Laura Wyckaert

CRIG member

Doctoral fellow - Unit of Molecular Signaling and Cell Death, VIB Center for Inflammation Research, Ghent, Belgium
Principal Investigator: prof. Peter Vandenabeele (PhD)


Research focus

Immunotherapy is a powerful strategy to treat cancer, primarily due to the use of agents that target immune regulatory checkpoints. However, many patients show little or no benefit to these checkpoint inhibitors, emphasizing the need for other treatments that stimulate the immune system. Immunogenic cell death (ICD) is a phenomenon in which cancer cell death results in activation of adaptive anti-tumor immunity. The emergence of the concept of ICD has opened the avenue for development of novel anti-cancer strategies. Half of the patients worldwide receive X-ray radiotherapy (XRT) throughout the course of their treatment. It has become clear that an indispensable component of XRT’s curative potential is its activation of the immune system. We and others found that XRT is associated with iron-dependent lipid peroxidation (LPO), a feature of ferroptosis. Furthermore, we recently found that LPO or associated processes correlate with reduced capacity of dendritic cells to support antigen presentation. In this project, we aim at better understanding the underlying signaling pathways determining the fate of cells following XRT at different doses, how these cellular outcomes, more precisely lipid peroxidation and associated metabolites, determine the immunogenicity, and how this could be modulated to improve the anticancer immunogenic response during XRT in experimental cancer models resulting in a more efficient abscopal effect.

Contact & links

  • Lab address: VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research, Technologiepark-Zwijnaarde 71, 9052 Zwijnaarde (Ghent), Belgium
  • Laura Wyckaert is interested to receive invitations for presentations or talks