Previous selections

VIB International Ph.D. Program selections 2014

From 19-21 May 2014, 22 candidates from all over the world visited VIB for the selection interviews of the VIB International Ph.D. Program 2014. Based on the application files and the selection interviews, the Program Committee selected 4 candidates for a VIB funded Ph.D. project.
 
Pawel Bieniasz-Krzywiec from Poland, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of Max Mazzone (VIB Vesalius Research Center, KU Leuven) and Jo Van Ginderachter (VIB Myeloid Cell Immunology Lab, Vrije Universiteit Brussel): Podoplanin, the missing link between macrophages and lymphatic metastasis
in breast cancer?

Lam Vu from Vietnam, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of Ive De Smet (VIB Dept. of Plant Systems Biology, UGent) and Kris Gevaert (VIB Dept. of Medical Protein Research, UGent): Phosphorylation-mediated growth and differentiation processes in meristems.
 
Aleksandra Lewandowska from Poland, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of Frank Van Breusegem (VIB Dept. of Plant Systems Biology, UGent) and Joris Messens (VIB Structural Biology Research Center, Vrije Universiteit Brussel): The oxidative stress response in plants.
 
Jasmine Barra from Italy, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of 
Chris Marine (VIB Lab for Molecular Cancer Biology, KU Leuven) and Kris Gevaert (VIB Dept. of Medical Protein Research, UGent): A systems biology approach to dissect p53 signaling.
 
In addition to the 4 positions in the VIB International Ph.D. Program, 3 interviewees were also recruited in a VIB laboratory. Ruchan Karaman from Turkey joined the lab of promotor Georg Halder (VIB Center for the Biology of Disease, KU Leuven), Min Shang from China joined the lab of promotor Max Mazzone (VIB Vesalius Research Center, KU Leuven) and Gianmarco Rinaldi from Italy joined the lab of promotor Sarah-Maria Fendt (VIB Vesalius Research Center, KU Leuven).
 
VIB International Ph.D. Program selections 2012
From 21-24 May 2012, 18 candidates from all over the world visited VIB for the selection interviews of the VIB International Ph.D. Program 2012. Based on the application files and the selection interviews, the Program Committee selected 8 candidates for a VIB funded Ph.D. project.
 
Jayasree Sreenivasan from India, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of Adrian Liston (VIB Autoimmune Genetics Lab, KU Leuven) and Dietmar Schmucker (VIB Vesalius Research Center, KU Leuven): Exploring DSCAM function in immunity and neuronal development.
 
Alan Walton from the UK, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of Sofie Goormachtig (VIB Dept. of Plant Systems Biology, UGent) and Kris Gevaert (VIB Dept. of Medical Protein Research, UGent): A proteomic approach to study the influence of strigolactones on root system architecture.
 
Michael Olvedy from Slovakia, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of Jean-Christophe Marine (VIB Lab for Molecular Cancer Biology, KU Leuven) and Diether Lambrechts (VIB Vesalius Research Center, KU Leuven): An oncogenomics-based in vivo screen to identify melanoma progression and metastasis drivers.
 
Luis Méndez from Mexico, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of Emre Yaksi (Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders, Imec, KU Leuven) and Bassem Hassan (VIB Center for the Biology of Disease, KU Leuven): Functional characterization of neurological diseases.
 
Ozden Akay from Turkey, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of Geert Berx (VIB Dept. for Molecular Biomedical Research, UGent) and Jean-Christophe Marine (VIB Lab for Molecular Cancer Biology, KU Leuven): Crosstalk between EMT and p53 driving melanoma progression.
 
Sriram Balusu from India, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of Claude Libert (VIB Dept. for Molecular Biomedical Research, UGent) and Kris Gevaert (VIB Dept. of Medical Protein Research, UGent): Identification and validation of new MMP substrates in mouse models of inflammation and sepsis using cutting-edge proteomics.
 
