Sophie Van Hoyweghen

CRIG member
Sophie Van Hoyweghen

Doctoral fellow – Lab for cancer predisposition and precision oncology, Center for Medical Genetics Ghent (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UGent) & Family Lab (Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, UGent)
Principal investigator: prof. Kathleen Claes (PhD)


Research focus

My research focuses on the psychosocial aspects of genetic testing for cancer predisposition syndromes (CPS) in children and is part of the multidisciplinary “DHECIPR” project.
Preliminary studies reveal that genetic testing in pediatric oncology is of great interest to families. While there is a good deal of information available on the psychosocial impact of childhood cancer on the one hand, and on the psychosocial impact of adult late onset hereditary cancer syndromes (e.g., HBOC and Lynch syndrome) on the other hand, there is only limited data available on the psychosocial impact of hereditary cancer syndromes in children. As genetic testing has potential implications for both patients and their family members (parents, siblings), we involve the perspectives of the entire family system in this study. 

We examine:

  • the decision making process regarding genetic testing (I.e., the uptake of and reasons for (not) undergoing genetic testing)
  • the psychosocial impact of CPS among children and their family members ( on both the short- and long-term)
  • the perceived need for professional psychosocial support in the genetic testing process
  • the knowledge about genetics among families with a CPS and how this affects the advice given, uptake of and experience with regular surveillance for CPS

In order to fully capture how cancer genetics research influences each of the family members, a multi-method (systematic review, longitudinal survey, interviews) and multi-informant approach is used. 


  • Bachelor in Clinical Psychology, UGent (2016-2019)
  • Master in Clinical Psychology, UGent (2019-2021), master thesis on the psychological impact of pediatric cancer on siblings
  • Clinical psychologist at the oncology department in AZ Sint-Augustinus, after six months of internship (2020-2021)
  • Doctoral fellow at the lab of Kathleen Claes; researching the psychosocial aspects of genetic testing in pediatric cancer on children and their families

Contact & links