Allergy network

Background and research focus

Background

The Allergy Network at the Ghent University has created an environment promoting multidisciplinary fundamental and translational research with research groups involved in allergy and immunology. Prof. Philippe Gevaert founded the Allergy Network in 2008. In this setting specialists from several disciplines bring their knowledge and experience together to provide the necessary insights to conduct scientific and clinical research in the field of allergy.

The Allergy Network at the Ghent University Hospital  is a multidisciplinary network of clinicians involved in the care of patients with allergy: Dermatology, Pulmonary Diseases, Otorhinolaryngology, Ophthalmology, Gastroenterology, Paediatric Gastroenterology, Pulmonary Diseases, Paediatric Pulmonary Diseases, Anesthesiology and Emergency Medicine.

Because allergy is often accompanied by diverse complaints, patients often need the advice from several specialists. The inter-service care network provides an answer to the diagnostic and therapeutic challenges that arise when different disciplines must be consistent and work together efficiently. To guarantee a sustainable top care, knowledge and expertise is kept up to date. The current knowledge is continuously checked with the latest scientific evidence. 

This setting has created an environment promoting multidisciplinary fundamental and translational research with research groups involved in allergy and immunology within Ghent University.

Research focus

  • Allergic Rhinitis and allergen specific immunotherapy
  • Nasal polyps and novel monoclonal antibody treatments
  • Food Allergy - safety and detection

Members

Professors and Guest Professors

Philippe Gevaert, Claus Bachert, Hilde Lapeere, Marc Coppens, Peter Hellings

Postdoctoral researchers

Lara Derycke, Stijn Vanhee

PhD candidates

Sophie Scheire, Jozefien Declercq, Jarno Decraemer, Inés Lammens

Technical staff

Natalie Deruyck

National and international collaborations

The Allergy Network of the Ghent University Hospital is a collaboration platform between various disciplines involved in the allergic disease. This is a platform of expertise regarding allergy. Specialists from the relevant disciplines bring their knowledge and experience to provide the necessary insights to conduct scientific and clinical research.

The Allergy Network of the Ghent University Hospital is a GA2LEN (Global Allergy and Asthma European network of excellence) certified network of Excellence. Ghent University and Prof. Paul Van Cauwenberge were the founding partners of the GA2LEN. This project was part of the 6th European framework program, which has as goal the integration of molecular, genetic and clinical knowledge on the area of asthma and allergy.

Further, our laboratories collaborate in other European projects like PREDICTA and MEDALL, which are part of the 7th European framework programs.

  • The Allergy Network of the Ghent University Hospital and Prof. Philippe Gevaert are involved in the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI)  and Prof. Gevaert was member of the Scientific program committee and of the Executive committee of the EAACI. The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) is the leading professional organization in the field of allergy, promoting excellence in clinical care, education, training and basic and translational research, all with the ultimate goal of improving the health of allergic patients. Currently he is the past chair of the EAACI ENT section.
  • The Allergy Network of the Ghent University Hospital and Prof. Stefaan Dehenauw are involved in epidemiological research on food allergy in the HELENA study (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence), which is part of the 6th European framework program.

At the national level there is a close collaboration with ILVO (Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research). The ILVO and the Allergy Network share PhD students: Marjolein Vandekerckhove and Kaatje Van Vlierberghe. This transnational project makes use of phage display technology for the selection of monoclonal antibodies in allergen research and diagnostics. The collaboration with ILVO is highly complementary. ILVO specialises in developing better detection tools to detect specific epitopes that can cause allergic reactions. The Allergy Network has the knowledge and skills to apply the results of the screening tools in a safe and controlled manner in food allergic patients.

Further there is a close collaboration with Prof Bart Lambrecht from the VIB (Flemish Institute for Biotechnology)  on many aspects of allergy and novel treatments for allergy. Relevent to food allergy there is a research project on post-liver transplant food allergy in children involving the following researchers: Prof. M. Van Winckel and R. De Bruyne (Paediatric Gastroenterology), Prof. H. Lapeere, and VIB Prof. Dr. B. Lambrecht and Dr. M. Dullaers.

The Allergy Network of the Ghent University Hospital has several industrial alliances and research projects companies such as MSD, GSK, Stallergenes, ALK, Argenx, Ablynx, AstraZeneca, Regeneron, Novartis, Genentech, Sanofi, Biomay and Bekaert textiles. In particular the Allergy network has a clinical trial centre with a dedicated and a GCP certified team.

The Allergy Network also has an alliance with Living Tomorrow (Vilvoorde), where several applications about food allergy and food safety have been demonstrated in the project: “My health, today and tomorrow”.

Defended PhDs (last 5 years)

Optimizing tools for food allergen detection and provocation

Marjolein Vandekerkchove (2019)

Innovative strategies to improve the outcome of medical and surgical treatments in chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps

Els De Schryver (2019)

House dust mite allergic rhinitis : a novel take on diagnosis and treatment

Margot Berings (2018)

Immunological consequences of liver transplantation in children: making or breaking tolerance?

Ruth De Bruyne (2015)