Jo Van Ginderachter Lab

Research focus

Figure 1: Global strategy of the VIB Myeloid Cell Immunology (MCI) laboratory.

​Our mission is to use the heterogeneity of myeloid cells (MCs) as an in vivo sensor to track inflammatory responses and as a target for therapeutic intervention (Figure 1). Recent evidence (including our own) reveals that tissue-associated MCs contain different subpopulations with different ontological origin, including embryonic yolk sac and fetal liver-derived resident macrophages and adult bone marrow-derived recruited MCs (mainly monocytes, monocyte-derived macrophages, neutrophils and dendritic cells). Evidence is mounting that these MC subpopulations perform distinct functions in health and disease. Thus, we focus on studying (epi)genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and functional heterogeneity of different MC subpopulations present in selected inflamed tissues, in particular in tumors (tumor-associated macrophages, myeloid-derived suppressor cells and dendritic cells), the liver (Kupffer cells), and the brain (microglia).
Based on markers that allow a discrimination between selected MC subpopulations, we fully invest in the development of innovative tools to visualize and modulate the in vivo differentiation, recruitment and function of selected MC subpopulations in inflamed tissues. These include in particular the identification of markers for different tumor-associated macrophage or dendritic cell populations, as well as Kupffer cell- and microglia-specific markers, to generate transgenic (knock-in) mice allowing the tracking and ablation of selected MC populations. Such tools will reveal the role of these MCs in homeostasis and in distinct models of tumor growth and liver or brain injury. We also aim to develop original strategies to overcome inflammation-associated immunopathology of infectious and non-infectious diseases. In this regard, we fully exploit the strategic advantage of nanobodies, i.e. camelid-derived single-domain antibody fragments, and their engineering platform as tools for in vivo MC-targeted delivery of imaging agents (radionuclides, gold- or magnetic nanoparticles) and drugs that can remediate the inflammatory disease outcome and be translated readily into the clinic.


Podoplanin-Expressing Macrophages Promote Lymphangiogenesis and Lymphoinvasion in Breast Cancer.Bieniasz-Krzywiec Pawel Martín-Pérez Rosa Ehling Manuel García-Caballero Melissa Pinioti Sotiria Pretto Samantha Kroes Roel Aldeni Chiara Di Matteo Mario Prenen Hans Tribulatti María Virginia Campetella Oscar Smeets Ann Noel Agnes Floris Giuseppe Van Ginderachter Jo Mazzone Massimiliano@Cell Metabolism, 30, 917-936.e10, 2019@: corresponding authors
A single-cell atlas of mouse brain macrophages reveals unique transcriptional identities shaped by ontogeny and tissue environmentVan Hove H Martens L Scheyltjens I De Vlaminck K Pombo Antunes A De Prijck S Vandamme N De Schepper S Van Isterdael G Scott C Aerts J Berx G Boeckxstaens G Vandenbroucke R Vereecke L Moechars D Guilliams M Van Ginderachter J* Saeys Y* Movahedi K*NATURE NEUROSCIENCE, 22, 1021-1035, 2019* or °: authors contributed equally
The tumour microenvironment harbours ontogenically distinct dendritic cell populations with opposing effects on tumour immunityLaoui D* Keirsse J* Morias Y Van Overmeire E Geeraerts X Elkrim Y Kiss M Bolli E Lahmar Q Sichien D Serneels J Scott C Boon L De Baetselier P Mazzone M Guilliams M* Van Ginderachter J*Nature Communications, 7, 13720, 2016* or °: authors contributed equally
M-CSF and GM-CSF Receptor Signaling Differentially Regulate Monocyte Maturation and Macrophage Polarization in the Tumor MicroenvironmentVan Overmeire E Stijlemans B Heymann F Keirsse J Morias Y Elkrim Y Brys L Abels C Lahmar Q Ergen C Vereecke L Tacke F De Baetselier P Van Ginderachter J* Laoui D*CANCER RESEARCH, 76, 35-42, 2016* or °: authors contributed equally
Tumor hypoxia does not drive differentiation of tumor-associated macrophages but rather fine-tunes the M2-like macrophage populationLaoui Damya Van Overmeire Eva Di Conza Giusy Aldeni Chiara Keirsse Jiri Morias Yannick Movahedi K Houbracken I Schouppe Elio Elkrim Yvon Karroum O Jordan B. Carmeliet Peter Gysemans C. De Baetselier Patrick Mazzone Massimiliano Van Ginderachter JoCANCER RESEARCH, 74, 24-30, 2014

Job openings


Immune cells in the spotlight

03/10/2019 - VIB and VUB researchers involved in Innovative Medicines Initiative that awards 30 Million Euro grant supporting research into novel tracer strategies for clinical imaging of immune cell dynamics.

Detailed brain map uncovers hidden immune cells that may be involved in neurodegenerative disorders

06/05/2019 - A team led by Kiavash Movahedi (VIB-VUB) has developed a comprehensive cell atlas of the brain's immune compartment. This revealed not only the striking diversity of brain macrophages, but also found microglia where they were not expected

ONCURIOUS NV acquires unique portfolio of next-generation immuno-oncology assets from VIB

01/09/2017 - ​ONCURIOUS NV, a biotech company focusing on the development of innovative oncology treatments, announces that it has reached principle agreement with VIB to acquire exclusive licences to a portfolio of five unique next generation immuno-oncology assets.

Scientists use tumor-derived dendritic cells to slow tumor growth

24/01/2017 - Dendritic cells are responsible for activating our immune system. Previously researchers believed that tumors could repress dendritic cells – blocking an adequate natural cancer defense mechanism – but a new study has painted a more positive picture.

Jo Van Ginderachter

Jo Van Ginderachter

Research area(s)

Model organism(s)


PhD Student: Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, 1990
Staff Scientist: Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium,2003
Staff Scientist VIB since January 2009
VIB Group Leader since October 2012

Contact Info

VIB Center for Inflammation ResearchBuilding EPleinlaan 2 1050 BRUSSEL