dr. Mattias Van Heetvelde (PhD)

CRIG member
Mattias Van Heetvelde

Research staff – Lab for cancer predisposition and precision oncology, Center for Medical Genetics Ghent (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UGent)
Principal investigators: prof. Kathleen Claes (PhD) & prof. Elfride De Baere (MD, PhD)


Research focus

Currently I am mainly active as a bioinformatician in the lab of prof. Elfride De Baere, who focuses on inherited retinal disorders and other developmental diseases. Partially I still provide data analysis support for Lab Claes, where I studied the role of small non-coding RNAs in somatic inactivation of BRCA1 and BRCA2 during my PhD. Prof. Claes’ lab is currently undertaking projects involving xenografts in zebrafish, long-read sequencing and transcriptome-wide alternative splicing to name a few examples. My role consists of building pipelines for data analysis and aiding with data interpretation. 


  • Research Staff – Center for Medical Genetics Ghent; present
  • PhD Fellowship – IWT scholarship; Center for Medical Genetics Ghent; Defended in June 2019 
  • Master Bioscience engineering: Cell and gene biotechnology; Ghent University; Graduated with distinction in September 2013
  • Bachelor Bioscience engineering; University of Antwerp; Graduated with distinction in June 2011 
  • Latin and Mathematics;  Xaveriuscollege, Borgerhout; Graduated in June 2007

Key publications

  • 'Prevalence of germline pathogenic variants in cancer predisposing genes in Czech and Belgian pancreatic cancer patients.' Cancer, 2021 (PMID: 34503238)
  • ‘Accurate detection and quantification of (epi-)genetic second hits in BRCA1/2- associated hereditary breast and ovarian cancer reveals multiple co-acting second hits.’ Cancer Letters, 2018 (PMID: 29580810) 
  • ‘Prediction of Breast and Prostate Cancer Risks in Male BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutation Carriers Using Polygenic Risk Scores. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2017 (PMID: 28448241) 
  • ‘Mutational spectrum in a worldwide study of 29,700 families with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.’ Human Mutation, 2018 (PMID: 29446198)
  • ‘Identification of 12 new susceptibility loci for different histotypes of epithelial ovarian cancer.’ Nat. Genetics, 2017 (PMID: 28346442)