Structure of the Department of Molecular Genetics
The VIB DMG is structured around four research groups, one expert unit and extended centralized service facilities:
Organigram 2013 of VIB DMG
The Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases (NBD) group headed by Christine Van Broeckhoven (molecular genetics) clusters four research teams each headed by a staff scientist with a full or part-time professor appointment i.e. Kristel Sleegers (genetic neuro-epidemiology), Marc Cruts (molecular genomics), Jessie Theuns (functional genomics) and Julie van der Zee (translational genetics), working on Alzheimer disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, Parkinson disease and related neurodegenerative brain diseases.
The Neurogenetics (NG) group is headed by Peter De Jonghe who is a leader in clinical neurology and molecular genetics of peripheral neuropathies, spastic paraplegias/ataxias and epilepsies. This group is building on the neurology and neurogenetic expertise and provides a direct clinical access to biosampling of patients and translational medicine.
The Peripheral Neuropathies (PN) group is headed by Vincent Timmerman and concentrates its research on functional genomics and cell biology of inherited peripheral neuropathies with the main focus on molecular pathomechanisms of the small heat shock proteins (HSPB1 and HSPB8), serine palmitoyl transferase (SPT) and small GTPase RAB7A and on the role of the innate immune response to neurodegeneration and regeneration.
The Molecular Neurogenomics (MNG) group is headed by Albena Jordanova and focuses on the identification and characterization of disease associated genes and pathways implicated in the molecular etiology of neurological disorders like hereditary motor and sensory neuropathies and hereditary spastic paraplegias.
The Applied Molecular Genomics (AMG) unit lead by Jurgen Del-Favero supports the VIB DMG by designing and developing novel biotechnology tools and bioinformatic algorithms to streamline and upscale applications using next generation sequencing technologies and subsequent data analysis. There associated research programs is currently focused on the elucidation of the role and function of miRNAs in brain.
Centralized Service Facilities
Under the supervision of the department director, the VIB DMG is substantially investing and extending its centralized service facilities (CSF) to accommodate newly hired specialists in bioinformatics and biotechnology to support the increased demand and use of next generation technologies in VIB DMG. Within the CSF there are two dedicated service support units the Genetic Service Facility (GSF) and the Diagnostic Service Facility (DSF).
The Department of Molecular Genetics receives support of 6 staff members: Sadia Vancauwenbergh (Research Manager), Gisèle Smeyers (Department Secretary), Eric Patteet (Accountant), Johanna Wouters (IT Manager), Nadia Patteet (Receptionist) and Cindy Jennes (Administrative Assistant).