Laboratory Of Molecular Cell Biology
Although less commonly studied compared to bacterial infections, fungal infections pose a serious threat to the health of humans and other organisms. It is estimated that, worldwide, over a billion people suffer from a fungal infection. Apart from superficial infections, also systemic (bloodstream) infections occur, which cause lethality in a great number of patients. In our laboratory, we study Candida, one of the most prevalent pathogenic fungi. We focus on nutrient sensing, drug resistance, and microbe-microbe interactions in exploring options for improved therapy.
The Van Dijck lab focuses on both fundamental research of fungal pathogens and application through validation, collaboration, and close interaction with companies. We aim at gathering insights that can lead to novel therapeutic strategies to combat fungal infections. To reach that goal, we combine molecular biology, genetics, microbiology, biochemistry, and omics approaches, applied in in vitro as well as in vivo settings.
Several promising research lines are presently pursued in our laboratory, all aiming at better understanding fungal pathogens, in order to combat them efficiently.
Picture: Variability in Candida albicans
- Research in Candida species is practically hampered by the limited number of techniques available. We play a pioneering role in the development of state-of-the-art tools for in-depth study of pathogenic fungi, both in in vitro and in living animal models.
- Fungi are extremely versatile. They can adapt to a wide variety of niches. We investigate nutrient sensing and metabolism as a target for antifungal drug development.
- As is the case in bacteria, fungal drug resistance is a serious problem that is further aggravated by the limited number of treatment strategies available. In our lab, we investigate the molecular mechanism of drug resistance in order to potentiate our therapies.
- Microbes rarely exist in solitude, they form complex assemblies of species, often conferring extra pathogenicity and complicating treatment. By investigation of the interplay between relevant species, we aim at blocking their partnership and decreasing the infectability of the fungi.
- Due to the limited number of drug classes available and the onset of resistance, novel antifungal drugs are highly needed. We are actively searching for novel active antifungal compounds. We test the potential applicability of plant compounds, naturally-occurring microbes, and probiotics to prevent or cure infections.
To showcase the world-class scientific research of the Patrick Van Dijck Lab, you can discover their scientific papers in more detail.
The Patrick Van Dijck 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 our breakthrough science.
We are always on the lookout for highly motivated colleagues to join our team. If you are interested, please contact us.
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.