Professor Yazdanbakhsh obtained her MSc degree at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and then did her PhD at Amsterdam University. After a postdoc, at Imperial College London, she started her own group at the Department of Parasitology, in Leiden University. Her research in Leiden has been on cellular immune responses to helminths and the topic of immune regulation. At present Maria is head of the department of parasitology which focuses on host-parasite interactions of major parasitic diseases such as malaria, schistosomiasis and filariasis as well as clinically relevant intestinal parasites with the aim to contribute to the development of vaccines and improvement of diagnostic methods. She has strong collaborative links with institutions in Indonesia, Gabon and Ghana and has trained many clinicians and scientists from these countries.