Belgium Ghent

Ghent University

Department of Respiratory Medicine

Brief Overview

The Department of Respiratory Medicine combines clinical care with excellent research into the pathogenesis of asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), two highly prevalent chronic airway diseases, causing significant morbidity, disability and mortality worldwide. We are internationally recognized for our translational research, wherein experiments in animal models and research on patient samples are combined. In addition to well-established in vivo murine models of asthma and COPD, we have developed a large human lung tissue bank (over 500 phenotypically well-characterized patients with and without COPD). We also have a track record of epidemiological research and are performing various clinical trials.

Research Areas

Asthma\COPD\Epigenetics\Immunology

Host center eligibility

Global fellowships (return phase only)\ European fellowships

Research infrastructure/facilities

Strong expertise with in vivo models of respiratory disease and vast track record in quantification and localisation of different immune cells from mice and human samples by multicolour flow cytometry (including dendritic cells, neutrophils, eosinophils, innate lymphoid cells, T-cells) and immunohistochemistry (lymphoid follicles, peribronchial eosinophilia, goblet cell hyperplasia). Measuring airway remodelling and emphysema on lung tissue as well as in vivo pulmonary function measurements in mice are standard techniques. Also in vitro cell cultures (primary human bronchial epithelial cell cultures) and standard molecular biology techniques (RT-PCR, Western Blotting, ELISA) are available. Access to RNA sequencing technologies and genetically modified mice.

Research funding/Resources

Ghent University Concerted Research Actions:

*BOF19-GOA-008. RNA-MAGIC: RNA based bioMarkers and tarGets in Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). 2019-2023.

*BOF14-GOA-027: Gene-Environment iNteractions in the pathogenesis of Tobacco smoking-induced Lung diseases (GENT-Lung). 2014-2018.

*Excellence Of Science (EOS) – FWO/FNRS: Understanding Heterogeneity of Eosinophils in Airway Disease, 2018-2021. FWO Research projects:

*Unraveling the role of neutrophils in pollutant-aggravated asthma. 2019-2022.

*Longitudinal study of Chronisch Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and frailty’, 2018-2021.

*Pathogenesis of lymphoid follicle formation and mucosal immunity in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease’, 2018-2021.

Links to non-academic sector

The Department of Respiratory Medicine interacts with the pharmaceutical companies through the involvement in clinical trials and has access to the various technologies from the Flemish institute of Biotechnology (VIB, Zwijnaarde, Belgium).

Experience hosting international researchers, career development & training programmes, outreach activities

The Ghent University has a highly developed career management plan for postdoctoral researchers (postdoc Community) and provides transferable skills courses and access to many seminars, statistical trainings and specific scientific skills workshops. For more information: visit https://www.ugent.be/en/work/mobility-career/postdoc-community/overview.htm?searchterm=postdoc%2A

The Department of Respiratory Medicine has hosted a MD, PhD fellow from Greece using a European Respiratory Society long term fellowship, leading to a high impact paper ( Glynos et al, Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2013). Within the framework of the U4 Consortium on the Ageing Lung and the Rotterdam Study we have hosted several PhD students in close collaboration with Dutch Universities.

HR Excellence in Research – EU award

Yes