prof. Lynn Vanhaecke (PhD)

CRIG group leader
Lynn Vanhaecke

Principal investigator - Lab of Chemical Analysis, Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UGent)
Associate professor (Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, UGent)


Research focus

For many conditions, linked to poor gut health and in particular colorectal cancer, personalized preventive strategies and diagnostic, prognostic or predictive biomarkers of disease are lacking today. It is our belief that unravelling the molecular basis by which the exposome (diet, gut microbiome, etc.) impacts the human metabolome may address this hurdle. Therefore, our research aims to (1) develop a true molecular high-resolution mass spectometry based metabolomics platform (including both polar to medium apolar metabolites, lipidomics and DNA adductomics) to discriminate the metabolic phenotypes of healthy and diseased individuals (human and animal studies), and (2) to unravel the impact of the exposome on host metabolome (e.g. impact of red meat consumption on digestive metabolome in relation to CRC promotion). In this context, methodologies for the most frequently reported specimens that allow exploring systemic alterations of metabolites in humans (i.e. tissue, blood and urine) are available at LCA. Besides, a novel methodology for polar metabolites in feces was successfully developed and validated in recent years (Vanden Bussche et al., 2015), as well as a new methodology for fecal lipidomics (Van Meulebroek et al., 2017). Indeed, in relation to gut health, feces comprises a rich source of information that allows complex interactions between the gut microbiota and the host to be studied, and reflects the dietary input and biochemical events that have occurred during digestion best. Additionally, methodologies for DNA adductomics, a recently breached branch of metabolomics, have been successfully optimized and implemented (o.a. Hemeryck et al. 2015). The application of the above mentioned methodologies for the discovery of reliable and robust biomarkers to enable early diagnosis, screening, surveillance, and primary prevention of the disease through e.g. dietary recommendations, belongs to our current research objectives. 

Expertise to offer

The team of Prof. Vanhaecke has ample expertise in DNA adductomics (read more on the intranet section), lipidomics (read more on the intranet section), in situ/point-of-care metabolomics: REIMS (read more on the intranet section) and metabolomics (read more on the intranet section). This expertise can be shared with other research teams as a service or in collaborative research projects.


Lynn Vanhaecke was born in 1981 in Bruges, Belgium. Following her undergraduate studies as a Master in Bioscience Engineering, from 2004 until 2008 she was affiliated with the Laboratory of Microbial Ecology and Technology, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University as a PhD student. During this period her research focused on the impact of the human intestinal microbiota on the metabolism and genotoxicity of meat carcinogens. In 2008 she graduated as a PhD in Bioscience Engineering and shifted to the Laboratory of Chemical Analysis within the Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety at Ghent University, where she was appointed as doctor-assistant prior to obtaining a postdoctoral fellowship from the Flemish Science Foundation (FWO). In October 2011 she was appointed as assistant professor, in october 2016 as associate professor at the Laboratory of Chemical Analysis (LCA). The chemical analyses of food, the metabolism and biological activity of food constituents and the analysis of small molecules (residues, contaminants, metabolites) using advanced mass spectrometric techniques in biological matrices in relation to human health comprises her major expertise now. She is author and co-author of more than 130 peer-reviewed international publications and panel member of the gamma working group of the UGent Special Research Fund (BOF).

Research team

  • Prof. Lynn Vanhaecke (PhD) - principal investigator, full professor
  • Dr. Lieselot Hemeryck (PhD)  - post-doctoral fellow 
  • Dr. Marilyn De Graeve (PhD) - post-doctoral fellow
  • Beata Pomian - technician
  • Dirk Stockx -technician 

Key publications

  • 'Increased oxidative and nitrosative reactions during digestion could contribute to the association between well-done red meat consumption and colorectal cancer.' Food Chemistry, 2015. (PMID: 25976994)
  • 'High resolution mass spectrometry based profiling of diet-related deoxyribonucleic acid adducts.' Analytica Chimica Acta, 2015. (PMID: 26388482)
  • 'Reducing Compounds Equivocally Influence Oxidation during Digestion of a High-Fat Beef Product, which Promotes Cytotoxicity in Colorectal Carcinoma Cell Lines.' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2016. (PMID: 26836477)
  • 'Diet-related DNA adduct formation in relation to carcinogenesis.' Nutrition Reviews, 2016. (PMID: 27330144)
  • 'Mass Spectrometric Mapping of the DNA Adductome as a Means to Study Genotoxin Exposure, Metabolism, and Effect.' Analytical Chemistry, 2016. (PMID: 27362284)  
  • ‘In vitro DNA adduct profiling to mechanistically link red meat consumption to colon cancer promotion.’ Toxicology Research, 2016. (PMID: 30090439)
  • ‘DNA adductomics to study the genotoxic effects of red meat consumption with and without added animal fat in rats.’ Food Chemistry, 2017. (PMID: 28407925)
  • ‘Holistic lipidomics of the human gut phenotype using validated ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to hybrid orbitrap mass spectrometry.’ Analytical Chemistry, 2017. (PMID: 29053249)
  • ‘DNA adduct profiling of in vitro colonic meat digests to map red vs. white meat genotoxicity.’ Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2018. (PMID: 29458163)
  • ‘Untargeted metabolomics of colonic digests reveals kynurenine pathway metabolites, dityrosine and 3-dehydroxycarnitine as red versus white meat discriminating metabolites.’ Scientific Reports, 2018. (PMID: 28195169)
  • ‘A validated multi-matrix platform for metabolomic fingerprinting of human urine, feces and plasma using ultra-high performance liquid-chromatography coupled to hybrid orbitrap high-resolution mass spectrometry.’ Analytica Chimica Acta, 2018. (PMID: 30172316)
  • ‘Nutrimetabolomics : an integrative action for metabolomic analyses in human nutritional studies (2018) Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, 2018. (PMID: 30176196)
  • ‘Validated comprehensive metabolomics and lipidomics analysis of colon tissue and cell lines.’ Analytica Chimica Acta, 2019. (PMID: 31027537)

Contact & links

  • Lab website 
  • Salisburylaan 133, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium,
  • Phone: + 32 9 264 74 57 
  • LinkedIn
  • Bibliography          
  • prof. Vanhaecke is interested to receive invitations for presentations or talks