dr. Steve Lefever (PhD)

CRIG member
Steve Lefever

Postdoctoral researcher - OncoRNALab, Center for Medical Genetics (UGent)
Principal investigator: prof. Jo Vandesompele (PhD)

Research focus

The main themes of the lab for Functional Cancer Genomics and Applied Bioinformatics are studying non-coding RNA in cancer and developing novel nucleic acid quantification strategies. The lab uses a combination of high-throughput genomic technologies and bioinformatic tools to answer various pan-cancer research questions. My primary research is focused on the identification of non-coding RNA mutations associated with neuroblastoma development and progression by means of integrated whole genome sequencing, exome sequencing and transcriptome sequencing analysis. In addition , I'm highly involved in the development of bioinformatics tools for high-throughput analysis of non-coding RNAs (e.g. decodeRNA - www.decodeRNA.org) and PCR assay design (e.g. primerXL - www.primerxl.org). Finally, I'm co-founder of Ghent University spin-off pxlence that furthers primerXL technology for PCR based targeted resequencing and Sanger sequencing based variant confirmation.


I obtained both a Master in Information technology and a Master in Biotechnology at Ghent University, Belgium. In 2008, I started my PhD in the Center for Medical Genetics  under the supervision of prof.  Vandesompele, focused on the development of bioinformatics tools for high-throughput PCR applications. Since 2012, I'm a postdoctoral fellow in the same lab focusing on non-coding RNA mutations in cancer.
In 2015, I co-founded pxlence, a Ghent University spin-off company providing best-in-class PCR assays for targeted amplification and sequencing of the human exome.

Key publications

  • MYCN and ALKF1174L are sufficient to drive neuroblastoma development from neural crest progenitor cells, Oncogene, 2013. (PMID: 22484425)
  • Histone chaperone CHAF1A inhibits differentiation and promotes aggressive neuroblastoma, Cancer Research, 2014 (PMID 24335960)
  • Focal DNA copy number changes in neuroblastoma target MYCN regulated genes, Plos One, 2013. (PMID 23308108)
  • Long non-coding RNA expression profiling in the NCI60 cancer cell line panel using high-throughput RT-qPCR, Scientific Data, 2016. (PMID 27377824)
  • Targeted resequencing and variant validation using pxlence PCR assays, Biomolecular Detection and Quantification, 2015. (PMID 27077044)
  • miRBase Tracker: keeping track of microRNA annotation changes, Database, 2014. (PMID 25157074)
  • Single-nucleotide polymorphisms and other mismatches reduce performance of quantitative PCR assays, Clinical Chemistry, 2013. (PMID 24014836)
  • Target enrichment using parallel nanoliter quantitative PCR amplification, BMC Genomics, 2014. (PMID 24612714)
  • The microRNA body map: dissecting microRNA function through integrative genomics, Nucleic Acids Research, 2011. (PMID 21835775)

Contact & links

  • postal and laboratory address: Medical Research Building 1 (MRB1), Ghent University Hospital campus, Corneel Heymanslaan 10, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
  • office address: Blok B, ground floor, room 100.011 (entrance 36), Ghent University Hospital campus, Corneel Heymanslaan 10, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
  • Google Scholar
  • pxlence