Arne Christiaens

CRIG member
Arne Christiaens

Doctoral fellow – Unit of Developmental Biology and Human Disease Modeling (Vleminckx lab) – Department of Biomedical Molecular Biology (WE14) – UGent
Principal investigator: prof. Kris Vleminckx (PhD) 


Research focus

Our research group employs the amphibian Xenopus tropicalis to model human genetic diseases and cancers. We obtain penetrant tumor development in F0 animals via CRISPR/Cas-mediated editing of (multiple) tumor suppressor genes. Interestingly, the external embryonic development of Xenopus allows us to restrict the introduction of oncogenic mutations to cell lineages of interest. This via targeted microinjections of the CRISPR/Cas reagents into specific blastomeres of the X. tropicalis embryos. Additionally, the amphibians have a true diploid genome with high synteny to the human counterpart, which are valuable characteristics for genetic research.

Multiplexed CRISPR/Cas gene targeting and subsequent genetic analyses of tumors allows straightforward identification of oncogenic drivers and other genes essential for tumor growth and formation. As such, the CRISPR/Cas-based X. tropicalis cancer models can serve to (i) elucidate the molecular mechanisms that underly cancer development and (ii) identify cancer vulnerabilities that may serve as new anchor points for molecular therapies. Overall, these X. tropicalis models present a unique platform within the field of preclinical cancer modeling. 

Contact & links

  • Lab address: Ghent University, Technologiepark 71, 9052 Ghent
  • Unit of Developmental Biology and Human Disease Modeling (Vleminckx lab)
  • Arne Christiaens is interested to receive invitations for presentations or talks