prof. John Van Camp (PhD)

CRIG member
John Van Camp

Full professor (Faculty of Bio-Science Engineering, UGent)

Research focus

The team of prof. Van Camp develops advanced in vitro cell culture models to be used for intelligent combination of in vitro digestion, transport and bioactivity models, with the objective to evaluate in vitro in a more realistic way the potential of bioactives in human nutrition. We use more realistic conditions under which bioactives act, with focus on endogenous metabolites applied under realistic concentrations and duration times and in combination with repeated exposures. We apply cell (co-) cultures (intestinal cells, endothelial cells, hepatocytes, immune cells) in human nutrition. Characterisation of metabolites is done during digestion, absorption and metabolism. Digestion and transport (absorption) studies are combined with bioactivity studies to understand nutrition related effects on cell metabolism (e.g. bio-energetic research involving cellular respiration and substrate utilization).
The following bioactives are under investigation:

  • peptides and proteins
  • plant metabolites (polyphenols)
  • vitamins, trace-elements
  • new sugars
  • new chemicals


John Van Camp obtained an MSc in Bio-Science Engineering (1989) and a PhD in Bio-Science Engineering (1996) at Ghent University. During the academic year 1997 – 1998 he had a 6 months research stay at the "Bundesanstalt für Milchforschung, Institut für Physiologie und Biochemie der Ernährung" in Kiel, Germany, with a postdoc research grant from OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).
After return to Ghent University, he held a position of doctor assistant (1997-2001), assistant/associate professor (2001-2014) and full professor (from 2014 onwards) at the Faculty of Bio-Science Engineering, Department of Food Technology, Safety and Health, Ghent University, Belgium.
As bioactive food expert, Prof Van Camp was participant in the European Nutrition Leadership Programme (ENLP) in human nutrition science in Europe (June, 15th-21st, 2000, in Luxembourg), NZO-VLAG visiting Professor 2006 at Wageningen University (September, 26-29th, 2006), and FRANCQUI National chair holder 2015-2016 at UCL (Université Catholique De Louvain, Faculté des Bioingénieurs). 
From February, 1st to August, 1st, 2022, he was a Fulbright visiting scholar at the Yilmaz Lab, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Research team

Key publications

  • Vermeirssen, V., Van Camp, J. & Verstraete, W. (2004). Bioavailability of angiotensin I converting enzyme inhibitory peptides. British Journal of Nutrition, 92(3), 357-366. (PMID: 15469639)
  • Gonzales, G. B., Smagghe, G., Grootaert, C., Zotti, M., Raes, K. & Van Camp, J. (2015). Flavonoid interactions during digestion, absorption, distribution and metabolism: a sequential structure-activity/property relationship-based approach in the study of bioavailability and bioactivity. Drug Metabolism Reviews, 47(2), 175-190.
  • Van Rymenant, E., Abranko, L., Tumova, S., Grootaert, C., Van Camp, J., Williamson, G. & Kerimi, A. (2017). Chronic exposure to short-chain fatty acids modulates transport and metabolism of microbiome-derived phenolics in human intestinal cells. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 39, 156-168.
  • Wu, T., Grootaert, C., Pitart, J., Vidovic, N.K., Kamiloglu, S., Possemiers, S., Glibetic, M., Smagghe, G., Raes, K., Van de Wiele, T. & Van Camp, J. (2018). Aronia (Aronia melanocarpa) polyphenols modulate microbial community in Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem (SHIME®) and decreased secretion of pro-inflammatory markers in a Caco-2/endothelial cell co-culture model. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 62(22).
  • Vissenaekens, H., Grootaert, C., Rajkovic, A., De Schutter, K., Raes, K., Smagghe, G., Van de Wiele, T. & Van Camp, J. (2019). Cell line-dependent increase in cellular quercetin accumulation upon stress induced by valinomycin and lipopolysaccharide, but not by TNF-alpha. Food Research International, 125, 108596. (PMID: 31554088)

Contact & links