Stephane Van Haver

CRIG member
Stephane Van Haver

Doctoral fellow - Lab for paediatric oncogenomics, Center for Medical Genetics (UGent)
Principal investigator: prof. Frank Speleman (PhD)


Research focus

Neuroblastoma (NB) is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous paediatric tumour arising from sympatho-adrenergic neuronal lineage progenitors (hSAPs). While currently the prognosis acute T-cell leukemia patients has improved  significantly by combination chemotherapy, survival rates for high risk NB are still disappointingly low. Therefore, there is an urgent medical need to better understand the biology of this enigmatic disease and exploit novel routes for more efficient and less toxic intervention. NB is a mutationally silent, DNA copy number driven childhood tumors, with 17q gain almost invariably present in high-risk cases. Thus far, the functional role of large chromosomal imbalances such as 17q gain in the presence or absence of MYCN amplification has not been explored. 

I will develop a human embryonic stem cell derived neuroblastoma tumour model, which will provide the most physiological relevant cells of origin to introduce genetic changes underlying NB formation. Using these cells I will characterize the functional effect of 17q gain (in the presence or absence of MYCN) to unravel its role in NB development. The model will also allow to test novel cooperative oncogenes in NB development, and as such identify putative candidate targets for therapy and develop improved therapeutic regimens.


I obtained the diploma for my Honours programme in Life Sciences (Ugent 2016) and graduated as Master of Biomedical sciences (UGent 2018). Subsequently I became a doctoral fellow (2018 to current) under supervision of prof. Frank Speleman.

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