Patricia) Bruijning-Verhagen

Associate Professor

  • Department of Epidemiology
  • Julius Center Research Program Infectious Diseases

dr. P.C.J.L. (Patricia) Bruijning-Verhagen



Dr. Bruijning-Verhagen is a pediatrician and epidemiologist who received her clinical training at Leiden University Medical Centre and Montreal Children’s Hospital (2008). She initiated her career in research with a Maria Raiche Studentship Award from McGilll University in Montreal. In 2011, she obtained her MSc in Epidemiology from McGill University and returned to the Netherlands where she joined the Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care of the UMC Utrecht. She received her PhD from the University of Utrecht in 2013 for her work on epidemiology of rotavirus hospitalizations and implications for vaccination strategies. As an Assistant Professor between 2013 and 2017, she set up her own research group in epidemiology of childhood infectious diseases at the Julius Center and was also appointed as Adjunct Professor at the department of Epidemiology of McGill University. She is currently appointed as Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology at the Julius Center with a cross-appointment at the Center for Infectious Disease Control of the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment.

Research overview

Vaccine preventable diseases, in particular rotavirus, is the central theme in Dr. Bruijning’s epidemiological research. Her research focus is on optimizing prevention strategies for infants and children through vaccination, with a special focus on medically vulnerable pediatric populations. To this end, she set up a network of 15 pediatric hospitals to conduct vaccine studies in medically vulnerable infants. Between 2014 and 2019, two large multicenter studies involving >4000 infants were conducted in this network (RIVAR project: Risk-Group Infant Vaccination Against Rotavirus;  PRIEMA study: Primary Immunizations in Premature Infants). Her group also uses a range of routine clinical surveillance and healthcare data to study disease occurrence, transmission, and direct and indirect protection from vaccination in the population, applying methods as longitudinal data analysis, time-series, self-controlled case series analysis as well as cost-effectiveness modeling. Focus has been on rotavirus, influenza and pneumococcal vaccination and studied diseases include respiratory tract infections, acute gastroenteritis and otitis media. She also has a strong interest in understanding dynamics of infectious diseases transmission and the impact of large scale vaccination. In 2015, she received a Veni career grant (NWO) to study rotavirus and norovirus transmission within young households. The results from this study were recently accepted for publication in the Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal, the top-ranking journal in infectious diseases. A second theme in her research is emerging arbovirus infections. She contributes to public health risk assessment through studies on arbovirus infections among travellers (ZIeKA Monitor) and in pregnant women (ZIKAction).

As PI, she received grants from (inter)national research organizations and pharma with a total budget 3.5 million. She has published >70 articles including peer-reviewed papers, professional guidelines, scientific reports and publications for the lay public. She is involved in a number of (inter)national consortia including the IMI project Trial@Home, the NWA project Preparing for vector-borne virus outbreaks in a changing world: a One Health Approach, the EU funded ZIKAction project and she is co-PI on an influenza vaccination trial in children with recurrent respiratory tract infections (SAFARI-trial). As part of her research she supervises postdoctoral, PhD and MSc candidates. She lectures in BSc and MSc Life Sciences programmes of Utrecht University and in various post-graduate training courses for medical doctors.

Product Development

While conducting prospective community studies on infectious diseases in children, dr Bruijning has explored methods for improving data collection of participant reported outcomes. This has resulted in the development and scientific validation of an interactive Diary-App for monitoring study participants and to capture their relevant health events in real-time. The Diary-App has now been used in several of her studies on occurrence of acute respiratory and gastrointestinal infections (DigiOor, RotaFam, Klokwerk, ZIeKA Monitor) and resulted in excellent data completeness, between 92-97%. Ongoing studies using the Diary App include an influenza vaccine trial in children (SAFARI-trial), and a study monitoring occurrence of febrile illnesses during pregnancy (ZIKAction). Recently, Dr Bruijning teamed up with an IT company for further expansion of the App platform, , the research FollowApp, that will also be available to third research parties.

Public Engagement

Dr Bruijning has a strong interest in communicating science to the lay public and advocating childhood vaccination. Contributions to the media include interviews for national television (Nieuwsuur, Dit is M, EénVandaag, De Buitendienst) and news radio, national newspapers and news sites (Volkskrant, AD, NOS, RTL Nieuws), articles in popular magazines (Vrij Nederland, de Groene Amsterdammer), professional magazines (Medisch Contact, Nataal, Magazines NVML, Pediatric nursing and V&VN) as well as magazines from patient advocacy groups (Kleine Maatjes, Baby’s Digest). She has given public talks at various science events (Betweter Festival, De Balie debate evening, annual Faculty Dinner Utrecht University, Public lecture UMC Utrecht). In 2018, I was invited to a round table discussion on vaccination between members of Parliament and key scientific experts. In a joined effort with UMC Utrecht Marcom, she developed a range of educational online content on childhood vaccinations, including a webinars, podcasts and articles. This content is widely distributed through various social media channels. In addition, She actively uses twitter to share her view on important news from science and press on vaccine preventable diseases as well as emerging arbovirus infections.


