From Cellular and Molecular Immunology to the Brussels Center for Immunology
The Cellular and Molecular Immunology (CMIM) research teams of Prof. Jo Van Ginderachter, Prof. Damya Laoui and Prof. Stefan Magez are joining forces with the group of the former CMIM-graduate Prof. Kiavash Movahedi to form the new Brussels Center for Immunology (BCIM).
The BCIM research is based on employing cutting-edge molecular and genetic technologies, including an early adoption of single cell multi-omic analysis, genome engineering and stem cell technology, the generation of novel transgenic mouse strains and the strategic exploitation of camelid-derived single domain antibody fragments (nanobodies) as exquisite tools for diagnostic and therapeutic applications in various immunology-related diseases.
The BCIM Research Group is headed by Prof. Jo Van Ginderachter, who is also a VIB Group Leader, and whose Myeloid Cell Immunology team studies the ontogeny, molecular regulation, function, and diagnostic or therapeutic targeting of different immunoregulatory cell populations (with a focus on macrophages and regulatory T cells) in tumors and in the liver (steady state or disease conditions).
Prof. Damya Laoui is a junior tenure track professor and VIB Expert Scientist, heading the Dendritic Cell Biology and Cancer Immunotherapy team, with a mission to constantly improve our understanding of the immune compartment in tumors for the development of novel cancer therapies against tumor progression, tumor relapse and metastasis. More specifically, the heterogeneity of myeloid cells, focusing in particular on tumor-derived conventional dendritic cells (cDCs), is used as a target for therapeutic intervention.
Another senior professor within the group is Prof. Stefan Magez, leading the Immunoparasitology team, which studies the immunopathology of parasitic infectious diseases (such as trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis and malaria) and the mechanisms involved in parasite control, aiming at the development of new strategies for diagnosis and treatment of these diseases.
Prof. Kiavash Movahedi, who obtained an ERC consolidator grant in 2023 to develop strategies for brain macrophage engineering and replacement in the context of neurological disorders, heads a team focused on Brain and Systems Immunology. More specifically, the group studies the heterogeneity and functions of brain macrophages and seeks to understand their role in homeostasis and disease.
The BCIM research is further supported by four 10% Research Professors, including Prof. Carl De Trez within the Immunoparasitology team, Prof. Benoit Stijlemans within the Myeloid Cell Immunology team and Prof. Geert Raes and Prof. Eva Hadadi at the interface between the Myeloid Cell Immunology team and the Dendritic Cell Biology and Cancer Immunotherapy teams.