As a child, I was always making coloured solutions in little flasks and playing ‘doctor’, hence no wonder I decided to study Chemistry and ended up working in a Biopharmaceutical company. I started studying pure Chemistry at the UGent in 1988, and in the Master years selected the option Biotechnology, at the time a quite new study direction. As I found research and biotechnology very interesting, I started a PhD thesis, studying the chaperone assisted folding of actin and tubulin. I performed this work in the lab of Prof. Vandekerckhove (Department of Biochemistry, UGent) which became in that period part of VIB: Department of Medical Protein Research. After obtaining my PhD in March 1997, I worked as a post-doc in the same lab continuing the research on actin folding, but moving in the direction of studying muscle diseases related to misfolding of actin, hereby coaching several master and PhD students. I was fortunate to move with the labs into a very pretty building, carrying my name, the institute Rommelaere…
In 2007, I made a career switch and started working as a Scientist at Ablynx, leading the discovery phase of several therapeutic projects. Very soon, I started combining this job with being leader of the Protein Production and Profiling team (PPP-team). This team produces Nanobodies at small scale and medium throughput for functional and biophysical characterisation. Till today, I am performing this combined function, with as title ‘Section Head’. I the scientist role, I was involved in the discovery of eo Nanobodies against IL23 (Desmyter 2017), Rabies (Terryn 2014, 2016) and IL17. The latter Nanobody (M1095) was developed in collaboration with Merck KGaA and has completed a very successful phase I study in psoriasis. Currently I am working on 4 Sanofi collaboration projects in the immune-inflammation area.