Background and research focus


The study of Pigmentary Disorders (e.g. vitiligo) has been a research topic of our department since many years. An unique consultation facility for Pigmentary Disorders has been initiated since ± 2000. The department is recognized as the main vitiligo referral center in Belgium and the only national dermatological group performing research on vitiligo in a systematic way. The focus of the related scientific research activities includes measurement outcomes, disease activity, imaging techniques, IL17 pathway and biomarkers.

Research focus

  • Pigmentary disorders:
    • Clinical/epidemiological/therapeutic research
    • Development, validation and optimization of outcome measures for the assessment of vitiligo (
    • Clinical trials using innovative treatment methods (pigment cell transplantation/biologicals/…)
  • Translational/fundamental research:
    • Immunologic research on the pathophysiology of vitiligo with a focus on the plasticity of the IL-17 pathway; identification of targets for immune therapy
    • Identification of biomarkers for vitiligo
    • Translational study on autoinflammatory aspects of vitiligo: research on ‘danger model’


Professors and Guest Professors

Reinhart Speeckaert

Nanja van Geel (contact person)

Postdoctoral researchers

Sandrine Herbelet

PhD candidates

Arno Belpaire

Liesbeth Delbaere

Jolien Duponselle

Zoë De Schryver

National and international collaborations

This research group has established a strategic collaboration with several international vitiligo groups [e.g. Vitiligo European Task Force (VETF) group; Vitiligo Global Issue Consensus Conference (VGICC) group] and are steering the international Vitiligo Score Working Group (including world’s key opinion leaders in the field of vitiligo).

The group received support from national (e.g. BOF, FWO) and international research funds (e.g. Leo Foundation, EADV) as well as from pharmaceutical companies.