Peter Reiss and Godelieve de Bree about the transfer of the project leadership

In 2012, at a barbecue of the infectious diseases department of the AMC, Joep Lange and Godelieve de Bree met for the first time. At the time, Godelieve was finishing her specialization as an internist-infectiologist and was considering further setting up the acute HIV studies in Amsterdam UMC. When she discussed this with Joep, he indicated that he had plans to set up a new approach to the HIV epidemic in Amsterdam. In the years after this barbecue Joep and Godelieve worked out the plans together. An important aspect was the involvement of the many relevant stakeholders. During the first meeting with all stakeholders, within minutes the attendees were enthusiastically talking over each other about various ideas: The H-TEAM was born.

Godelieve believes that the diversity in stakeholders is very important, both for the H-TEAM and for herself. In her daily work she takes care of patients, but through working with people from all aspects of the HIV-care she has started to look at the HIV-problem in a different way. This perspective gives her and the H-TEAM the power to develop new and creative approaches to the HIV-problem.

Peter Reiss, whom until recently was the director of Stichting HIV Monitoring (SHM) and already knew Joep from his studies, was involved as a stakeholder from SHM at an early stage. In 2014, when Joep suddenly died during the MH17 disaster, he was asked to take over the project leadership of the H-TEAM from Joep. This year Peter decided, partly because of his starting pension, to transfer his project leadership to Godelieve. For him, the choice for Godelieve was self-evident, given her long-standing role as scientific coordinator and unbridled commitment to the H-TEAM. It also felt like a natural next step for Godelieve. As a result, Godelieve became the new project leader on March 15, 2021 with the full consent of all H-TEAM members. Peter will remain, where possible, committed to the H-TEAM from AIGHD and Amsterdam UMC.

In the years before the H-TEAM, Godelieve enjoyed a wide range of study and research. She did her PhD research in immunology at the lab at AMC, focusing on the interaction of the immune system with airway viruses in the lung. She then went on to do a pulmonologist training but decided to switch to an internal medicine/infectious diseases training after two years, because it does better justice to the breadth of immunology and infectious diseases. After four years of study, she decided to do a postdoc in Oxford on HIV2 for a year. Once back in Amsterdam, she completed her training in internal infectious diseases and completed a second focus area of clinical immunology. In addition to her current work in patient care, her research focuses on acute HIV, HIV vaccination research, research into the immune response against SARS-CoV-2 and patients with congenital abnormalities of their immune system, which sometimes resemble the abnormalities in patients with HIV.

Godelieve’s expectations regarding achieving the objectives of the H-TEAM are positive. She indicates that during the corona crisis it has become clear once again that the great motivation behind infections is inequality, which forces us to place infections, including HIV, against a broader framework. Next to this, in the next years she hopes be able to seek cooperation with other cities even more in order to learn from each other.

We warmly welcome Godelieve as the new project leader of the H-TEAM and would like to thank Peter for his tremendous commitment in that role in recent years.

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