prof. Frank Speleman (PhD)

CRIG group leader
Frank Speleman

Principal Investigator - Lab for Paediatric Oncogenomics, Center for Medical Genetics (UGent)
Full professor (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UGent)
Head of the Laboratory for Cytogenomics (UZ Gent) 
Co-founder of CRIG


Research focus

The Speleman lab focuses on perturbed gene regulatory processes in pediatric cancer, more specifically neuroblastoma and T-ALL. To this end the lab uses in vitro model systems, patient derived xenografts and in vivo modeling with major focus on zebrafish and the introduction of an ESC derived neuroblastoma tumor model. Cancer genomes and transcriptomes are explored by polyA and total RNA, ATAC, ChIP, 4C-sequencing and currently further methods are being explored to gain deeper insights into gene regulatory processes and enhancer biology. The lab further focuses on the role and function of dependency genes in replicative stress resistance in MYC(N) driven cancers as an entry point for novel drugging approaches. Together with prof. Vandesompele, prof. Speleman was the inspirator of an intensive research program on noncoding RNAs at the Ghent University leading to several breakthrough papers in recent years. This research covers a wide area from translational (prognostic signatures, drugable targets, nanoparticles....) towards more fundamental (gene and pathway discovery) all supported by a solid bioinformatics team. In addition, the team is now succesfully integrating zebrafish modeling into ongoing neuroblastoma and leukemia research in order to accelerate novel insights into tumor initiation, cooperative genetic defects and perturbed oncogenic signaling as a prelude to identification of novel drug targets.

Expertise to offer

The Speleman lab has ample expertise in genomics, transcriptomics and epigenomics (read more on the intranet section) and is willing to share this expertise in the context of academic collaboration.

Research team

Key publications

  • 'TBX2 is a neuroblastoma core regulatory circuitry component enhancing MYCN/FOXM1 reactivation of DREAM targets.' Nat Commun, 2018 (PMID: 30451831)
  • ‘Long noncoding RNA signatures define oncogenic subtypes in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia’. Leukemia, 2016. (PMID: 27168467)
  • 'Targeting MYCN-driven Transcription by BET-bromodomain Inhibition'. Clinical Cancer Research, 2016. (PMID: 26631615)
  • 'Upregulation of MAPK Negative Feedback Regulators and RET in Mutant ALK Neuroblastoma: Implications for Targeted Treatment'. Clinical Cancer Research, 2015. (PMID: 25805801)
  • ‘Mutational Dynamics Between Primary and Relapse Neuroblastomas’. Nature Genetics, 2015. (PMID: 26121086)
  • ‘A cooperative microRNA-tumor suppressor gene network in acute T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL)’. Nature Genetics, 2011. (PMID: 21642990)
  • 'MYCN-driven Regulatory Mechanisms Controlling LIN28B in Neuroblastoma'. Cancer Letters, 2015. (PMID: 26123663)
  • ‘PHF6 mutations in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia’. Nature Genetics, 2010.  (PMID: 20228800)
  • ‘Human fetal neuroblast and neuroblastoma transcriptome analysis confirms neuroblast origin and highlights neuroblastoma candidate genes’. Genome Biology, 2007. (PMID: 16989664)
  • ‘Unequivocal delineation of clinicogenetic subgroups and development of a new model for improved outcome prediction in neuroblastoma’. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2005. (PMID: 15800319)

Contact & links

  • Center for Medical Genetics Ghent (CMGG), Medical Research Building 1 (MRB1) Room 120.032, Corneel Heymanslaan 10, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
  • Speleman Lab
  • Twitter
  • prof. Speleman is interested to receive invitations for presentations or talks