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 P, Horré K, Arranz A, Sala Frigerio C, Saito T, Saido T, De Strooper BNATURE, 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* These authors contributed equally
Hallmarks of Alzheimer's Disease in Stem-Cell-Derived Human Neurons Transplanted into Mouse BrainEspuny Camacho I* Arranz A* Fiers M Snellinx A Ando K Munck S Bonnefont J Lambot L Corthout N Omodho L Vanden Eynden E Radaelli E Tesseur I Wray S Ebneth A Hardy J Leroy K Brion J Vanderhaeghen P* De Strooper B*NEURON, 93, 1066-1081 e8, 2017* These authors contributed equally
The Cellular Phase of Alzheimer's DiseaseDe Strooper B, Karran ECELL, 164, 603-15, 2016
PINK1 loss-of-function mutations affect mitochondrial complex I activity via NdufA10 ubiquinone uncouplingMorais Epifânio V, Haddad D, Craessaerts K, De Bock P, Swerts J, Vilain S, Aerts L, Overbergh L, Grünewald A, Seibler P, Klein C, Gevaert K, Verstreken P, De Strooper BSCIENCE, 344, 203-7, 2014

Job openings


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.

Failed Alzheimer’s test shows in which direction the research should continue

06/11/2014 - ​Disappointing results in clinical Alzheimer’s studies discourage scientists from continuing their research. Alzheimer’s expert Bart De Strooper argues that these studies are not pointless, but merely indicate what the next steps should be.

Zebrafish help to unravel Alzheimer’s disease

19/08/2014 - A new by VIB/KU Leuven scientists gives new knowledge about the regulation of stem cells in the nerve tissue of zebrafish embryos results in surprising insights into neurodegenerative disease processes in the human brain.

Lack of energy at the basis of Parkinson’s Disease - the molecular mechanism unraveled

25/06/2014 - Vanessa Morais and Bart De Strooper (VIB/KU Leuven) demonstrated how a defect in the PINK1 gene causes Parkinson’s disease.

New discoveries place lack of energy at the basis of Parkinson’s Disease

20/03/2014 - Neuroscientists Vanessa Moraïs and Bart De Strooper from VIB and KU Leuven have demonstrated how a defect in the gene Pink1 results in Parkinson’s disease.

How competitive is VIB's neuroscience research

15/06/2013 - How competitive is VIB neuroscience research?

New insights contradict promising Alzheimer's research

23/05/2013 - Technical comment of Bart De Strooper on the article about bexarotene as a potential Alzheimer’s drug published in Science approximately a year ago.

Prevention is better than cure. Also for Alzheimer’s disease!

01/02/2013 - On Monday 4 February, Dennis J. Selkoe and five other “brain teasers” will receive an honorary doctorate from the KU Leuven.

LRRK2 control of synapse - a delicate balancing exercise

14/12/2012 - Until now, it was not clearly understood how LRRK2 regulated synaptic function necessary in the treatment of Parkinson’s. This situation has now been remedied by Samer Matta from the Bart De Strooper lab, in collaboration with the Patrik Verstreken lab.

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