prof. Lars Vereecke (PhD)

CRIG member
Lars Vereecke

Principle investigator – Host-Microbiota Interaction lab
Assistant professor – Tenure Track (Department of Rheumatology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UGent).
Coordinator of the ‘Ghent Gut Inflammation Group’ (GGIG)
Coordinator of the Ghent Germfree and Gnotobiotic mouse facility
Project leader at ‘Center for Inflammation Research’ (IRC – VIB) 


Research focus

The ‘Host-Microbiota-interaction lab’ (HMI) focuses on how the microbiota (the collection of micro-organisms in and on our body) contribute to health and disease.
We mainly study the intestinal microbiota, and how it shapes the immune system in steady state, and how disturbances in the intestinal microbiota may contribute to immune disorders and cancer.
In addition, the gut microbiota composition is a determining factor in many anti-cancer therapies, most notably immune-checkpoint inhibition therapies.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most prevalent cancers in Western society, and microbiota abnormalities have been causally linked to CRC development and progression, through mechanisms which are insufficiently understood.
Using germfree and gnotobiotic mouse models of human disease (including CRC), the HMI lab tries to unravel the mechanisms by which microbiota affect disease development, both positively as negatively.
It has become increasingly clear that the gut microbiota is a central regulator of health and disease, affects both cancer development and therapy response.
We therefore believe that microbiota interventions open new perspectives for both cancer prevention and therapy. 


I obtained my PhD at Ghent University in 2011 on innate immunity in gastrointestinal homeostasis, and am assistant-professor (since October 2016) at the Department of Rheumatology headed by Prof. Dirk Elewaut, at the Ghent University Hospital.
Our lab is part the ‘Center for Inflammation Research’ (IRC), a VIB department.
My main research focus is understanding the complex interactions between the intestinal microbiota and the host immune system during homeostasis and disease.
In this respect, I am coordinating the first Belgian ‘germfree and gnotobiotic mouse facility’ at Ghent University.
I am also coordinator of a research consortium at Ghent University focusing on intestinal inflammation the ‘Ghent Gut Inflammation Group’ (GGIG).
I have a broad general interest in immunology and cancer, and general health related science.
In addition, I am teaching ‘molecular cell biology’ and ‘biomedical physiology’ at Ghent University.

Research team

  • Prof. Lars Vereecke – principal investigator, assistant professor
  • Dr. Ioanna Petta – post-doctoral fellow
  • Drs. Konstantina Zafeiropoulou – doctoral fellow

Key publications

  • A20 prevents chronic liver inflammation and cancer by protecting hepatocytes from death. Cell Death Dis., 2016, PMID: 27253414
  • The pro-survival IKK-related kinase IKKepsilon integrates LPS and IL-17A signaling cascades to promote Wnt-dependent tumor development in the intestine. Cancer Res, 2016, PMID: 26980769
  • M-CSF and GM-CSF receptor signaling differentially regulate monocyte maturation and macrophage polarization in the tumor microenvironment. Cancer Res, 2015, PMID: 26573801
  • A20 controls intestinal homeostasis through cell-specific activities. Nat Commun., 2014, PMID: 25267258
  • RIPK1 ensures intestinal homeostasis by protecting the epithelium against apoptosis. Nature, 2014, PMID: 25186904

Contact & links

  • Lab Address: Host-Microbiota Interaction lab (HMI), VIB Center for Inflammation Research, Department of Rheumatology, campus UZ Gent, Corneel Heymanslaan 10, MRBII building (Entrance 38), 9000 Ghent, Belgium
  • Lars Vereecke lab
  • GGIG
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Researchgate
  • Lars Vereecke is interested to receive invitations for presentations or talks