prof. Jens Staal (PhD)

CRIG member
Jens Staal

assistant professor (10%), Faculty of Sciences, UGent department of Biochemistry and Microbiology.
postdoctoral researcher - Unit of Molecular Signal Transduction in Inflammation, VIB Center for 
                                                 Inflammation Research, UGent Department of Biomedicial Molecular Biology
dr. assistant, UGent Department of Biomedicial Molecular Biology
Principal Investigator: prof. Rudi Beyaert (PhD)


Research focus

I am especially interested in various signal transduction mechanisms that regulate immune- and inflammation responses. In this area, I have especially focused on the so-called CBM (CARD-CC/Bcl10/MALT1) complexes from many different perspectives: biochemical characterization, cellular models, molecular evolution and in vivo functions in transgenic and mutant mouse models.
My research interests are not focused on cancer as such, but I rather see cancer as “experiments of nature” that offers opportunities to identify novel signaling pathways and cross-talks between pathways. In fact were BCL10 and MALT1 originally identified in B cell lymphomas and only later identified as critical signaling components in immune cells. In the context of immunity, current cancer research on check point inhibitors also offers us novel insights in immune regulation. Also here I think that the interaction can be bidirectional. For example are there indications that MALT1 protease inhibitors influence Treg function, which could complement or enhance other check point inhibition strategies.
In recent years, I have also initiated a novel independent research line focusing on secondary metabolites commonly known as “phytohormones” (abscisic acid, auxins, cytokinins, salicylic acid) that also are endogenously produced in humans. These compounds all have potential effects on inflammation, but especially auxins (via the aryl hydrocarbon receptor and immune check point inhibition resistance) and cytokinins (as adenosine receptor ligands) may also play important roles in cancer.


I obtained a M.Sc.Eng (civilingenjor) degree in biotechnology from Umea University in 2001 and a PhD in genetics (on plant immunity) from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU, Uppsala) in 2006.
Since 2007, I have been working in the biomedical field (signal transduction in inflammation) as a post-doc in the group of prof. Rudi Beyaert at the VIB Center for Inflammation Research (IRC) Ghent, Belgium.
Since 2019, I took up additional teaching responsibilities at IRC and I am also Assistant Professor at the department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Ghent, Belgium with teaching responsibilities in the Ghent University campus in Korea (GUGC).
In addition to the research and teaching performed, I am also Associate Editor for Frontiers in Plant Biology and Frontiers in Microbiology (section : plant-microbe interactions), and Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology (section: fungal pathogenesis), and Review Editor for Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology (section: signaling).

Key publications

  • Prolonged exposure to IL-1beta and IFNgamma induces necrosis of L929 tumor cells via a p38MAPK/NF-kappaB/NO-dependent mechanism. Oncogene, 2008. (PMID: 18246123)
  • Inflammation and NF-κB Signaling in Prostate Cancer: Mechanisms and Clinical Implications. Cells, 2018. (PMID: 30158439)
  • Defining the combinatorial space of PKC:: CARD‐CC signal transduction nodes. FEBS J., 2021. (PMID: 32790937)
  • Cyclin D2 overexpression drives B1a-derived MCL-like lymphoma in mice. J. Exp. Med., 2021. (PMID: 34406363) 
  • CARD14 Signalling Ensures Cell Survival and Cancer Associated Gene Expression in Prostate Cancer Cells. Biomedicines, 2022.(PMID )

Contact & links

  • Lab address: VIB-UGent, Center for Inflammation Research, Technologiepark 71, 9052 Zwijnaarde - Gent
  • UGent Biblio 
  • Google Scholar 
  • ORCID 
  • Publons 
  • Loop 
  • Jens Staal is interested to receive invitations for presentations or talks