Bart De Strooper Lab

Research focus

​We investigate the basic mechanisms causing Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease starting from the genetic forms of these disorders. 
For Alzheimer’s disease we focus on the secretases which are proteases that cleave the amyloid peptide from the amyloid precursor protein. The amyloid peptide is the main constituent of the plaques in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The secretases are not only important drug targets, but they are also involved in the regulation of important signaling processes most notoriously Notch signaling.

For Parkinson’s disease we investigate the effect of mutations in the genes Pink1, Lrrk2 and Parl-1 on brain function.

We use  in all our work transgenic approaches  primary cultures of neurons and biochemistry, sophisticated imaging and molecular biology to address our questions. We are also strongly committed to collaboration with industry to generate novel drugs for these devastating disorders.


PLD3 gene and processing of APPFazzari Pietro Horré Katrien Arranz Amaia Sala Frigerio Carlo Saito T Saido T De Strooper BartNATURE, 541, E1-E2, 2017
Alzheimer's-Causing Mutations Shift Abeta Length by Destabilizing gamma-Secretase-Abetan InteractionsSzaruga M Munteanu B Lismont S Veugelen S Horré K Mercken M Saido T Ryan N De Vos T Savvides S Gallardo R Schymkowitz J Rousseau F Fox N Hopf C De Strooper B* Chávez Gutiérrez L*CELL, 170, 443-456 e14, 2017* or °: authors contributed equally
Hallmarks of Alzheimer's Disease in Stem-Cell-Derived Human Neurons Transplanted into Mouse BrainEspuny Camacho Ira* Arranz Amaia@ Fiers Mark Snellinx An Ando Kunie Munck Sebastian Bonnefont Jerome Lambot Laurie Corthout Nikky Omodho Lorna Vanden Eynden Elke Radaelli Enrico Tesseur Ina Wray Selina Ebneth Andreas Hardy John Leroy Karelle Brion Jean-Pierre Vanderhaeghen Pierre@ De Strooper Bart@NEURON, 93, 1066-1081 e8, 2017* or °: authors contributed equally@: corresponding authors
The Cellular Phase of Alzheimer's DiseaseDe Strooper Bart Karran ECELL, 164, 603-15, 2016
PINK1 loss-of-function mutations affect mitochondrial complex I activity via NdufA10 ubiquinone uncouplingMorais Epifânio Vanessa Haddad Dominik Craessaerts Katleen De Bock Pieter-Jan Swerts Jef Vilain Sven Aerts Liesbeth Overbergh Lut Grünewald A Seibler P Klein C. Gevaert Kris Verstreken Patrik De Strooper BartSCIENCE, 344, 203-7, 2014

Job openings


Alzheimer risk genes converge on microglia

18/03/2020 - Team led by Bart De Strooper (VIB-KU Leuven) and Mark Fiers show that many of risk factors affect brain maintenance cells called microglia & more particularly their response to amyloid-beta.

18 of the world’s most influential researchers at VIB

20/11/2019 - Each year, Clarivate analytics identifies the world’s most influential researchers who have been cited most frequently by their peers over the last decade. No less than 18 VIB researchers are part of this highly acclaimed group of influential scientists.

Studying the human brain in mice

30/10/2019 - The human brain is a tricky study subject. Brain scans are still limited in resolution and the knowledge they can provide, and in vitro approaches are not yet able to fully replicate the important micro-environment of brain cells.

Towards a safer treatment for leukemia

29/05/2019 - An international team of researchers at VIB-KU Leuven, Belgium, the UK Dementia Institute and the Children’s Cancer Institute, Australia, have found a safer treatment for a specific type of leukemia.

Do ‘microglia’ hold the key to stop Alzheimer’s disease?

30/04/2019 - A Leuven research team led by Prof. Bart De Strooper (VIB-KU Leuven, UK DRI) studied how specialized brain cells called microglia respond to the accumulation of toxic proteins in the brain, a feature typical of Alzheimer’s.

5 VIB researchers receive an exceptional ERC Advanced grant

27/03/2019 - The European Research Council is unique in its kind in Europe supporting individual top researchers from anywhere in the world for 5 years. Five VIB researchers have been awarded this competitive & widely acknowledged benchmarks of scientific excellence

9 VIB researchers received funding from the Alzheimer Foundation

21/03/2019 - VIB is very grateful to the Alzheimer Research Foundation for funding the researchers received, which helps them in their quest for cures. The ​Foundation has been fighting Alzheimer's disease for years and is working on a future without dementia.

Researchers answer decades-old question about protein found in Alzheimer’s brain plaques

10/01/2019 - A team of scientists at VIB and KU Leuven led by professors Joris de Wit and Bart De Strooper has now uncovered that this amyloid precursor protein modulates neuronal signal transmission through binding to a specific receptor.

New mouse model reminiscent of Leigh syndrome sheds light on mechanisms of neurodegeneration

02/01/2019 - Leuven researchers led by professor Bart De Strooper (VIB-KU Leuven) have identified a new role for PARL, a protein that has been linked to Parkinson’s disease.

New VIB Facts Series: Alzheimer

21/09/2017 - Today on World Alzheimer Day we are proud to present latest edition of our Facts Series, which zooms in on Alzheimer research.

