Christine Van Broeckhoven Lab

Research focus

The Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases (NBD) group aims to enhance the molecular understanding of complex neurodegenerative dementias and related disorders.

The group leader, Prof. Dr. Christine Van Broeckhoven, PhD, DSc, has a primary research focus on neurogenetics of early-onset dementia, biosampling and biobanking, molecular diagnostics and translational research. The Staff Scientists contribute with diverse expertise:  Prof. Dr. Kristel Sleegers, MD PhD has expertise in genetic neuro-epidemiology and statistical genetics and primarily focusses on Alzheimer disease; Prof. Dr. Jurgen Del-Favero is specialized in developing molecular genomics tools;  Prof. Dr. Julie van der Zee, PhD has expertise in neurogenetics with focus on frontotemporal dementia, and Prof. Dr. Marc Cruts, PhD is specialized in genomics with a special interest in non-coding DNA and genetic modifiers.

The NBD group has a strong tradition in biobanking and biosampling. Through the coordination of national and international neurology networks, we systematically collect large cohorts of patients for advanced molecular genetic studies aimed at elucidating the genetic etiology and molecular complexity of dementia. We are especially skilled in sampling large (founder) families for genetic studies aiming at identifying novel disease genes for early-onset dementia. We put special emphasis on targeted collection of selected patient cohorts with an apparent high genetic load such as rare but well-documented families, nuclear families with at least two affected family members; (founder) pedigrees with marked variability in disease penetrance and expression; patients with extreme or distinctive endophenotypes (e.g. very early onset age or unusual combination of symptoms).

In these distinct and large patient cohorts with unique genetic heritage, we employ advanced genetic and genomic approaches including whole exome and genome sequencing, large-scale targeted re-sequencing and RNA sequencing to identify rare highly penetrant mutations, and risk and disease modifying genetic variations. Novel key genes and proteins are studied to unravel the underlying biological pathways with the objective to identify key molecular events and therapeutic targets for CNS neurodegeneration. Targets that define the onset of pathology will constitute prime markers for early diagnosis.
 
Our ultimate goal is to use our enhanced understanding of the neuropathological signatures of dementia and neurodegeneration to generate diagnostic and therapeutic strategies that are specifically tailored to our well-characterized family and patient cohorts. Eventually these translational findings will be able to be transmitted to the general patient population.

> video on basic research on the need to prevent dementia and alzheimer - Christine Van Broeckhoven - ©VIB, 2015​

All publications of Christine Van Broeckhoven on PubMed

All publications of Marc Cruts on PubMed

All publications of Kristel Sleegers on PubMed

All publications of Julie van der Zee on PubMed

Publications

Mutations in ABCA7 in a Belgian cohort of Alzheimer's disease patients: a targeted resequencing studyCuyvers E, De Roeck A, Van den Bossche T, Van Cauwenberghe C, Bettens K, Vermeulen S, Mattheijssens M, Peeters K, Engelborghs S, Vandenbulcke M, Vandenberghe R, De Deyn P, Van Broeckhoven C, Sleegers KLANCET NEUROLOGY, 14, 814-822, 2015
A 22-single nucleotide polymorphism Alzheimer's disease risk score correlates with family history, onset age, and cerebrospinal fluid Abeta42Sleegers K* Bettens K* De Roeck A Van Cauwenberghe C Cuyvers E Verheijen J Struyfs H Van Dongen J Vermeulen S Engelborghs S Vandenbulcke M Vandenberghe R De Deyn P Consortium B Van Broeckhoven CAlzheimers & Dementia, 11, 1452-60, 2015* These authors contributed equally
A C9orf72 promoter repeat expansion in a Flanders-Belgian cohort with disorders of the frontotemporal lobar degeneration-amyotrophic lateral sclerosis spectrum: a gene identification studyGijselinck I, Van Langenhove T, van der Zee J, Sleegers K, Philtjens S, Kleinberger G, Janssens J, Bettens K, Van Cauwenberghe C, Pereson S, Engelborghs S, Sieben A, De Jonghe P, Vandenberghe R, Santens P, De Bleecker J, Maes G, Bäumer V, Dillen L, Joris G, Cuijt I, Corsmit E, Elinck E, Van Dongen J, Vermeulen S, Van den Broeck M, Vaerenberg C, Mattheijssens M, Peeters K, Robberecht W, Cras P, Martin J, De Deyn P, Cruts M, Van Broeckhoven CLANCET NEUROLOGY, 11, 54-65, 2012

Job openings

News

Children of patients with C9orf72 mutations are at a greater risk of frontotemporal dementia or ALS at a younger age

14/02/2017 - Researchers from VIB and UAntwerp, headed by Prof. Christine Van Broeckhoven, have demonstrated that if an affected parent passes on this mutation, the children will be affected at a younger age (than the parent).

Ilse Gijselinck wins Dr. Karel-Lodewijk Verleysen award

03/12/2016 - The Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine has granted the Dr. Karel-Lodewijk Verleysen award to Ilse Gijselinck, postdoc at the VIB Department of Molecular Genetics (University of Antwerp).

Important role of nucleocytoplasmic transport in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia

12/02/2016 - Moreover, these insights have a solid basis, since they come from 4 different scientific angles. It is an important next step in our understanding of these terrible diseases.”

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.

Christine Van Broeckhoven given prestigious MetLife award for medical research worth $ 250,000

15/05/2012 - On Tuesday, May 15, in New York, the MetLife Foundation handed its annual Award for Medical Research to Christine Van Broeckhoven, of VIB and Universiteit Antwerpen, for her pioneering research on Alzheimer's disease and related disorders.

Christine Van Broeckhoven wins the European Inventor Award 2011

19/05/2011 - For her contributions to neuropathological medicine, Christine Van Broeckhoven received the European Inventor Award 2011.

Christine Van Broeckhoven to be knighted

02/02/2009 - On 6 February, renowned scientific researcher Christine Van Broeckhoven is to receive the insignia of Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur at the French embassy. The Légion d’honneur, established by Napoleon, is the highest honorary decoration in France.

Christine Van Broeckhoven - Europe’s winner of the prestigious l’Oréal – Unesco Award for Women in Science

03/03/2006 - On 2 March 2006, Christine Van Broeckhoven received the prestigious ‘l’Oréal-Unesco Award for Women in Science’, which includes a monetary award of $100,000.

Christine Van Broeckhoven

Christine Van Broeckhoven

Research area(s)

Model organism(s)

Bio

​​PhD: Univ. of Antwerp, Belgium, 1980
D.Sc. Molecular Genetics: Univ. of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium, 1994
VIB Group leader since 1996
VIB Science Director since 1996
Professor, Univ. of Antwerp since 1997
Full Professor, Univ. of Antwerp since 1999

Contact Info

VIB-UAntwerp Center for Molecular NeurologyGebouw VCampus Drie EikenUniversiteitsplein 1 2610 ANTWERPENRoute description