Philipp Arendt from Germany, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of Alain Goossens (VIB Dept. of Plant Systems Biology, UGent) and Nico Callewaert (VIB Dept. for Molecular Biomedical Research, UGent): Engineering of the Yeast Yarrowia lipolytica for the synthesis of pharmaceutically active terpenes.
 
Brigida Gallone from Italy, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of Steven Maere (VIB Dept. of Plant Systems Biology, UGent) and Kevin Verstrepen (VIB Lab of Systems Biology, KU Leuven): Comparative genomics of industrial yeasts.
 
In addition to the 8 positions in the VIB International PhD Program, 6 interviewees were also recruited in a VIB laboratory. Sule Yilmaz from Turkey joined the lab of promotor Lennart Martens (VIB Dept. of Medical Protein Research, UGent), Ana Subotic from Serbia joined the lab of promotor Patrick Van Dijck (VIB Dept. of Molecular Microbiology, KU Leuven), Sorin Tanasa from Romania joined the lab of promotor Patrik Verstreken (VIB Center for the Biology of Disease, KU Leuven), Gemma Perez from Spain joined the lab of promotor Kevin Verstrepen (VIB Lab of Systems Biology, KU Leuven), Zengjin Huang from China joined the lab of promotor Dietmar Schmucker (VIB Vesalius Research Center, KU Leuven) and Nevena Hristozova from Bulgaria joined the lab of promotor Peter Tompa (VIB Dept. of Structural Biology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel).
 

VIB International Ph.D. Program selections 2010

From 17-20 May 2010, 14 candidates from all over the world visited VIB for the selection interviews of the VIB International Ph.D. Program 2010. Based on the application files and the selection interviews, the Program Committee selected 3 candidates for a VIB funded Ph.D. project.
 
Ioanna Petta from Greece, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of Claude Libert (VIB Dept. for Molecular Biomedical Research, UGent) and Jan Tavernier (VIB Dept. of Medical Protein Research, UGent): Identification and functional analysis of molecular interaction partners of the Glucocorticoid Receptor in inflammation and cancer.
 
Nguyen Anh from Vietnam, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of Jeroen Raes (Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Interactions, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Adrian Liston (VIB Autoimmune Genetics Lab, KU Leuven): How do our genes influence our gut microflora, and how do our microflora influence our immune system?
 
Sintayehu Shenkutie from Ethiopia, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of Lieven De Veylder (VIB Dept. of Plant Systems Biology, UGent) and Remy Loris (Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Interactions, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel): Functional-structural analysis of a novel class of DNA-stress induced cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors.

One additional candidate from the interviewees was also recruited in a VIB laboratory. Michal Simicek from the Czech Republic joined the lab of promoter Anna Sablina (Dept. of Molecular and Developmental Genetics, KU Leuven).
 

VIB International Ph.D. Program selections 2009

From 11-14 May 2009, 12 candidates from all over the world visited VIB headquarters for the selection interviews of the VIB International Ph.D. Program 2009. Based on the application files and the selection interviews, the Program Committee selected 4 candidates for a VIB funded Ph.D. project.

Eleonora Billi from Italy, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of Frans Van Roy (Dept. for Molecular Biomedical Research, UGent) and Jan Tavernier (Dept. of Medical Protein Research, UGent): Identification and functional analysis of molecular interaction partners of delta-protocadherin family members with putative roles in cancer.

Arun Kumar from India, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of Wim Annaert (Dept. of Molecular and Developmental Genetics, KU Leuven) and Kris Gevaert (Dept. of Medical Protein Research, UGent): Superparamagnetic nanoparticles for targeted subcellular proteomics and identification of novel biomarkers.
 
Liya Jose from India, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of Wim Robberecht (VIB Vesalius Research Center, KU Leuven) and Patrik Verstreken (Dept. of Molecular and Developmental Genetics, KU Leuven): Modeling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in flies and fish.
 
