Laboratory for the Molecular Biology of Leukemia

The Molecular Biology of Leukemia (MBL) lab is part of the Center for Human Genetics at the KU Leuven, and also part of the Center for the Biology of Disease of VIB, a life sciences research institute in Flanders.

We try to understand the genetic causes of leukemia, with the aim to use that information to develop novel treatment strategies.

Molecular analysis of leukemias has identified a large number of specific chromosomal defects and oncogenes. This information is used for diagnostic purposes and for risk stratification, but the translation of current genetic insights into therapeutic applications is limited. The general aim of our projects is to identify novel oncogenic mutations, to study the potential of targeting these deregulated pathways for leukemia therapy, and to study the cooperation of oncogenes during leukemogenesis in order to further improve therapeutic strategies.

  • We aim to identify novel oncogenic events in leukemia using next-generation sequencing (exome sequencing, RNA-sequencing, targeted re-sequencing). 
  • The main focus of our work is on T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), an aggressive T-cell malignancy that is most common in children and adolescents.
  • We have identified several new drivers of T-ALL, which we are studying in cell-based assays, mouse leukemia models, and fly cancer models.
  • In collaboration with the laboratory of Prof. Peter Vandenberghe, we are trying to implement the new sequencing technologies in molecular diagnostics.

Recent papers


Research projects