Exceptional: two CRIG group leaders receive a prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant!


We are extremely proud to announce that two CRIG group leaders, Prof. Katleen De Preter and Prof. An Hendrix, each have received a prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant to continue their groundbreaking research.

Prof. Katleen De Preter is head of the Lab of Translational Onco-genomics and Bio-informatics, at the Center for Medical Genetics (UGent), and is a member of the CRIG steering committee. She received the ERC Consolidator Grant for her ‘EpiGuide’ project. The aim of this project is to develop a blood test that allows in-time detection of therapy response and resistance in cancer patients under treatment, as therapy resistance is a major cause of death. Therapy resistance can be caused by changes in the DNA of cancer cells, but emerging evidence shows that also changes in the epigenetic code (chemical marks on the DNA) are an important cause of this resistance. In the EpiGuide project, Prof. De Preter wants to develop a blood test that detects epigenetic changes in circulating tumor DNA, with the ultimate goal to allow the adaptation of treatment regimens from the first signs of therapy resistance.

Prof. An Hendrix is Principal investigator at the Laboratory for Experimental Cancer Research, and Founder and President of the Belgian Society for Extracellular Vesicles. Her research group played a pioneering role in the development of techniques for the detection of extracellular vesicles in body fluids. Extracellular vesicles are tiny bubbles that are used as a means of communication between body cells, but also between body cells and bacterial cells. As our bodies are home to trillions of bacteria, it is generally accepted that the interplay between those bacteria and our cells is of great importance in human health and disease. How bacterial vesicles influence the development and course of infectious diseases as well as the response of tumors to cancer therapy however, remains elusive. In her ERC Consolidator Project ‘MICROBE’, Prof. Hendrix will investigate this.

Read more in the ERC press release or the UGent news item