Research Groups

Laboratory of Neurogenomiks

[Vandenbroeck Group]

Neurogenomiks

Research

Current research of the Neurogenomiks group focuses on multiple sclerosis (MS) and stroke. Over the past few years, the genetic map of MS has greatly improved with well over 100 non-HLA risk genes identified to date. Most of these risk gene products are thought to operate in an immunological setting. Our group is investigating how specific single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with risk for MS, change splicing or expression of RNA variants, and this research also involves identification of immune cell subtypes in which this effect is strongest or taking place uniquely.  In addition, we are studying the biology of some MS risk genes of which the function is as yet not understood or only partially elucidated. Regarding stroke, we are  identifying gene expression biomarkers for stroke identified in carotid atheroma plaques. We are performing genome-wide RNAseq in smooth muscle cells isolated from either symptomatic or asymptomatic carotid plaques, which has revealed functionally distinct gene expression signatures. Part of this research line is also analysing autophagic pathways involved in plaque building and rupture.

Techniques and biomaterials

Genotyping; RNAseq; digital and qPCR; flow cytometry and sorting; immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy; primary cell cultivation techniques (T lymphocytes, dendritic cells, atheroma-derived smooth muscle cells); reporter and expression vectors, mutagenesis; interactome analysis; biosamples of MS and stroke patients in collaboration with neurologists.

Equipment

Miltenyi MACSQuant Flow Cytometer; Bio-Rad NGC Quest 10 System; Bio-Rad QX200 Droplet Digital PCR System; ABI7500 FAST.