Justine Naessens

CRIG member
Justine Naessens

PhD student – Lab of Nico Callewaert, Center for Medical Biotechnology – VIB-UGent (Faculty of Science)
Principal investigator: prof. Nico Callewaert (PhD)


Research focus

The discovery of drugs that specifically target cancer-driving molecules has been made possible by significant advancements in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying cancer growth and proliferation. Classically, the focus has been on the inhibition of kinases or kinase receptors, which have enzymatic activities that drive cellular signaling cascades. However, the clinical efficacy of the currently existing targeted therapies leaves room for improvement, especially to overcome the occurrence of resistance, which requires novel approaches. One such strategy that holds great promise is targeted protein degradation (TPD), in which a protein of interest is to be eliminated by the cellular proteolytic system. This would allow to also target the non-enzymatic cancer-driving activities of proteins, expanding the druggable proteome and possibly leading to stronger therapeutic effects. Therefore, we are working on the development of a novel platform for targeted protein degradation that will be evaluated in the context of a range of cancer-associated proteins.

Contact & links