Upper Airways Research Laboratorium

The Upper Airways Research Laboratory (URL, head: C. Bachert) was established in 1998 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.  


Staff Members and 
Post-doctoral Researchers
PhD-candidatesTechnical Staff




PhD-exchange fellows








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 disease, 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. We are hungry to discover more…


The lab receives 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, Nuvo Pharma, ALK, Sterna Biologicals, Biotech Tools and many others).

Prof. Bachert and Prof. Van Cauwenberge are members of ARIA, a WHO initiative on allergic rhinitis, and Prof. Bachert and Prof. Gevaert are members of EPOS, an EAACI initiative on rhinosinusitis. Prof. Bachert also is member of the Board of Directors of the World Allergy Organization WAO, and holds a professorship at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

Defended PhD's

Peter Tomassen
   Late-onset Inflammatory Airway Disease: From populations to endotypes (2017)

Feng Lan, MD
   The role of viruses and Staphylococcus aureus in propagating a Th2 response in human nasal polyps (2016)     

Ruth De Bruyne, MD

   Immunological consequences of liver transplantation in children. Making or breaking tolerance? (2015)

Lien Calus, MD
   Diagnostic and therapeutic consequences of mucosal lymphoid aggregates and local IgE in chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis (2013)

Nicholas Van Bruane, MD
    TGF-beta in chronic sinus diseases: from immuneregulation to remodeling (2012)

Wouter Huvenne, MD
    Role of Staphylococcus aureus Enterotoxin B in the aggravation of airway inflammation (2012)

Thibaut Van Zele, MD
   Nasal polyposis; differentiation of chronic sinus disease and impact of Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxins (2008)

Joke Patou, MD
    Ex-vivo model to stimulate nasal tissue and new therapeutic targets (2011)

Claudina Perez Novo, MSc
   Regulation of Arachidonic Acid Pathway and Eosinophilic Inflammation in Chronic Rhinosinusitis/ Nasal Polyposis. Potential Role of Staphylococcus aureus Enterotoxins (2006)

Sofie Claeys, MD
    Innate and adaptive immunity in upper airway disease: identification of chronic sinusitis subgroups by innate and adaptive mediators of inflammation (2005) 

Philippe Gevaert, MD
    Eosinophilic inflammation in nasal polyposis: regulation of interleukin 5 and interleukin 5 receptor α isoforms (2004)

Jean-Baptiste Watelet, MD
   Fibrogenic growth factors and metalloproteinases during wound healing after sinus surgery (2004)


Campus UZ Gent

Medical Research Building 2 (ingang 38)

First Floor - Room 110.018

C. Heymanslaan 10

B - 9000 Gent BELGIUM

Phone: +32 9 332 68 80