Diether Lambrechts Lab

Research focus

​The Laboratory of Translational Genetics (LTG) at the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology headed by Prof. Diether Lambrechts is interested in the discovery of genetic or epigenetic markers, either as susceptibility factors for cancer development, as prognostic markers to improve the molecular genetic annotation of cancer or as predictive markers for targeted cancer therapies. In particular, our main interest lies in understanding which (epi)-genetic factors modulate hypoxia-driven tumorigenesis or predict response to therapies targeting hypoxia-driven oncogenesis, such as anti-angiogenic therapies.    ​​

One of our main research topics is to investigate how hypoxia influences the cancer epigenome, possibly by regulating TET hydroxylase activity and affecting DNA demethylation. Notably, TET hydroxylases belong to the same family of dioxygenases as the PHDs, which target hypoxia-inducible factors for degradation and are considered key mediators of the hypoxic response.​​​​​​​​


Phenotype molding of stromal cells in the lung tumor microenvironmentLambrechts D* Wauters E Boeckx B Aibar Santos S Nittner D Burton O Bassez A Decaluwé H Pircher A Van Den Eynde K Weynand B Verbeken E De Leyn P Liston A Vansteenkiste J Carmeliet P Aerts S Thienpont B*NATURE MEDICINE, 24, 1277-1289, 2018* or °: authors contributed equally
Copy number load predicts outcome of metastatic colorectal cancer patients receiving bevacizumab combination therapySmeets Dominiek Miller I O'connor D Das S Moran B Boeckx Bram Gaiser T Betge J Barat A Klinger R Van Grieken N. C Cremolini C Prenen H Mazzone Massimiliano Depreeuw Jeroen Bacon O Fender B Brady J Hennessy B Mcnamara D. A Kay E. Verheul H. M Maarten N Gallagher W. M Murphy V Prehn J. H Koopman M Punt C. J. A Loupakis F Ebert M. K Ylstra B Lambrechts Diether Byrne ANature Communications, 9, 4112, 2018
Ischemia-Induced DNA Hypermethylation during Kidney Transplant Predicts Chronic Allograft InjuryHeylen Line Thienpont Bernard Naesens M Busschaert P Depreeuw Jeroen Smeets Dominiek Jochmans I Monbaliu D Pirenne J Lerut E Ghesquière Bart Kuypers D. R Lambrechts Diether Sprangers BJOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF NEPHROLOGY, 29, 1566-1576, 2018
The role of fatty acid beta-oxidation in lymphangiogenesisWong B* Wang X* Zecchin A* Thienpont B Cornelissen I Kalucka J Garcia-Caballero M Missiaen R Huang H Brüning U Blacher S Vinckier S Goveia J Knobloch M Zhao H Dierkes C Shi C Hagerling R Moral-Darde V Wyns S Lippens M Jessberger S Fendt S Luttun A Noel A Kiefer F Ghesquière B Moons L Schoonjans L Dewerchin M Eelen G Lambrechts D Carmeliet PNATURE, 542, 49-54, 2017* or °: authors contributed equally
Tumour hypoxia causes DNA hypermethylation by reducing TET activityThienpont B* Steinbacher J* Zhao H* D'anna F* Kuchnio A Ploumakis A Ghesquière B Van Dyck L Boeckx B Schoonjans L Hermans E Amant F Kristensen V Koh K Mazzone M Coleman M Carell T Carmeliet P Lambrechts DNATURE, 537, 63-68, 2016* or °: authors contributed equally

Job openings


Diether Lambrechts receives ERC Proof of Concept grant

10/01/2020 - Diether Lambrechts (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology) has been awarded a Proof of Concept grant by the European Research Council.

Agilent Presents Thought Leader Award to Professor Diether Lambrechts

20/02/2019 - Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today announced that Professor Diether Lambrechts from the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology has received an Agilent Thought Leader Award in support of his research in cancer genomics.

Revolutionary molecular diagnostic cancer test

24/11/2018 - Biocartis launched a fast, accurate msi assay on its idylla™ platform, offering the Potential to predict effective cancer treatment options.

Scientists identify chromosomal instability as a novel predictive biomarker for cancer drug Avastin

10/10/2018 - The study, led by researchers at RCSI and the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology in Belgium, is a further important step in the global effort to move towards a more personalised treatment approach for colorectal cancer patients

Biocartis launches innovative Idylla™ MSI Assay

17/07/2018 - Idylla™ MSI Assay further strengthens Biocartis’ test menu and offers opportunities to enter the immuno-oncology testing market

Scientists create a complete atlas of lung tumor cells

09/07/2018 - Researchers from VIB, Leuven University and University Hospital Leuven studied thousands of healthy and cancerous lung cells to create the first comprehensive atlas of lung tumor cells.

Major study of genetics of breast cancer provides clues to mechanisms behind the disease

23/10/2017 - Seventy-two new genetic variants that contribute to the risk of developing breast cancer have been identified by a major international collaboration involving hundreds of researchers worldwide.

VIB pushes the boundaries of science to develop new diagnostic tools

27/07/2017 - With their world-leading strengths in molecular research and biotechnology, various VIB labs are paving the way for novel diagnostic tools that will reduce disease burden and save lives by making disease diagnosis better, faster and more flexible.

Metastatic breast cancers: Characterising the profile of metastases for improved treatment

24/04/2017 - ​Researchers at the Jules Bordet Institute, ULB, VIB and KU Leuven published a study offering a better understanding of the progression of breast cancer. The conclusions could have an impact on care for patients suffering from a metastatic breast cancer

Multidisciplinary approach for groundbreaking study on tumor epigenetics

29/10/2016 - A group of researchers lead by Diether Lambrechts (VIB-KU Leuven) explored the mechanisms that cause increased levels of methylation in tumor genes — information that is vital to the adaptation of therapies to fight different types of tumors.

Normalizing tumor oxygen supply could be key factor in the fight against cancer

17/08/2016 - ​The lack of oxygen in tumor cells changes the cells’ gene expression, thereby contributing to the growth of cancer. This is the main conclusion of a research project led by professor Diether Lambrechts and Dr. Bernard Thienpont (VIB-KU Leuven).

Researchers at VIB, ULB, KU Leuven uncover new genetic alterations in development of skin cell carcinoma

13/07/2015 - “These results will be the foundation of many future studies on the genetic aberrations controlling cancer development” - Diether Lambrechts, VIB-KU Leuven

ERC-grants for three VIB scientists: boost for innovative research

09/12/2013 - ERC-grants grants for three VIB scientists: boost for innovative research

VIB licenses software from Real Time Genomics

01/10/2010 - ​VIB has licensed the RTG v2 Software from Real Time Genomics, for variant detection with Complete Genomics data.

Genetic basis of gynecological cancers

19/09/2010 - Diether Lambrechts identified – in collaboration with several international teams – susceptibility loci for different gynecological cancers. Their findings resulted in three Nature Genetics papers.

Diether Lambrechts

Diether Lambrechts

Research area(s)

Model organism(s)


​​Bio-Ir.: Univ. of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, 1999
PhD: Univ. of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, 2003
Postdoc.: Vesalius Research Center, Univ. of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, 2003-07
Postdoc.: Wellcome Trust Center, Oxford, UK, 2007
VIB Group leader since January 2008
VIB Acting director 2015-2016
VIB Science Director since 2017​

Contact Info

VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer BiologyO&N 4, 9e verdCampus GasthuisbergHerestraat 49, bus 912 3000 LEUVENRoute description