Amsterdam Rheumatology Center for AutoImmune Diseases

ARCAID is an international and interdisciplinary training network focused on autoimmune rheumatology research. Twenty PhD students have been appointed and reside at the Amsterdam University Medical Centers at either the AMC or VUMC location allowing for many interactions between PhD students and PIs. The  ARCAID is coordinated by prof. dr. Ronald van Vollenhoven and dr. Lisa van Baarsen, and was granted in 2019 and will end in 2024. The Bioinformatics Laboratory was granted two PhD students: Dasha Balashova and Utkarsh Mahamune.

For more information:

Scientific Aims

Autoimmune rheumatological diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis, vasculitis and systemic lupus erythematosus continue to exert significant tolls on the quality of life of millions of afflicted patients and on European societies in the form of loss of (work-)productivity and costs. Major advances in our understanding of the immunological processes underlying these diseases have been made, but it has not always been possible to translate these to improved diagnostics or therapeutic health care interventions. At the Amsterdam UMC and collaborating institutions and partners, we have developed the translational platforms for true bench-to-bedside development of the next generation of diagnostics and therapeutics for these diseases. To contribute to this effort, the next generation of scientists that work on translational immunological rheumatology need to be educated.

ARCAID will be a top-class research institute where the PhD students will be skilled through excellent training programs setup along four trivial pillars in translational research:

  1. Application of state-of-the-art technologies on human and murine biosamples;
  2. Delineating the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying pathophysiology of disease;
  3. Development of improved computational procedures for data analysis and interpretation;
  4. Discovery of novel markers to improve diagnostics, prognostics and therapy response to aid the development of personalised medicine.

The research of Dasha Balashova focuses on the analysis of Adaptive Immune Receptor Repertoire sequencing (AIRR-seq) and the development of new methods for the analysis of AIRR-seq data. This work is carried out in collaboration with dr. Victor Greiff and prof. dr. Niek de Vries.

The research of Utkarsh Mahamune focuses on the analysis of single-cell RNAseq data and computational modeling of gene networks that are reconstructed from such data to get a better understanding of stromal cells in autoimmune disorders. This project is a collaboration with dr. Lisa van Baarsen.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA), named after the double Nobel Prize winning Polish-French scientist famed for her work on radioactivity, support researchers at all stages of their careers. One type of action is COFUND aimed at funding for regional, national and international programmes for training and career development, through co-funding mechanisms. COFUND projects are collaborations between academia, industry, and other organisation. COFUND facilitates the the researcher to experience different sectors and develop their transferable skills by working on joint research projects.


ARCAID has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 847551. ARCAID is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND project.