VIB Laboratory for Systems Biology & Laboratory for Genetics and Genomics Center for Microbial and Plant Genetics KU Leuven

We combine theory and experiments to investigate if, how and why certain heritable traits are more unstable and variable than others. For most projects, we use the common baker’s and brewer’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as a model system; but we also have experience with other models as well as human cell lines.

Kevin Verstrepen

Science Director
VIB Science Director since 2017
VIB Group leader since 2009
Group leader: FAS Ctr. for Systems Biology, Harvard Univ., Cambridge, US, 2005-2008
Postdoc: MIT, Whitehead Inst. for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, US, 2003-2005
PhD: Univ. of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, 2003

Research areas

Microbiology Computational biology Cell Biology Systems biology Human diseases

Research focus

Apart from investigating basic biological mechanisms and principles, we are also involved in applied research, where we translate our findings into applications in white and red biotechnology, including the generation of superior yeast strains for the production of beer, wine, bread, chocolate, ethanol, biofuel, bioplastics and biochemicals, proteins and pharmaceutics.

The lab comprises three entities:

  1. CMPG Laboratory for Genetics and Genomics, KU Leuven
  2. Laboratory for Systems Biology, VIB Center for Microbiology
  3. Leuven Institute for Beer Research (LIBR)

Our research has two main focal points. First, we use the common brewer’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model to study eukaryotic genetics & genomics, with an emphasis on mechanisms underlying genetic instability, plasticity, rapid evolution and adaptation. Second, we combine traditional breeding methods with the latest molecular technologies and synthetic biology to generate superior yeasts and other microbes for a broad range of industrial applications, ranging from fermented foods and beverages to biofuels, bioplastics, enzymes, proteins and pharmaceuticals.  This translational research is often carried out in collaboration with industrial partners, and several of our improved yeasts are now used commercially.

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Research topics


We are always on the lookout for highly motivated colleagues to join our team. If you are interested, please contact us by applying for the job(s) below:

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The Kevin Verstrepen Lab can only thrive thanks to the dedication and commitment of its people, no matter what their function or seniority. Meet the team members who contributed to the lab's breakthrough science.

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To showcase the world-class scientific research of the Kevin Verstrepen Lab, you can discover their scientific papers in more detail.

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To stay up to date in rapidly developing fields, scientists regularly interact with (international) colleagues. Conferences and other (scientific) events are an excellent way to facilitate such a continent-spanning knowledge exchange. 

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“Golden Chalk” – prize for best teacher awarded by KU Leuven bio-engineering students

Named one of the "leuven hunderds" selected by word magazine

honorary professorship, notthingham university

embo young investigator