dr. Valerie De Meulenaere (PhD)

CRIG member

Postdoctoral researcher - Department of Radiology, Ghent University Hospital   
Principal investigator: prof. Karel Deblaere (PhD)  


Research focus

Brain tumors are a heterogeneous group of neoplasms with their own biology, prognosis and treatment options. They are responsible for severe physical and cognitive disability and can cause focal or generalized neurological symptoms.
There are two general groups of brain tumors: primary and metastatic brain tumors. Metastatic brain tumors are the most commonly diagnosed brain tumors and occur in 10-20% of adults with metastatic cancer. Moreover, metastatic brain tumors occur ten times more compared to primary brain tumors with glioblastoma being the most frequently diagnosed malignant glioma. Neuroimaging with MRI is an essential tool for diagnosis, treatment planning and post-therapeutic assessment of brain tumors.
Along with the clinical presentation and the diagnostic approach, the initial treatment strategy is comparable for the majority of brain tumors. Medical treatment often requires a multidisciplinary approach and consists of surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.
Unfortunately, the efficacy of brain cancer treatment is often limited and ineffective due to a suggested low permeability of the blood brain barrier to therapeutic agents, high sensitivity of healthy brain tissue for radiation, or the presence of the tumors near critical structures in the brain. Hence, there is an urgent need for effective therapeutic approaches to improve survival outcomes. Preclinical models can play a crucial role in the study of brain tumors and the development of new therapeutics and are able to bridge the translational gap for the clinical implementation of diagnostics and/or therapeutics. 
Recent evidence suggests that connexins are involved in the pathogenesis of both glioblastoma and brain metastasis.
Our aim is to investigate new connexin-based therapeutic strategies for glioblastoma and brain metastasis using animal models that allow follow-up with preclinical MRI. 

Contact & links

  • Lab address: Corneel Heymanslaan 10, 9000 Gent 
  • Involved in INFINITY: the preclinical core imaging facility of Ghent University providing multi-modality imaging services
  • Valerie De Meulenaere is interested to receive invitations for presentations or talks