dr. Suzanne Vanhauwaert (PhD)
Neuroblastoma is a devastating childhood tumor of the peripheral nervous system. Poor survival rates warrant development of more efficient and less toxic treatment. One of the abberations that is frequently observed (80% of the cases) is the gain of 17q, which is also correlated with poor survival. Despite intensive research, up till today it is still not clear which genes on 17q are important for the development of neuroblastoma. By using copy number data and transcriptomic data of 200 neuroblastoma patients we were able to identify genes on 17q that are strongly correlated with patient survival. Several other datasets now firmly confirmed BRIP1 as a robustly upregulated gene during neuroblastoma development. During my PhD I was able to provide strong functional evidence for the oncogenic role of BRIP1 in neuroblastoma.
I obtained my master in Biochemistry and Biotechnology in June 2011 at the KU Leuven where I was also awarded with a prize of the PDL Leuven for being the best master student in biochemistry and biotechnology for the academic year 2010-2011. After obtaining my master degree, I immedialty started with a PhD in the lab of Professor Speleman where I mainly focused on the use of zebrafish as a model for Neuroblastoma en T-ALL (T-cell acute lymphoblastic Leukemia). During my PhD I also spent 7 months in the lab of A. Thomas Look (Dana Farber Cancer Insitute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA) where I was further trained in the use of zebrafish as a model for cancer.
In May 2017 I obtained my PhD degree,and now I started my post-doctoral career as a FWO post-doc.