Koen Rombouts

koen rombouts


Koen Rombouts
Laboratory for General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy
Ghent University
Harelbekestraat 72
9000 Gent
Tel: 0032 9 264 8047 (secretary)
Tel: 0032 9 264 8095 (direct)
Fax: 0032 9 264 8189
E-mail: Koen.Rombouts@UGent.be


Graduated in 2011 as a Bio-engineer with major in Cell and gene biotechnology, I started working as a PhD student at the laboratory of general biochemistry and physical pharmacy under the supervision of Prof. Braeckmans and Dr. Remaut the same year. My research interest revolve around advanced microscopy techniques, especially fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) and single particle tracking (SPT), plasmid DNA (pDNA), intracellular trafficking and fluorescent labeling methods. Next to my research, I am an assistant for the practical courses in biochemistry and biophysics II, lectured in the 2nd bachelor by Prof. Demeester.

Summary of Research Project(s)

Degradation of gene therapy products is an important bottleneck in the transfection pathway of pDNA. Since the knowledge on this subject is limited to a small amount of experiments in which cells are fixed (and thus killed) before observations can be done, in vivo advanced microscopy methods might be the key to gaining insight in the degradation process that takes place intra and extracellular. The advanced microscopy techniques used in my work are FCS, FCS-based methods and SPT. In FCS fluctuations in the fluorescence give information about the diffusion coefficient, size and concentration. In collaboration with the group of Prof. Ameloot in UHasselt, different analysis methods are tested. SPT tracks the movement of fluorescent labeled particles. From this tracks the diffusion coefficient, size and concentration can be obtained. This techniques will be tested for their potential to detect differences between fully functional and degraded pDNA.

The knowledge obtained from this research can then be used to develop and screen carriers for gene therapy for their protective properties.

A second part of my research considers the different DNA and RNA labeling methods and their influence on intracellular trafficking. Fluorescent labeling is often overlooked when designing an experiment and we submitted a paper in which a series of assays are described which might help in choosing the right labeling density and method.

Recent work that is presented in poster format can be found on: http://users.ugent.be/~korombou