Joke Deschildre

CRIG member
Joke Deschildre

Doctoral student – Lab for Computational Biology, Integromics and Gene Regulation (CBIGR) - Department of Biomedical Molecular Biology, Faculty of Sciences & Department of Biomolecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UGent
Principal investigator: prof. Vanessa Vermeirssen (PhD)


Research focus

Examining the interactions between genes and other molecules within tumor tissue can reveal a robust view on complex disease dysregulation. These interactions can be modelled by networks, inferred from high-throughput sequencing data. Meanwhile, the medical world is steadily evolving from a one-treatment-for-all towards a precision medicine rationale where patients get an individual targeted treatment.

In my research, I intend to get a mechanistic understanding of (brain) tumors by the inference of single cell gene regulatory networks from transcriptome data. Additionally other omics data types e.g. epigenomics data are used for causality deduction as well as validation.

For a single patient, cell-state specific networks can be inferred which represent the regulatory networks of cells with distinct transcriptional programs. In Glioblastoma tumors, 4 different cell states are reported with multiple possible transitions between those cell states. In this way the cells are equipped to escape drug treatments and to develop resistance. The aim of my research is to represent the regulatory heterogeneity in glioblastoma between different patients and between  different cell states by single cell gene regulatory networks. In these networks key regulators and druggable network dependencies can be identified. My research hence enables the development of multi-target and personalized treatments for glioblastoma patients.


  • In 2020 I graduated as Master of Science in Bioinformatics, Main Subject Bioscience Engineering, at Ghent University. The topic of my dissertation was “Single-sample cancer network inference for identifying personal drug targets”.
  • In November 2020 I started my PhD at the CBIGR lab at Ghent University under supervision of Prof. Vanessa Vermeirssen.

Contact & links