prof. Kevin Braeckmans (PhD)

CRIG member
Kevin Braeckmans

Full professor (faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, UGent)
Principal investigator and co-director – Lab. General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy (UGent)
Group leader - Biophotonics Research Group (UGent)
Chairman and member of Ghent Light Microscopy (GLiM) CORE (UGent)
Member of BIOMARKED Steering Committee 


Research focus

Research of the Biophotonics Research Group is structured along three major themes:

  • investigating the interaction of nanomedicines with biological barriers, in which advanced light microscopy techniques play a crucial role
  • optics-based biomedical diagnostics
  • light-triggered delivery of functional compounds into cells and other tissues 

Several of our projects link to cancer research, e.g. optical fingerprinting of cancer-related extracellular vesicles from liquid biopsies and safe engineering of therapeutic cells (e.g. T-cells) with optical technologies. More information can be found on this group’s webpage .

Expertise to offer

Expertise Ghent Light Microscopy (GLiM) CORE: The microscopy centre aims to provide high end instrumentation and expertise thereby making light microscopy accessible for researches independently of their experience level. The centre facilitates microscopy experiments to ensure high-quality scientific research where light microscopy plays an indispensable role.
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Having obtained a Licentiate degree in Physics at Ghent University (Belgium) in 1999, Kevin Braeckmans joined the Laboratory of General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy (Ghent University) to perform research on advanced optical microscopy methods for pharmaceutical applications. During his Ph.D. he was involved in the development of a new type of encoded microcarriers for diagnostic applications, for which he received the first price for Young Biotechnology Researchers from the Funds of Biotechnology (FBBF, Belgium) in 2005. In 2004 he received a post-doctoral fellowship from the Fund for Scientific Research – Flanders, focusing on single particle tracking microscopy, during which time he was a visiting postdoctoral at the Christophe Bräuchle lab, Physikalische Chemie I, Ludwich Maximilians University Munich.
In 2008 he was appointed as professor at Ghent University where he is currently leading the Bio-Photonics Research Group in close collaboration with the Ghent Research Group on Nanomedicines (prof. Stefaan De Smedt, prof. Katrien Remaut & prof. Koen Raemdonck). Since 2015 he holds a position as Guest Professor at the University of Lille (France), and became a full professor at Ghent University in 2018. A first line of research involves the study of biological barriers of functional nanomaterials by advanced microscopy techniques. Apart from that there is also an interest in developing optics based methods for medical diagnostics. A recent important research field in the group is the usage of light as mediator for nanoparticle and drug delivery. This work was funded by a prestegious ERC Consolidator Grant (NANOBUBBLE, 2015-2020) and an ERC Proof of Concept Grant (INTRACYTE, 2021-2022). In 2021 he co-founded the spin-off company Trince to bring related technology for safe engineering of cells (e.g. CAR T cells) to the market.

Research team

The Biophotonics Research Group is a multidisciplinary team of about 15 PhD students and post-doctoral researchers. An up to date overview can be found per research topic on this web page.

Key publications

  • Sizing nanomatter in biological fluids by fluorescence Single Particle Tracking. Nano Letters 10, 4435-4442 (2010).
  • Dynamic Colocalization Microscopy to Characterize Intracellular Trafficking of Nanomedicines. ACS Nano 5, 7874-7884 (2011).
  • Precisely and accurately localizing single emitters in fluorescence microscopy. Nature Methods 11, 253-266 (2014).
  • Identification of Individual Exosome-Like Vesicles by Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy. Small 12, 3292-3301 (2016).
  • Sizing nanomaterials in bio-fluids by cFRAP enables protein aggregation measurements and diagnosis of bio-barrier permeability. Nat. Comm. 7, Article Number 12982 (2016).
  • Endosomal Size and Membrane Leakiness Influence Proton Sponge-Based Rupture of Endosomal Vesicles. ACS Nano 12, 2332-2345 (2018).
  • Laser-Induced Vapour Nanobubbles Improve Drug Diffusion and Efficiency in Bacterial Biofilms. Nature Communications 9, Article Number 4518 (2018).
  • Intracellular delivery of mRNA in adherent and suspension cells by vapor nanobubble photoporation. Nano-Micro Lett. 12, Article Number 185 (2020).
  • Photoporation with biodegradable polydopamine nanosensitizers enables safe and efficient delivery of mRNA in human T cells. Adv. Funct. Mater. 33, Art. 2102472 (2021).
  • Photothermal nanofibers enable safe engineering of therapeutic cells. Nat. Nanotechnol. 16, 1281-1291 (2021).
  • Light-Triggered Nanobombs: Nanoscale Biolistics for Efficient Intracellular Delivery of Functional Macromolecules in Mammalian Cells. Nat. Comm. 13, Art nr. 1996 (2022).

Contact & links