Joemar Taganna from The Philippines, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of Nico Callewaert (Dept. for Molecular Biomedical Research, UGent) and Han Remaut (Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Interactions, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel): Hoodwinking uropathogenic E. coli with sugar to keep them away from diabetics.
 
One additional candidate from the interviewees was also recruited in a VIB laboratory. Ermanoska Biljana from Macedonia joined the lab of promotor Vincent Timmerman (Dept. of Molecular Genetics, University of Antwerp).
 
 

VIB International Ph.D. Program selections 2008

From 14-16 May 2008, 15 candidates from all over the world visited VIB headquarters for the selection interviews of the VIB International Ph.D. Program 2008. Based on the application files and the selection interviews, the Program Committee selected 4 candidates for a VIB funded Ph.D. project.
Unfortunately enough, 2 of the selected candidates were unable to take up their position. Below, we briefly present the candidates and their project choices.
 
Miguel Cardoso from Mexico, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs ofXavier Saelens (Dept. for Molecular Biomedical Research, UGent) and Serge Muyldermans (Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Interactions, Vrije Universiteit Brussel): Isolation, expression and validation of influenza A virus Neuraminidase inhibiting single chain cameloid antibodies.

Cezary Waszczak from Poland, who will work on a Ph.D.-project in the labs of Frank Van Breusegem (Dept. of Plant systems Biology, UGent) and Joris Messens (Dept. of Structural Biology), Vrije Universiteit Brussel): Oxidative stress signal transduction in plants.
Three candidates from the 15 interviewees were also recruited by VIB Group Leaders:
Magdalena Zimon, from Poland, joined the lab of promotor Peter De Jonghe (VIB Dept. of Molecular Genetics, University of Antwerp).

Virdi Vikram, from India, joined the lab of promotor Ann Depicker (VIB Dept. of Plant Systems Biology, UGent).
 
Suzana Pampurova, from Macedonia, joined the lab of promotor Patrick Van Dijck (VIB Dept. of Molecular Microbiology, KU Leuven).
 

VIB International Ph.D. Program selections 2007

From 17-19 September 2007, 13 candidates from all over the world visited VIB headquarters for the selection interviews of the VIB International Ph.D. Program 2007. Based on the application files and the selection interviews, the Program Committee selected 4 candidates for a VIB funded Ph.D. project.
 
Morvarid Farhang graduated in Biology and Genetics from the University of Göteborg, Sweden. The aim of her master thesis project was to determine the methylation status at the Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome gene region and to develop a global method for methylation testing. For her Ph.D. research at VIB, she chose the project of promotor Jody Haigh (VIB Dept. for Molecular Biomedical Research, UGent) and co-promotor Jean-Christophe Marine(Lab of Molecular Cancer Biology, UGent). In this project, she will be studying the molecular and genetic interplay between p53 and VEGF in development and cancer progression.
 
David Nittner from Germany, studied Biochemistry at the Eberhard-Karls-University in Tübingen. He has now joined the VIB labs of promotor Jean-Christophe Marine (Lab of Molecular Cancer Biology, UGent) and co-promotor Jody Haigh (VIB Dept. for Molecular Biomedical Research, UGent) where he will try to find out whether p53 needs to bind to a key epigenetic regulator for oncogene-induced senescence and tumor suppression.
 
Tessa Moses is an Indian microbiologist who studied at the Mumbay University in India. She started recently in the VIB labs of promotor Alain Goossens (VIB Dept. of Plant Systems Biology, UGent) and co-promotor Johan Thevelein (VIB Dept. of Molecular Microbiology, the KU Leuven) where she will work on the biosynthesis of novel plant derived drugs in engineered yeast.
 
Styliani Tsiatsiani is a Greek plant biotechnologist who obtained her degree at the Wageningen University in The Netherlands. She joined the VIB labs of promotor Frank Van Breusegem (VIB Dept. of Plant Systems Biology, UGent) and co-promotor Kris Gevaert (VIB Dept. of Medical Protein Research, UGent) to discover and evaluate Arabidopsis metacaspases targets.

