Based on strengths in glycobiology, microbial biotechnology, biological system's engineering and bio-analytics, our research group is developing innovative molecular technology to enable novel approaches to study, diagnose and treat immune-system related disease. We exploit the developed technologies for our own research interests in inflammation and immunity, in collaboration with experts within and outside of DMBR. For development and exploitation of our technologies in other fields, we collaborate intensively with the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. At the moment, our strategic technology development focuses on microbial cell engineering as a basis for the discovery and development of novel immunomodulatory biopharmaceuticals. We are also developing new glyco-analysis tools and animal models to pursue the role of inflammation-induced lymphocyte glycosylation changes in the pathophysiology of inflammatory disease.
For example, we discovered new markers for the non-invasive monitoring of progression of chronic inflammatory diseases (focused on the liver), and these markers are now being validated and translated into routinely applicable diagnostic tests. We are also pursuing potential links between the discovered biomarkers and pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory disease.
We are also investigating and engineering the interaction between the tuberculosis vaccine (Mycobacterium bovis BCG) and the immune system, leading to a novel vaccine.
To enable the production of specific glycoforms of immune effector proteins (cytokines, antibodies) with customized therapeutic functions, and to allow more
robust membrane protein expression, we are engineering the eukaryotic protein secretion system in yeasts and mammalian cells. These technologies will allow the development of more potent and selective therapies of immune system-related diseases.
In addition to leading his own research lab, Nico Callewaert accepted the position of Department Director of the VIB's Medical Biotechnology Center as of 1 May 2014.
> video on the development of new technologies, research by Nico Callewaert - ©VIB, 2014
Genome dynamics of the human embryonic kidney 293 lineage in response to cell biology manipulationsLin Y, Boone M, Meuris L, Lemmens I, Van Roy N, Soete A, Reumers J, Moisse M, Plaisance S, Drmanac R, Chen J, Speleman F, Lambrechts D, Van de Peer Y, Tavernier J, Callewaert NNature Communications, 5, 4767, 2014 A bacterial glycosidase enables mannose-6-phosphate modification and improved cellular uptake of yeast-produced recombinant human lysosomal enzymesTiels P, Baranova E, Piens K, De Visscher C, Pynaert G, Nerinckx W, Stout J, Fudalej F, Hulpiau P, Tannler S, Geysens S, Van Hecke A, Valevska A, Vervecken W, Remaut H, Callewaert NNATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY, 30, 1225-31, 2012 Disruption of the SapM locus in Mycobacterium bovis BCG improves its protective efficacy as a vaccine against M. tuberculosisFestjens N, Bogaert P, Batni A, Houthuys E, Plets E, Vanderschaeghe D, Laukens B, Asselbergh B, Parthoens E, De Rycke R, Willart M, Jacques P, Elewaut D, Brouckaert P, Lambrecht B, Huygen K, Callewaert NEMBO Molecular Medicine, 3, 222-34, 2011 Genome sequence of the recombinant protein production host Pichia pastorisDe Schutter K, Lin Y, Tiels P, Van Hecke A, Glinka S, Weber-Lehmann J, Rouzé P, Van de Peer Y, Callewaert NNATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY, 27, 561-6, 2009
29/04/2016 - By jointly applying the GlycoDelete technology to plant seeds, the researchers have demonstrated that plant seeds can serve as a medium for the inexpensive and large-scale production of biotech medicines.
01/12/2015 - The VIB and Ghent University professors Ann Depicker and Nico Callewaert have achieved a significant biotechnology breakthrough that targets the production of medicines.
27/10/2015 - Researchers in Ghent have developed a test to measure the risk of liver cancer in people with cirrhosis of the liver. Their work will be revealed this week at United European Gastroenterology.
17/06/2014 - After a long and open international
search, it was finally one of our own,
Nico Callewaert, who was selected as the
most suitable candidate for the position of
Director of the VIB Department of Medical
Protein Research (DMPR) at UGent.
12/06/2014 - After a long and open international search, it was finally one of our own, Nico Callewaert, who was selected as the most suitable candidate for the position of Director of the VIB Department of Medical Protein Research (DMPR) at UGent.
14/05/2014 - Leander Meuris, Francis Santens and Nico Callewaert (VIB/UGent) have developed a technology that shortens the sugar structures. This technology has the potential to make the production of biotech medicines significantly simpler and cheaper.
09/12/2013 - ERC-grants grants for three VIB scientists: boost for innovative research
11/09/2013 - Nico Callewaert (VIB/UGent) is the only Belgian in the “Top 20 translational researchers”. He was selected partly due to his research into converting cells into medicine factories.
19/11/2012 - VIB researchers from UGent and Vrije Universiteit Brussel , together with a team of the firm Oxyrane have developed a new technology that can lead to a more efficient and possibly also cheaper therapy for diseases such as Pompe disease.
17/02/2011 - Nele Festjens and Nico Callewaert have improved the efficacy of the vaccine for tuberculosis. The new vaccine affords - as already proven in mice - better protection against the disease.
07/08/2007 - VIB researchers connected to Ghent University, in collaboration with research centers in Beijing and Shanghai in China, have developed a test to detect liver cancer in an early stage.
PhD: Univ. of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium, 2002
Postdoc.: ETH, Zürich, Switzerland, 2002-05
VIB Group leader since 2005
VIB Department Director VIB Medical Biotechnology Center since May 2014