Sofie Vercammen

CRIG member
Sofie Vercammen

Doctoral Fellow - Surgical Oncology, Department of Small Animals (Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, UGent)
Principal investigator: prof. Hilde De Rooster (PhD)


Research focus

Surgery is often the primary treatment of sarcomas in pets but is complicated by the difficulty in distinguishing cancer cells from healthy tissue. This challenge arises due to cancer cells infiltrating nearby tissues or forming metastases. Near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent contrast imaging, which is already in use in human oncology, could improve this by making cancer cells visible during surgery. This method involves using a marker that attaches to cancer cells, making them stand out from healthy cells during surgery. 

For a specific type of cancer known as hemangiosarcoma, this imaging could also detect metastases that are otherwise hard to find. Traditional biomarker detection methods have limitations due to the size of the molecules used. However, recent research has shown that smaller molecules like nanobodies can be effective in human and canine cancers. They penetrate tumor tissues better and offer advantages like stability, quick clearance, ease of engineering, and low production cost, making them promising for cancer imaging and surgery. 

My research project is centered on identifying a specific biomarker for metastatic (splenic) hemangiosarcoma in canines. The objective is to enhance surgical results through the application of fluorescence-guided surgery (FGS). This approach is grounded in both the veterinary expertise and clinical trials conducted at the Soft Tissue Department of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Ghent University.


I graduated as a veterinary surgeon from Ghent University's Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation, I began working as a field veterinarian specializing in small animals, primarily in private practice. My work mainly involved a variety of cases, with a special emphasis on oncology, which enhanced my veterinary skills and deepened my knowledge in animal health and welfare. Currently, I am pursuing a PhD at the Soft Tissue Department of Veterinary Medicine at Ghent University, focusing my research on the complex aspects of canine hemangiosarcoma.

Contact & links

  • Lab Address: Soft Tissue Surgery, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, entrance 75, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium 
  • Member of the Consortium for Sarcoma Research Ghent (ConSaRGhent)
  • Sofie Vercammen is interested to receive invitations for presentations or talks