prof. Rudi Beyaert (PhD)

CRIG group leader
Rudi Beyaert

Principal investigator - Unit of Molecular Signal Transduction in Inflammation, Inflammation Research Center, VIB
Associate department director - Inflammation Research Center, VIB
Full professor (Faculty of Sciences, UGent)
Head of the BCCM/GeneCorner Plasmid Collection (UGent)


Research focus

Our cancer research is situated at the intersection of cancer and inflammation. We study molecular signaling mechanisms (e.g. NF-kB signaling) in cancer cells and immune cells, which eventually contribute to the regulation of tumor cell proliferation and survival. In this context, we have identified the protease MALT1 as a novel therapeutic target, which directly (by mediating cancer cell proliferation) and indirectly (by mediating regulatory T cell expansion) contributes to cancer. We are also studying several cytokines (e.g. IL-33) and cytokine receptors that regulate innate and adaptive immune cells (e.g. regulatory T cells) in the tumor microenvironment. Finally, we are strongly interested in the molecular links between intestinal inflammation, intestinal motility, chronic constipation, microbial dysbiosis and colorectal cancer (subteam I. Afonina) as well as in the biological activity of certain secondary metabolites (subteam J. Staal). In our research we make use of several cellular models for preclinical evaluation of cancer drugs, as well as the mouse as an in vivo model to study cancer immunology and immunotherapy. Our technical approaches include several signaling assays, proteomics (focusing on protein-protein interactions and posttranslational modifications such as phosphorylation and ubiquitination), immunophenotyping, Treg expansion, mouse genetic engineering and mouse models of disease (colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, IBD, psoriasis, MS).


Rudi Beyaert is full professor at the University of Ghent (Belgium) and Deputy Director of the Center for Inflammation Research Center at the VIB. He is heading the Unit of Molecular Signal Transduction in Inflammation, whose mission is to study the molecular mechanisms that regulate inflammation and cancer. Major contributions to this topic include the discovery of the paracaspase MALT1 as a novel protease and therapeutic target. He has published over 300 papers that have been cited >26 000 times (h-index 85). Until now, 37 PhD students and 23 postdocs were trained in his lab. Rudi Beyaert received several awards, amongst which the five-yearly Prize of Fundamental Medical Sciences of the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine. He is on the editorial board of 'Biochemical Pharmacology' and 'The FEBS Journal', and serves as an expert panel member for multiple national and international science funding organizations, including the ERC.

Research team

  • prof. dr. Rudi Beyaert - principal investigator, full professor
  • prof. dr. Jens Staal (Ir. PhD) - assistant professor, team leader
  • dr. Inna Afonina (PhD) - team leader
  • dr. Simon Tavernier (MD, PhD) - post-doctoral fellow
  • Marieke Carels - doctoral fellow
  • Aigerim Aidarova - doctoral fellow
  • Femke De Meyer - doctoral fellow
  • Natalia Ferreras Moreno - doctoral fellow
  • Jill Steels - doctoral fellow
  • Femke Van Gaever - doctoral fellow
  • Yasmine Driege - lab technician
  • Mira Haegman - lab technician
  • Marja Kreike - lab technician

Key publications

  • CARD14 Signalling Ensures Cell Survival and Cancer Associated Gene Expression in Prostate Cancer Cells. Biomedicines. 2022 Aug 18;10(8):2008. PMID: 36009554 
  • Tumor-educated Tregs drive organ-specific metastasis in breast cancer by impairing NK cells in the lymph node niche. Cell Rep. 2022 Mar 1;38(9):110447. PMID: 35235800 
  • Inflammatory cell-derived CXCL3 promotes pancreatic cancer metastasis through a novel myofibroblast-hijacked cancer escape mechanism. Gut. 2022 Jan;71(1):129-147. PMID: 33568427 
  • Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) signaling in cancer and beyond. Biochem Pharmacol. 2021 Nov;193:114747. PMID: 34454931 
  • Cyclin D2 overexpression drives B1a-derived MCL-like lymphoma in mice. J Exp Med. 2021 Oct 4;218(10):e20202280. PMID: 34406363 
  • Analysis of T cells in mouse lymphoid tissue and blood with flow cytometry. STAR Protoc. 2021 Feb 20;2(1):100351. PMID: 33665631
  • Long-Term MALT1 Inhibition in Adult Mice Without Severe Systemic Autoimmunity. iScience. 2020 Sep 12;23(10):101557. PMID: 33083726 
  • Defining the combinatorial space of PKC::CARD-CC signal transduction nodes. FEBS J. 2021 Mar;288(5):1630-1647. PMID: 32790937 
  • ST2 as checkpoint target for colorectal cancer immunotherapy. JCI Insight. 2020 May 7;5(9):e136073. PMID: 32376804 
  • MALT1 targeting suppresses CARD14-induced psoriatic dermatitis in mice. EMBO Rep. 2020 Jul 3;21(7):e49237. PMID: 32343482
  • Molecular mechanisms of IL-33-mediated stromal interactions in cancer metastasis. JCI Insight. 2018 Oct 18;3(20). PMID: 30333314.
  • Inflammation and NF-κB Signaling in Prostate Cancer: Mechanisms and Clinical Implications. Cells. 2018 Aug 29;7(9). PMID: 30158439.
  • T cell antigen receptor stimulation induces MALT1 paracaspase-mediated cleavage of the NF-kappaB inhibitor A20. Nat Immunol. 2008 Mar;9(3):263-71. PMID: 18223652 

Contact & links