Novel perspectives on anti-amyloid treatment for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease

27/07/2017 - For decades researches have been investigating the underlying foundations of Alzheimer’s disease to provide clues for the design of a successful therapy. VIB-KU Leuven scientists have published breakthrough insights in the prestigious journal Cell.

Human neurons in mouse brains are more susceptible to Alzheimer’s pathology

24/02/2017 - To study effects of Alzheimer’s disease in natural environment, Bart De Strooper (VIB-KU Leuven) and team, in collaboration with ULB scientists, successfully circumscribed challenge by transplanting human neural cells into mouse brains

Alzheimer’s research needs a new theoretical framework

17/05/2016 - According to Bart De Strooper (VIB/KU Leuven), it is unlikely that molecular genetics or molecular cell biology will continue to broaden our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) the way it has done over the last twenty years.

Breakthrough research reveals a new target for Alzheimer's disease treatment

14/10/2015 - ​A research team led by Amantha Thathiah (VIB/KU Leuven) has determined that a protein – known as GPR3 – might play an important role in alleviating the cognitive deficits and reducing the generation of ‘amyloid plaques’.

Disruption of brain-blood barrier might influence progression of Alzheimer’s

29/09/2015 - The team of Roosmarijn Vandenbroucke in the Claude Libert Group (VIB/UGent) combined their knowledge and expertise related to inflammation with the expertise in Alzheimer’s disease present in the Bart De Strooper Group (VIB/KU Leuven).

Alzheimer’s-disease-related proteases, BACE1 and APH1B-y-secretase, control axonal guidance by regulating growth cone dynamics

14/09/2015 - ​BACE1 is the major drug target for Alzheimer’s disease. Soraia Barão and Bart De Strooper (VIB/KU Leuven) now show that this protease is critically involved in axonal guidance processes in thalamic and hippocampal neurons.

European scientists join forces for animal research

26/11/2014 - Scientists across Europe are rising against the proposal of Stop Vivisection to phase out animal experimentation in Europe.

Double gold for VIB and K.U.Leuven - Bart De Strooper and Peter Carmeliet awarded ERC grants totaling 5 million euro

18/11/2010 - VIB researchers Peter Carmeliet and Bart De Strooper have both been awarded Advanced Grants from the European Research Council. ERC Advanced Grants are the most prestigious European research grants, spanning a period of 5 years.

VIB announces collaboration in the battle against neurodegenerative disorders

11/10/2010 - VIB and Janssen R&D Neuroscience entered into an open-innovation collaboration to develop novel therapeutics for psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.

Ruelens-Van Gorp Foundation and VIB-K.U.Leuven establish chair for research into the neurological disorder dystonia

14/09/2010 - For the first time in Belgium, a private partner and an academic research institution have established a fund for research into a disease.

Amount of gene surplus determines severity of mental retardation in males

10/12/2009 - Researchers have discovered a new explanation for differences in the severity of mental illness in males. The more excess copies of a certain gene, the more serious the handicap.

Progress toward an Alzheimer’s drug that saves brain cells

19/04/2009 - VIB scientists connected to the K.U.Leuven have identified a molecule that can form the basis for a new therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. This is the first step toward a medicine that could actually stop the progress of Alzheimer’s.

New target for medicine to combat Alzheimer’s - VIB scientists confirm protein’s key role

12/02/2009 - VIB scientists connected to the Center for Human Genetics (K.U.Leuven) have demonstrated that a particular protein is extremely well suited to be a target for a new medicine against Alzheimer’s disease.

Revealing the regulating mechanism behind signal transduction in the brain

16/09/2008 - Revealing the regulating mechanism behind signal transduction in the brain

Incorrectly cleaved protein leads to schizophrenia

14/07/2008 - Incorrectly cleaved protein leads to schizophrenia

Ground-breaking new insight into the development of Alzheimer’s disease

22/04/2008 - Ground-breaking new insight into the development of Alzheimer’s disease

Bart De Strooper receives prestigious USD 200,000 Alzheimer Prize

29/02/2008 - Bart De Strooper (VIB, K.U.Leuven) has been playing a prominent role in researching the processes that underlie Alzheimer's disease and now he receives the MetLife Foundation’s USD 200,000 Alzheimer Prize.

Discovery of new cause of mental retardation simplifies search for treatments

24/01/2008 - Discovery of new cause of mental retardation simplifies search for treatments

Scientists identify protein with a crucial role in cell death

14/07/2006 - Scientists have now discovered the function of the PARL protein. By studying mice that are unable to produce PARL, the researchers have discovered the significance of this protein in controlled cell death

Bart De Strooper

Bart De Strooper

Research area(s)

Model organism(s)


​MD: Univ. of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, 1985
PhD: Univ. of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, 1992
Postdoc: EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany 1994
VIB Group leader since 1999
EMBO Member
Scientific Director, Dept. of Molecular and Developmental Genetics 2007-16

Contact Info

VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease ResearchO&N 4, 6e verdCampus GasthuisbergHerestraat 49, bus 602 3000 LEUVENRoute description
bart.destrooper@kuleuven.vib.bePhone: +32 16 37 32 46