Koen Deserranno

CRIG member
Koen Deserranno

doctoral fellow – Lab of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology,  Department of Pharmaceutics (Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, UGent)
Principal investigators: prof. Filip Van Nieuwerburgh (PhD) and prof. Dieter Deforce (PhD)


Research focus

My first research topic is devoted to pharmacogenomics. Pharmacogenomics studies the impact of genetic variation (single nucleotide variants, insertions, deletions, and structural variants) on drug function. Genetic variation underlying drug metabolizing enzymes (e.g. CYP2D6), can alter the level of the active substance (e.g. the cancer drug tamoxifen) that can exert pharmacological effects. Multiple platforms exist to screen for these genetic variations, however, most strategies only screen for known variations (cf. microarrays) or are based on PCR and short-read next-generation sequencing. Due to these limitations, correctly identifying combinations of variants in a haplotype-aware context is difficult. Therefore, we focus on method optimization for targeted long-read Oxford Nanopore sequencing to characterize the genetic variation in patients with the goal to improve genotyping and more accurately predict drug function.

In a second research line, I focus on plate-based single cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq). scRNA-seq has revolutionized the field of transcriptomics. However, the main focus has been on high-throughput sequencing of thousands of cells for gene expression purposes. In contrast, protocols for settings in which few cells are available, or for which full-transcriptome coverage is desired, have been studied less extensively. Therefore, we adopted the recently published Smart-seq3xpress protocol and perform method optimization to characterize the total transcriptome, aiming to reveal rare coding and non-coding transcripts involved in cancer pathways. 


Koen Deserranno graduated as a Pharmacist in the Drug Development in 2021. He performed his master thesis on long-read sequencing in pharmacogenetics. Currently, he is pursuing a Ph.D. at the lab of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, funded by a Ghent University Special Research Fund (BOF).

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