Febe Vertriest

CRIG member
Febe Vertriest

PhD researcher – CEMPH, Department of Bioanalysis (Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences) & IBD research unit (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UGent); UGent & IRC
Principal investigators & supervisor: prof. Marthe De Boevre (PhD), prof. Debby Laukens (PhD)dr. Sophie Van Welden (PhD) and  dr. Tess Goessens (PhD)


Research focus

Mycotoxins are fungal secondary metabolites that contaminate a wide spectrum of foods worldwide, exerting a diversity of human health threats, including cancer. Previous research involving a European cohort (n=476,160) has demonstrated a significantly increased risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) with deoxynivalenol (DON), patulin (PAT) and sterigmatocystin (STG) exposure. Although in vivo evidence for causal relationships are still lacking, exposure to these mycotoxins is hypothesized to have a profound impact on the intestinal morphology by compromising the epithelial barrier and genomic integrity of intestinal epithelial cells, but also on the gut microbiome composition, hereby promoting the initiation and development of CRC.
My research aims to map the phenotypic and molecular effects of single as well as combined mycotoxin exposure on tumorigenesis and on the gut microbiome. In WP2, we aim to explore the relevance of the mycotoxins, in human CRC/CAC. I will work with human intestinal organoids and subsequently, the preclinically identified tumour-promoting signalling pathways will be validated in CRC/CAC samples. The results will form a basis for future strategies for early detection of human cancer, and prevention by identification of risks related to mycotoxins exposure.


  • Bachelor in Pharmaceutical Sciences (2017-2020)
  • Master in Pharmaceutical Care (2020-2022)
  • PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences (2022 – now)

Contact & links

  • Lab address:
    - Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences: Ottergemsesteenweg 460, 9000 Ghent
    - IBD Research Unit: Medical Research Building 2 (ground floor, entrance 38), Corneel Heymanslaan 10, 9000 Ghent
  • Laukens team: Intestinal barrier signaling in disease and therapy 
  • IRC (Inflammation Research Center)
  • LinkedIn
  • Febe Vertriest is interested to receive invitations for presentations or talks