prof. Kevin Braeckmans (PhD)

CRIG member
Kevin Braeckmans

Full professor (faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, UGent)
Principal investigator and co-director – Lab. General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy (UGent)
Group leader - Biophotonics Research Group (UGent)
Chairman and member of the Centre for Advanced Light Microscopy (UGent)
Member of BIOMARKED Steering Committee 


Research focus

Research of the Biophotonics Research Group is structured along three major themes:

  • investigating the interaction of nanomedicines with biological barriers, in which advanced light microscopy techniques play a crucial role
  • optics-based biomedical diagnostics
  • light-triggered delivery of functional compounds into cells and other tissues 

Several of our projects link to cancer research, e.g. optical fingerprinting of cancer-related extracellular vesicles from liquid biopsies and safe engineering of therapeutic cells (e.g. T-cells) with optical technologies. More information can be found on this group’s webpage .

Expertise to offer

Expertise Centre for Advanced Light Microscopy: The microscopy centre aims to provide high end instrumentation and expertise thereby making light microscopy accessible for researches independently of their experience level. The centre facilitates microscopy experiments to ensure high-quality scientific research where light microscopy plays an indispensable role.
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Having obtained a Licentiate degree in Physics at Ghent University (Belgium) in 1999, Kevin Braeckmans joined the Laboratory of General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy (Ghent University) to perform research on advanced optical microscopy methods for pharmaceutical applications. During his Ph.D. he was involved in the development of a new type of encoded microcarriers for diagnostic applications, for which he received the first price for Young Biotechnology Researchers from the Funds of Biotechnology (FBBF, Belgium) in 2005. In 2004 he received a post-doctoral fellowship from the Fund for Scientific Research – Flanders, focusing on single particle tracking microscopy, during which time he was a visiting postdoctoral at the Christophe Bräuchle lab, Physikalische Chemie I, Ludwich Maximilians University Munich.
In 2008 he was appointed as professor at Ghent University where he is currently leading the Bio-Photonics Research Group in close collaboration with the Ghent Research Group on Nanomedicines (prof. Stefaan De Smedt, prof. Katrien Remaut & prof. Koen Raemdonck). Since 2015 he holds a position as Guest Professor at the University of Lille (France), and became a full professor at Ghent University in 2018. A first line of research involves the study of biological barriers of functional nanomaterials by advanced microscopy techniques. Apart from that there is also an interest in developing optics based methods for medical diagnostics. A recent important research field in the group is the usage of light as mediator for nanoparticle and drug delivery. For this work he was awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2015 (NANOBUBBLE, 2015-2020).

Research team

The Biophotonics Research Group is a multidisciplinary team of about 15 PhD students and post-doctoral researchers. An up to date overview can be found per research topic on this web page.

Key publications

  • Sizing nanomatter in biological fluids by fluorescence Single Particle Tracking. Nano Letters, 2010. (PMID: 20923181)
  • Turning a frown upside down: Exploiting nanoparticle toxicity for anticancer therapy. Nano Today, 2013.
  • On-chip light sheet illumination enables diagnostic size and concentration measurements of membrane vesicles in biofluids. Nanoscale, 2014. (PMID: 24346038)
  • Precisely and accurately localizing single emitters in fluorescence microscopy. Nature Methods, 2014. (PMID: 24577276)
  • Identification of Individual Exosome-Like Vesicles by Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy. Small, 2016. (PMID: 27171437)
  • Comparing photoporation and nucleofection for delivery of small interfering RNA to cytotoxic T cells. Journal of Controlled Release, 2017. (PMID: 28778478)
  • Fast spatial-selective delivery into live cells. Journal of Controlled Release, 2017. (PMID: 28965859)
  • Gold nanoparticle-mediated photoporation for delivering macromolecules in human CD4+ T cells. Crystals 9, Art. Nr. 411 (2019).
  • Protein delivery by vapor nanobubble photoporation controls cell death modalities in tumor cells. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2019.
  • Improved label-free identification of individual Exosome-Like Vesicles with Au@Ag Nanoparticles as SERS Substrate. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 2019. (PMID: 31584796)

Contact & links