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 the study, diagnosis and treatment of disease.
At the moment, our strategic technology development focuses on the eukaryotic cell’s secretory system as a basis for the discovery and development of novel biopharmaceutical concepts. We are also developing new molecular analytical technology for the discovery of blood plasma/serum biomarkers of disease, as well as immunotherapy targets on cells. For example, we discovered new markers for the non-invasive monitoring of liver disease, and these markers are now being validated and translated into routinely applicable diagnostic tests. We are also investigating and engineering the interaction between the tuberculosis vaccine (Mycobacterium bovis BCG) and the immune system, for the purpose of designing a fully protective TB vaccine, which is a major and urgent global public health need.
Our research is always inspired by a rigorous scientific, medical, technological and even economical analysis of particular important unmet medical needs, but then we take a long-term fundamental biotechnology approach to design systems and methodologies that could solve these needs. Often, our fundamental biotechnology research then generates concepts and tools that turn out to enable steps forward also in sometimes entirely different areas of medical research, diagnosis and treatment. This then feeds new projects in the lab. Research in the lab is thus not focused on one particular disease area: we go where our technological innovation can bring the biggest impact. We collaborate with disease area experts as well as biotech and pharma companies active in particular medical areas.
In addition to leading his own research lab, Nico Callewaert accepted the position of Director of the VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology as of 2014, where he is focusing the Center as a VIB innovation hub in molecular biomedical technology.
> 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
09/07/2016 - In molecular life sciences, the incredible ingenuity of scientists and engineers such as those at VIB leads to increasingly accurate analytical methods. These are used to study the structure of the molecules that make up living matter.
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
VIB-UGent Center for Medical BiotechnologyUGent-VIB Research Building FSVMTechnologiepark 927 9052 GENT