prof. Roosmarijn Vandenbroucke (PhD)

CRIG group leader
Roosmarijn Vandenbroucke

Principal investigator – VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research – Barriers in Inflammation lab (VIB) 
Full professor – Department of Biomedical molecular biology, Faculty of Sciences (UGent) 


Research focus

Tight barriers play a crucial role in safeguarding the brain against external threats such as toxins, infectious agents, and fluctuations in peripheral blood. These barriers are integral to the brain's homeostasis mechanism, ensuring a well-regulated microenvironment around synapses and axons within the central nervous system (CNS). Despite being relatively understudied, the choroid plexus epithelium (ChPE), which constitutes the blood-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) barrier, is a significant and unique single layer of epithelial cells positioned at the interface between blood and CSF. Changes in the ChPE, reflected in alterations to the CSF composition, exert profound effects on the brain, impacting disease progression. Consequently, comprehending the functionality of the blood-CSF barrier under both physiological and pathophysiological conditions holds promise for unveiling novel therapeutic strategies aimed at addressing inflammatory diseases and brain tumors. Furthermore, these barriers impede the efficient delivery of therapeutics to the brain, despite the presence of diverse transport mechanisms designed to facilitate controlled nutrient and protein passage from blood to CSF. As such, exploring ways to overcome these barriers is imperative for enhancing the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions in the context of brain disorders.

We currently have different research lines:

  • Examination of key processes at the blood-CSF barrier involved in brain diseases. We aim to identify pivotal molecules and cells implicated in the detrimental processes activated at the blood-CSF barrier during inflammation. Specifically, we delve into the factors influencing barrier integrity, extracellular vesicles (exosomes), immune cell trafficking and the acute phase response.
  • The ChP as the body-to-brain axis link. We aim to ascertain the ChP's potential role as the crucial connection in the body-to-brain axis. This stems from the unique positioning of the ChP between the bloodstream and the brain. We investigate whether peripheral inflammatory triggers, particularly within the gastrointestinal system, exert an impact on the ChP. This exploration seeks to elucidate whether such influences heighten the susceptibility to the development of neuroinflammatory diseases.
  • The blood-CSF barrier as a therapeutic delivery route. Here, we aim to enhance our understanding of the potential avenues for delivering therapeutic agents to the CNS, thereby advancing the development of targeted treatment strategies, focusing on a.o. Alzheimer’s disease and brain tumors.

Research team

  • Prof. Roosmarijn Vandenbroucke (PhD) – principal investigator, full professor
  • dr. Sylvie De Buck (PhD) - administration
  • dr. Charysse Vandendriessche (PhD) – post-doctoral fellow
  • dr. Lien Van Hoecke (PhD) – post-doctoral fellow
  • Pieter Dujardin – doctoral fellow
  • Joyce Foroozandeh – doctoral fellow
  • Lize De Vlieger – doctoral fellow
  • Sofie Fouquaert – doctoral fellow
  • Lien Cools – doctoral fellow
  • Laure Maes – doctoral fellow
  • Hannah Lernout – doctoral fellow
  • Xenia Ghysel – doctoral fellow
  • Lore Van Acker – doctoral fellow
  • Elien Van Wonterghem – technician
  • Griet Van Imschoot – technician
  • Jonas Castelein – technician
  • Nele Vanderroost – technician
  • Clint De Nolf – bioinformatician 

Contact & links

  • Lab address: Technologiepark-Zwijnaarde 71, 9052 Gent
  • Vandenbroucke lab  
  • LinkedIn 
  • X (former Twitter) 
  • Google Scholar 
  • Prof. Vandenbroucke is
    - Board member BBBelgium (Brain Barriers Belgium network)
    - Board member BeSEV (Belgium society of extracellular vesicles)
    - Member Young Academy (2020-2025)
  • Prof. Vandenbroucke can provide specific platforms or services for other researchers: 
    - Mouse models of gut and neuroinflammation
    - In vitro brain organoids and brain barrier models
    - Brain delivery of therapeutics
  • Prof. Vandenbroucke is interested to receive invitations for presentations or talks