Debby Laukens

: Nov 19, 2019

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About Me

I graduated as a Biochemist from the University of Antwerp (Belgium) in 2000, and obtained a PhD degree on ‘Transcriptome profiling and genetic analysis to identify susceptibility genes for Crohn’s disease’. Since then, I have been working as a postdoctoral researcher and later as assistant professor with special interest in pre-clinical research related to inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) at the Gastroenterology department of Ghent University. Since my postdoc, I gradually established a successful research group (the IBD Research Unit, ). In 2014, I was appointed part-time associate professor at the department of Internal Medicine of Ghent University, and became full-time associate professor in 2019. Recently, my team joined the Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie (VIB).

My research unit is rooted in the clinical gastroenterology department of Ghent University Hospital and aims to discern and modulate intestinal and extra-intestinal effects of chronic inflammation in the gut. As such, we aim to identify new therapeutic targets for the management of IBD. Despite the remarkable progress in IBD therapy, a substantial number of patients do not respond to the currently available drugs, or lose response over time. More importantly, these drugs seem to have only limited impact on the natural course of the disease. For example, the occurrence of structural damage in the intestinal mucosa and the persistent manifestation of neurobehavioral changes remain clinical challenges. Since these complications severely impair the quality of life of IBD patients, our research team focuses on the mechanisms driving their pathogenic processes.

Aside from aiming to modulate the inflammatory response in the intestine, we are interested in mechanisms of gut fibrosis and the development of drugs able to prevent or reverse the excess deposition of extracellular matrix. In addition, we aim to deliver new tools to modulate neurobehavioral and neurological changes by studying mechanisms of gut-brain communication using holistic and temporal analyses.

Keywords and matching areas:

 Medical Biotechnology

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