Julie De Munck

CRIG member
Julie De Munck

Doctoral fellow – Department of Food Technology, Safety and Health: Research Group Food Chemistry and Human Nutrition (Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, UGent) 
Principal Investigators: prof. John Van Camp (PhD) and prof. Matthias D’hooghe (PhD)


Research focus

Curcumin is a yellow colored polyphenol extracted from the rhizomes of Curcuma longa (‘turmeric’). Despite its interesting properties (e.g. antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anticancer), curcumin has been described to possess a low bioavailability, low stability and aspecific activity which hampers application in health care.
This research project is in collaboration with the Department of Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry (UGent) which provides new chemically modified curcuminoid structures with improved physiochemical and anticancer characteristics. The potential of these curcuminoid ‘hit-structures’ to selectively target colon cancer cells is evaluated in this project. Therefore, novel intestinal 3D co-culture models including cells of both cancer and non-cancer origin are being developed. In addition to high-throughput viability assays, microscopic, analytical and molecular techniques are applied to unravel potential links between structure, intracellular bioavailability and -activity. The results of this research enable selection of the most promising candidates for follow-up studies, which may eventually lead to the future application of curcuminoid-based chemotherapeutics.

Contact & links