WELBIO is currently funding 28 strategic fundamental research projects in life sciences. 28 principal investigators affiliated to 4 universities of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation are supported through 3 different funding instruments :

  • "Advanced Grants" for senior investigators
  • "Starting Grants" for younger investigators
  • "Continuation Grants" for WELBIO researchers whose previous WELBIO-funded research works have led to actions towards valorisation

FRFS-WELBIO research projects are intended to be four years long and divided into two periods of two years. The renewal of the research project is based on an evaluation of the intermediate scientific report.


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cardiovascular diseases

Luc Bertrand

CARdiovascular DIseases and o-GlcnAcylatioN: the case of cardiac hypertrophy

Luc Bertrand's research focuses on post-translational modifications involved in the regulation of the metabolism and cardiac function. He studies more specifically the role of the AMPK protein.

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auto-immune diseases

Sophie Lucas

Targeting TGF-β1, β2 or β3 activation in auto-immunity and graft-versus-host disease

Sophie Lucas studies the mechanisms whereby Regulatory T cells (Tregs) inhibit the immune system, preventing it from attacking healthy tissue.

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lymphangiogenesis

Agnès Noël

Innovative roles of uPARAP in lymphatic vessel morphogenesis and functions

Agnes Noel’s work focuses mainly on tumour vascularisation, in particular on the formation of new lymphatic vessels (lymphangiogenesis), a biological process which contributes to cancer progression and metastasis dissemination towards lymph nodes.

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biophysics

David Alsteens

Deciphering the molecular mechanisms of reovirus and rotavirus entry at the nanoscale

David Alsteens investigates, at the molecular level, the forces at play in protein structures, in cellular adhesion, in ligand-receptor binding or in the binding of the virus to the cell it is infecting.

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neurological diseases

Guido Bommer

Novel biochemical aspects of neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease

Guido Bommer studies the role enzymes, the function of which is still unknown, might play in cancer metabolism. Unexpected results regularly lead him to look at other diseases.

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intestinal microbiota

Amandine Everard

Identification of gut microbes and metabolites involved in the gut-to-brain axis controlling hedonic and reward system during food intake

Amandine Everard investigates the involvement of the bacteria of the intestinal microbiota in the regulation of food intake, in particular the intestine-to-brain axis.

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hepatocellular carcinoma

Esteban Gurzov

Early diagnosis: can protein tyrosine phosphatase activity predict obesity-induced hepatocellular carcinoma ?

Esteban Gurzov aims to understand molecular basis of metabolic pathophysiology. He investigates more specifically the role of phosphatases in metabolic diseases and their complications, such as cancer.

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bacterial stress

Régis Hallez

Molecular characterization of the cellular processes targeted by the second messenger (p)ppGpp in bacteria

Regis Hallez works on the regulation of bacterial stress by (p)ppGpp. This “alarmone”, which is produced by virtually all bacteria in response to fluctuations in nutrient availability, profoundly reshapes the bacterial physiology.

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cancer - metastasis

Cédric Blanpain

Mechanisms controlling epithelial–mesenchymal transition related tumor heterogeneity

Cedric Blanpain  studies the role of stem cells in development, homeostasis and cancer, investigating the mechanisms behind tumour heterogeneity, metastasis and resistance to therapy.

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protein reprogramming

Alain Chariot

tRNA modifying enzymes and their targets in immunity and cancer

Alain Chariot investigates the role of genes that are not well characterised but are associated with genetic disorders when they lose their function, in cancer models. This project focuses on protein reprogramming in immune responses and cancer.

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cell envelope

Jean-François Collet

Exploring the cell envelope of Escherichia coli, a compartment that is an attractive target for innovative biotechnological and biopharmaceutical approaches

Jean-Francois aims to understand how bacterial cells defend themselves against external aggressions, in order to improve our ability to combat them. He studies, in particular, the oxidative stress and envelope stress.

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Type 1 diabetes

Decio L. Eizirik

Beta cell splicing signature in diabetes

Decio L. Eizirik aims to understand the pathogenesis of type-1 diabetes (T1D), more specifically the role of diabetes genes, endoplasmic reticulum stress and alternative splicing in pancreatic β cell deficiencies.

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cancer immunotherapy

Benoît Van den Eynde

Identification and characterization of new cancer immunotherapy targets discovered by in vivo genomic pool screening

Benoît Van den Eynde studies tumour immunology, in particular, the mechanisms for the production of tumour antigens and the mechanisms whereby tumours escape immune attacks.

