Based on strengths in glycobiology, microbial biotechnology, biological system's engineering and bio-analytics, our research group is developing innovative molecular technology to enable novel approaches to the study, diagnosis and treatment of disease.
At the moment, our strategic technology development focuses on the eukaryotic cell’s secretory system as a basis for the discovery and development of novel biopharmaceutical concepts. We are also developing new molecular analytical technology for the discovery of blood plasma/serum biomarkers of disease, as well as immunotherapy targets on cells. For example, we discovered new markers for the non-invasive monitoring of liver disease, and these markers are now being validated and translated into routinely applicable diagnostic tests. We are also investigating and engineering the interaction between the tuberculosis vaccine (Mycobacterium bovis BCG) and the immune system, for the purpose of designing a fully protective TB vaccine, which is a major and urgent global public health need.
Our research is always inspired by a rigorous scientific, medical, technological and even economical analysis of particular important unmet medical needs, but then we take a long-term fundamental biotechnology approach to design systems and methodologies that could solve these needs. Often, our fundamental biotechnology research then generates concepts and tools that turn out to enable steps forward also in sometimes entirely different areas of medical research, diagnosis and treatment. This then feeds new projects in the lab. Research in the lab is thus not focused on one particular disease area: we go where our technological innovation can bring the biggest impact. We collaborate with disease area experts as well as biotech and pharma companies active in particular medical areas.
In addition to leading his own research lab, Nico Callewaert accepted the position of Director of the VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology as of 2014, where he is focusing the Center as a VIB innovation hub in molecular biomedical technology.