Upper Airways Research Laboratory (URL)

Background and research focus


The Upper Airways Research Laboratory (URL) was established by Prof. C. Bachert in 1997 to structure basic scientific and translational research in the area of immunology of the nose and sinuses.

Since then, the URL grew to the internationally known and leading research laboratory for airway immunology, specifically allergic rhinitis, chronic rhinosinusitis and nasal polyposis. The URL also focuses on bacterial and viral infections of the airway mucosa, including SARS-CoV2 infections. 

Research focus

The URL investigates immunological aspects of airway inflammation in animal and human cell models, established human ex-vivo models of airway disease and performs translational studies in patients to develop approaches from “bench to bedside”.

The disease of our patients is the focus of our lab. We aim to understand the pathomechanisms, differentiate disease phenotypes, develop therapeutic approaches and translate them into clinical studies.

Examples for this approach are the first description of IL-5 as an important mediator in nasal polyp disease to the successful performance of anti-IL5 humanized monoclonal antibody studies, from the discovery of Staphylococcus aureus specific IgE antibodies to successful anti-IgE treatment. The combination of translational research (URL) with clinical research in the Clinical Trial Center (CTC) is an optimal setting.


Professors and Guest Professors

Philippe Gevaert (contact person)

Stijn Vanhee (Department of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics)

Thibaut Van Zele

Peter Hellings

Postdoctoral researchers

PhD candidates

Manon Blauwblomme

Jozefien Declercq (Department of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics)

Ellen ketelaere

Inés Lammens (Department of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics)

Elke Vandewalle

Technical staff

Natalie De Ruyck

Gabriële Holtappels

National and international collaborations

Prof. Bachert performs research in collaboration with Prof. B. Bröker, University of Greifswald, Prof. B. Lambrecht, VIB Ghent, Prof. L.O. Cardell, Karolinska Institute Stockholm, Prof. J. Bousquet, University of Montpellier, Prof. NG Papadopoulos, University of Manchester, and many more. Prof. Bachert also holds a professorship at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, and at the Sun-Yat Sen University, Guangzhou, China. 

The lab received support from a wide range of national (FWO, IUAP, BOF, and GOA) and international  research funds (European Union FP6 GA2LEN, FP7 MedAll and Predicta). Furthermore, there is support from pharmaceutical companies in connection with clinical and translational studies (e.g. GSK, MSD, Novartis, Sanofi-Aventis, ALK, Sterna Biologicals, Biotech Tools and many others).

Defended PhDs (last 5 years)

Eosinophilic mucin in chronic rhinosinusitis: clinical implications and long-term outcome

Stephan Vlaminck (2024)

Unraveling Inflammation in Chronic Rhinosinusitis: From Endotyping to Impact of Biologicals

Sharon Van Nevel (2024)

Chronic rhinosinusitis : natural history, impact on health-related quality of life, and patient perspectives   

Asif Hameed Khan (2022)

Treating allergic rhinitis with biologicals: a new therapeutic paradigm?

Jarno De Craemer (2022)

Differentiating neutrophilic and eosinophilic inflammation in chronic rhinosinusitis  

Tim Delemarre (2022)

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)

The interplay of the staphylococcal protease SplD and IL-33 in the development of allergic asthma in mice

Andrea Renate Teufelberger (2018)

The Airway Microbiota: Association with Inflammatory Patterns in Chronic Rhinosinusitis

Thanit Chalermwatanachai (2018)

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

Margot Berings (2018)

Late-onset Inflammatory Airway Disease: from Populations to Endotypes

Peter Tomassen (2017)

The role of viruses and Staphylococcus aureus in propagating a Th2 response in human nasal polyps

Feng Lan (2016)

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

Ruth De Bruyne (2015)