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primary lymphoedema

Miikka Vikkula

Towards novel treatments for primary lymphoedema: from identification of genetic causes to in vivo modeling and preclinical trials

Miikka Vikkula aims to identify and characterise genetic variants that cause certain human diseases.

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cardiology

Jean-Luc Balligand

Cardiac Aquaporin-1: a new regulator of myocardial remodeling

Jean-Luc Balligand studies cardiac remodelling, i.e. molecular and biological modifications of the cardiac muscle under stress (for example, a heart attack). This remodelling, which is characterised by cardiac hypertrophy, leads to heart failure.

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autoimmune diseases

Pierre Coulie

Cytolytic CD8 T lymphocytes in severe forms of human autoimmune diseases, towards diagnostic markers and new therapeutic avenues

Pierre Coulie’s research focuses on tumour immunology. His expertise in CD8 cytolytic T-cells and the antigens they recognise is used here to study severe autoimmune diseases.

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Blood cancer

Stefan Constantinescu

Targeting mechanisms of pathogenic mutant calreticulin signaling via thrombopoietin receptor and JAK2 in myeloproliferative neoplasms

The research of Stefan Constantinescu is dedicated to myeloproliferative neoplasms, a group of hematopoietic stem cell pathologies that lead to an excessive production of blood cells.

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RNA epigenetics

François Fuks

Unravelling the Role of RNA Epigenetics in Health and Disease.

Francois Fuks’ research is dedicated to epigenetics and its role in cancer. Epigenetic alterations are mainly known as changes in DNA and histones. RNA epigenetics is emerging as a brand-new field of research.

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molecular transport

Anna Maria Marini

Rh factors and the control of membrane permeability to ammonium

Anna Maria Marini’s research is dedicated to the transport of ammonium ions (NH4+) and to the role this transport plays in various physiological and pathological contexts.

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T-cell exhaustion

Pierre van der Bruggen

At the crossroads of cancer and autoimmunity: novel therapeutic targets on exhausted human T cells

Pierre van der Bruggen aims to understand why cytotoxic T-cells are not successful in killing tumour cells.

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Esophageal Cancer

Benjamin Beck

Characterization of the Molecular Core of Esophageal Cancer

Benjamin Beck investigates different groups of oesophageal cancers in order to identify genes required for  tumour growth and progression, as well as resistance to treatment.

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transfer RNA - cancer

Pierre Close

Translation reprogramming through wobble tRNA modification in cancer

Pierre Close studies transfer RNA modication and protein translation reprogramming supporting the expression of specific proteomes that are required for the survival of cancer cells, the formation of metastases and resistance to treatment.

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Bacterial persistence

Abel Garcia-Pino

Cellular and molecular bases of the regulation of bacterial persistence by (p)ppGpp synthetases / hydrolase

Abel Garcia-Pino studies the molecular bases for the survival of bacteria and, in particular, bacterial persistence, a physiological restart mechanism that allows certain cells to resist a wide variety of stresses.

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Immunology

Thomas Marichal

Epithelial cells as master regulators of mucosal homeostasis: unraveling the regulatory role of Rab guanine nucleotide exchange factor-1 (RABGEF1)

Thomas Marichal aims to understand how epithelial cell dysfunction contributes to inflammatory diseases such as chronic inflammatory bowel diseases or asthma.  

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Blood-Brain Barrier

Benoit Vanhollebeke

Deciphering the regulatory mechanisms of blood-brain barrier function

Benoit Vanhollebeke aims to gain a better understanding of neurovascular signalling, the basis of the blood-brain barrier, the finely regulated interface between the brain and the vascular system which isolates synaptic communication from the blood.

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Asthma

Fabrice Bureau

Lung regulatory macrophages: phenotype, function and therapeutic potential

Fabrice Bureau investigates the «’ANTI’ mechanisms which naturally prevent the development of aberrant immune responses in the respiratory mucosae.

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intestinal microbiota

Patrice D. Cani

Targeting NAPE-PLD, novel bioactive lipids and specific gut microbes to improve cardiometabolic disorders associated with obesity

Patrice Cani studies the interactions between the gut microbiota, the host and biological systems such as the endocannabinoid system and the innate immunity in obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic inflammation.

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cancer

Marc Parmentier

Chemerin and its receptors in tumoral angiogenesis.

Marc Parmentier has focused for many years on the characterization of orphan G protein-coupled receptors. He concentrates now on the functional characterization of specific ligand/receptor systems.

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