prof. Lars Vereecke (PhD)

CRIG group leader
Lars Vereecke

Principal investigator – Host-Microbiota Interaction lab
Assistant professor – Tenure Track (Department of Rheumatology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UGent).
Coordinator of the ‘Ghent Gut Inflammation Group’ (GGIG)
Coordinator of the Ghent Germfree and Gnotobiotic mouse facility
Project leader at ‘Center for Inflammation Research’ (IRC – VIB) 


Research focus

The ‘Host-Microbiota-interaction lab’ (HMI) focuses on how the microbiota (the collection of micro-organisms in and on our body) contribute to health and disease.
We mainly study the intestinal microbiota, and how it shapes the immune system in steady state, and how disturbances in the intestinal microbiota may contribute to immune disorders and cancer.
In addition, the gut microbiota composition is a determining factor in many anti-cancer therapies, most notably immune-checkpoint inhibition therapies.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most prevalent cancers in Western society, and microbiota abnormalities have been causally linked to CRC development and progression, through mechanisms which are insufficiently understood.
Using germfree and gnotobiotic mouse models of human disease (including CRC), the HMI lab tries to unravel the mechanisms by which microbiota affect disease development, both positively as negatively.
It has become increasingly clear that the gut microbiota is a central regulator of health and disease, affects both cancer development and therapy response.
We therefore believe that microbiota interventions open new perspectives for both cancer prevention and therapy. 


I obtained my PhD at Ghent University in 2011 on innate immunity in gastrointestinal homeostasis, and stayed as postdoc in the lab of Prof. Geert van Loo. In 2016 I was appointed as assistant professor (Tenure track) at the Department of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Ghent University, and in 2021 I was tenured as associate professor. The HMI lab is part the ‘Center for Inflammation Research’ (IRC), a VIB department. My main research focus is understanding the complex host-microbe interactions during homeostasis and disease, with a specific focus on colorectal cancer development, using transgenic mouse models and germ-free mouse technology. In this respect, I am coordinating the first Belgian ‘germfree and gnotobiotic mouse facility’ at Ghent University. I am also coordinator of a research consortium at Ghent University focusing on intestinal inflammation the ‘Ghent Gut Inflammation Group’ (GGIG). I have a broad general interest in immunology and cancer, and general health related science. In addition, I am teaching ‘molecular cell biology’ and ‘biomedical physiology’ at Ghent University.

Research team

Key publications

  • Zeb2 drives invasive and microbiota-dependent colon carcinoma. 2020. Nature Cancer.
  • Physical and functional interaction between A20 and ATG16L1-WD40 domain in the control of intestinal homeostasis. 2019. Nat Commun 23;10(1):1834.
  • A20 controls intestinal homeostasis through cellspecific activities. 2014. Nat Commun., 5(2014):5103.
  • RIPK1 ensures intestinal homeostasis by protecting the epithelium against apoptosis. 2014. Nature 513(7516):95-9.
  • Enterocyte-specific A20 deficiency sensitizes to tumor necrosis factor-induced toxicity and experimental colitis. 2010. J Exp Med 207: 1513-1523.

Contact & links

  • Lab Address: Host-Microbiota Interaction lab (HMI), VIB Center for Inflammation Research, Department of Rheumatology, campus UZ Gent, Corneel Heymanslaan 10, MRBII building (entrance 38), 9000 Ghent, Belgium
  • Lars Vereecke lab
  • GGIG
  • LinkedIn
  • X (former Twitter)
  • Researchgate
  • Lars Vereecke is interested to receive invitations for presentations or talks