Side Activities

  • External Advisor Dutch Health Council on rotavirus vaccination             

    Biannual European Expert Meeting on Rotavirus Vaccination                 

    International Scientific Committee member and Chair of the 2017 edition

    RIVM Committee “Extra Vaccinaties of Maat”                                         

    Appointed as representative of the Dutch Pediatric Association for interdisciplinary guideline committee on vaccine preventable diseases

    Vaccinology Masterclass Foundation                                                       

    Faculty member

    Annual post-graduate vaccinology courses for youth health care physicians and pediatricians


Fellowship and Awards

  • NWO VENI Grant 2015

    ESPID Small Grant Award, European Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases

    Maria Raiche Graduate Student Scholarship Award, McGill University

    Vaccinology Student Research Award, Health Agency Canada

Research Output (56)

Association of Routine Infant Vaccinations with Antibody Levels among Preterm Infants

Rouers Elsbeth D.M., Bruijning-Verhagen Patricia C.J., Van Gageldonk Pieter G.M., Van Dongen Josephine A.P., Sanders Elisabeth A.M., Berbers Guy A.M. 15 sep 2020, In: JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association. 324 , p. 1068-1077 10 p.

Erratum:Correction to: Two Randomized Controlled Trials of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin Vaccination to reduce absenteeism among health care workers and hospital admission by elderly persons during the COVID-19 pandemic: A structured summary of the study protocols for two randomised controlled trials (Trials (2020) 21 1 (481))

Ten Doesschate Thijs, Moorlag Simone J C F M, van der Vaart Thomas W, Taks Esther, Debisarun Priya, Ten Oever Jaap, Bleeker-Rovers Chantal P, Verhagen Patricia Bruijning, Lalmohamed Arief, Ter Heine Rob, van Crevel Reinout, van de Wijgert Janneke, Janssen Axel B, Bonten Marc J, van Werkhoven Cornelis H, Netea Mihai G, 22 jun 2020, In: Trials. 21 , p. 555 1 p.

Two Randomized Controlled Trials of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin Vaccination to reduce absenteeism among health care workers and hospital admission by elderly persons during the COVID-19 pandemic: A structured summary of the study protocols for two randomised controlled trials:A structured summary of the study protocols for two randomised controlled trials

Ten Doesschate Thijs, Moorlag Simone J C F M, van der Vaart Thomas W, Taks Esther, Debisarun Priya, Ten Oever Jaap, Bleeker-Rovers Chantal P, Verhagen Patricia Bruijning, Lalmohamed Arief, Ter Heine Rob, van Crevel Reinout, van de Wijgert Janneke, Janssen Axel B, Bonten Marc J, van Werkhoven Cornelis H, Netea Mihai G, 5 jun 2020, In: Trials. 21 2 p.

Inactivated influenza vaccine does not reduce all cause respiratory illness in children with pre-existing medical conditions

de Hoog Marieke L A, Venekamp Roderick P, Meijer Adam, Sanders Elisabeth A M, Bruijning-Verhagen Patricia C J L 9 apr 2020, In: Vaccine. 38 , p. 3397-3403 7 p.

Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing and non-ESBL-producing Escherichia coli isolates causing bacteremia in the Netherlands (2014 - 2016) differ in clonal distribution, antimicrobial resistance gene and virulence gene content

van Hout Denise, Verschuuren Tess D, Bruijning-Verhagen Patricia C J, Bosch Thijs, Schürch Anita C, Willems Rob J L, Bonten Marc J M, Kluytmans Jan A J W 1 jan 2020, In: PLoS ONE. 15 14 p.

Clinical Course and Management of Dengue in Children Admitted to Hospital:A 5 Years Prospective Cohort Study in Jakarta, Indonesia

Karyanti Mulya Rahma, Uiterwaal Cuno S.P.M., Hadinegoro Sri Rezeki, Jansen Maria A.C., Heesterbeek J. A.P.Hans, Hoes Arno W., Bruijning-Verhagen Patricia 1 dec 2019, In: The Pediatric infectious disease journal. 38 , p. e314-e319

Timeliness of immunisations in preterm infants in the Netherlands

Rouers Elsbeth D.M., Berbers Guy A.M., van Dongen Josephine A.P., Sanders Elisabeth A.M., Bruijning-Verhagen Patricia 16 sep 2019, In: Vaccine. 37 , p. 5862-5867 6 p.

Cost-effectiveness of selective digestive decontamination (SDD) versus selective oropharyngeal decontamination (SOD) in intensive care units with low levels of antimicrobial resistance:an individual patient data meta-analysis

van Hout Denise, Plantinga Nienke L, Bruijning-Verhagen Patricia C, Oostdijk Evelien A N, de Smet Anne Marie G A, de Wit G Ardine, Bonten Marc J M, van Werkhoven Cornelis H 6 sep 2019, In: BMJ Open. 9

Contact precautions in single-bed or multiple-bed rooms for patients with extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae in Dutch hospitals:a cluster-randomised, crossover, non-inferiority study

Kluytmans-van den Bergh Marjolein F Q, Bruijning-Verhagen Patricia C J, Vandenbroucke-Grauls Christina M J E, de Brauwer Els I G B, Buiting Anton G M, Diederen Bram M, van Elzakker Erika P M, Friedrich Alex W, Hopman Joost, Al Naiemi Nashwan, Rossen John W A, Ruijs Gijs J H M, Savelkoul Paul H M, Verhulst Carlo, Vos Margreet C, Voss Andreas, Bonten Marc J M, Kluytmans Jan A J W, 23 aug 2019, In: The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 19 , p. 1069-1079 11 p.

Increased carotid intima-media thickness in children with a history of dengue hemorrhagic fever

Versteege Tom, Karyanti Mulya R., Septiani Witri, Widjanarko Annisa L., Idris Nikmah S., Hendarto Aryono, Grobbee Diederick E., Burgner David, Uiterwaal Cuno S.P.M., Bruijning-Verhagen Patricia C.J.L. mrt 2019, In: American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 100 , p. 630-634 5 p.

All Research Output (56)