Several candidates from the 13 interviewees were also recruited by VIB Group Leaders:
 
Magdalena Wejda, from Poland, joined the lab of promotor Peter Vandenabeele (VIB Dept. for Molecular Biomedical Research, UGent).

Aleksandra Siekierska, from Poland, joined the Switch-lab of promotors Joost Schymkowitz and Frederic Rousseau (VIB Switch laboratory, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel).
 
Mario di Matteo, from Italy, started in the lab of promotor Thierry VandenDriessche (VIB Dept. of Transgene Technology and Gene Therapy, KU Leuven).
 

VIB International Ph.D. Program selections 2006

From 4-6 September 2006, 14 candidates from all over the world visited VIB headquarters for the selection interviews of the VIB International Ph.D. Program 2006. Based on the application files and the selection interviews, the Program Committee selected 4 candidates for a VIB funded Ph.D. project. Below, we briefly present the candidates and their project choices.

Lorena Lopez is an agricultural engineer from Colombia. She previously worked as a research assistant on an agrobiodiversity project at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia. She chose the project of promotor Patrick Van Dijck (Department of Molecular Microbiology, the KU Leuven) and co-promotor Tom Beeckman (Department of Plant Systems Biology, UGent). Lorena is now working on the characterization of a family of Arabidopsis trehalose biosynthesis genes and studies their role in root development and stress tolerance.

Iris Pinheiro is a Portugese biologist who studied at Porto University and worked at INRA in Jouy-en-Josas in France. She has now joined the labs of promotorClaude Libert (Department for Molecular Biomedical Research, UGent) and co-promotor Marnik Vuylsteke (Department of Plant Systems Biology, UGent). She is now working on the molecular cloning of the X-chromosome located LPS-resistance gene of SPRET/Ei.

Mauricio Quimbaya is a Colombian biologist who obtained his degree at the Colombian National University. Afterwards, he worked at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia on different projects that included molecular mapping, functional genomics and bioinformatics. He joined the labs of promotorLieven De Veylder (Department of Plant Systems Biology, UGent) and co-promotor Geert Berx (Department for Molecular Biomedical Research, UGent) and is trying to identify novel oncogenes and tumor suppressors through a comparative analysis of cell cycle modulated genes in plants and mammals.

Marianthi Tatari graduated in Biology from the University of Patras, Greece. The aim of her master thesis project was to characterize the gene regulation of the MSSP gene family in Drosophila. Marianthi joined the labs of promotor Geert Berx (Department for Molecular Biomedical Research, UGent) and co-promotor Jan Gettemans (Department of Medical Protein Research, UGent) to unveil downstream targets of epithelial-mesenchymal transition during tumorigenesis.

Several other candidates were also recruited by VIB Group Leaders based on the 2006 call for applications.

Lujia Zhou, from China, joined the laboratory of promoter Bart De Strooper(Department of Molecular and Developmental Genetics, KU Leuven) where she is working on genetic screens for modulators of gamma-secretase and amyloid toxicity in yeast.

Iván Moya, from Ecuador, is now studying the role of glypicans in morphogen signalling in the laboratory of promotor Guido David (Department of Molecular and Developmental Genetics, the KU Leuven).

Mariya Dobreva, from Bulgaria, joined the laboratory of Danny Huylebroeck(Department of Molecular and Developmental Genetics, the KU Leuven). She is now working on a project to study the Stem cell capacities of the amnion. The project combines the expertise of An Zwijsen and Pascale Zimmermann.

Deepak Balaji, from India, is working on an interdisciplinary nanobiotechnology project in the laboratory of Wim Annaert (Department of Molecular and Developmental Genetics, KU Leuven).

Agnieszka Gembarska, from Poland, is working on a project to analyze the oncogenic properties of Mdm2 and Mdmx using conditional transgenic mouse models in the lab of promotor Jean-Christophe Marine (Lab of Molecular Cancer Biology, UGent).

Leonardo De Souza, from Brazil, is determining the interactomics of Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) related genes. He works in the laboratory of Vincent Timmerman (Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Antwerp).
 

VIB International Ph.D. Program selections 2005

From 19-20 September 2005, 12 candidates from all over the world visited VIB-headquarters for the selection-interviews of the VIB International Ph.D. Program 2005. Based on the application files and the selection-interviews, the Program Committee selected 4 candidates for a VIB-funded Ph.D.-project. Below, we briefly present the candidates and their project choices.

Irina Lambertz is a Bulgarian native who studied agronomy at the University of Sofia and biotechnology at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania in Greece. She also spent two years working at Boston’s Tufts University in the United States. Irina’s current work focuses on how MicroRNAs regulate key cancer genes in tumorigenesis. Promoter of Irina’s project is Chris Marine (Laboratory of Molecular Cancer Biology, UGent). The laboratory’s expertise in mouse cancer genetics also uses the bioinformatics experience of co-promoter Pierre Rouzé (Department of Plant systems Biology, UGent).
 
Diego Forero is a medical doctor from Colombia, who has been analyzing neuropsychiatric diseases in the Colombian population using molecular genetics approaches at the National University of Colombia, Bogota. Diego’s Ph.D. work focuses on the genetic basis of psychiatric diseases in the laboratory of promoterJurgen Del-Favero (Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Antwerp). The multifactorial genetics of these diseases is being modeled in Drosophila by working together with co-promoter Patrick Callaerts (Laboratory of Developmental Genetics, KU Leuven).

Margarida Maia is a biochemist from the University of Porto, Portugal. She currently works in the laboratory of promoter Ed Conway (Department of Transgene Technology and Gene Therapy, KU Leuven) to study the physiologic role of the tumor endothelial cell marker endosialin. This project combines transgenic technologies with the experience in proteomics and interactomics of co-promoter Jan Tavernier (Department of Medical Protein Research, UGent).

Samer Matta from Lebanon studied agricultural engineering at the Lebanese University in Beirut and molecular biology at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania. Samer is now working in the laboratory of promoter Bart De Strooper (Department of Molecular and Developmental Genetics, KU Leuven) to study the function of PARL, a mitochondrial protein. The project also makes use of the proteomics expertise of Kris Gevaert (Department of Medical Protein Research, UGent).
Several candidates were also recruited by VIB Group Leaders based on the 2005 call for applications. Ricardo Gonçalves (Portugal), Anjana Batni (India) and Rodrigo Gallardo (Chile) also joined VIB to obtain a Ph.D.-degree.

Ricardo Gonçalves is a Portuguese biologist who studied at Porto University. Ricardo also did early research training at the Max Planck Institute in Köln and at the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen. He is currently working in the laboratory of promoter Vincent Timmerman (Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Antwerp) on the molecular genetics and biology of dominant intermediate Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy. Together withPatrick Callaerts (Laboratory of Developmental Genetics, the KU Leuven), neuropathy models in Drosophila are being established.

Anjana Batni studied biotechnology at Mysore University in India. After obtaining her degree, she worked at a local Indian biotechnology company focusing on recombinant protein expression and applied biotechnology. She is now part of the laboratory of promoter Nico Callewaert (Department of Molecular Biomedical Research, UGent) where she works on Mycobacterial glycomics.
 
Rodrigo Gallardo is from Chile and studied molecular biotechnology at the Universidad de Chile, Santiago. He joined the laboratory of promoter Pascale Zimmermann (Department of Human Genetics, KU Leuven) to analyze the structural determinants of phosphoinositide-PDZ domain interactions.
The protein modeling work involves collaborations with Joost Schymkowitz andFrederic Rousseau from the SWITCH Laboratory (the Vrije Universiteit Brussel) using proprietary developed bio-informatics tools.