The Scleroderma & Systemic Sclerosis Fund

Scleroderma is an unusual condition and a form of rheumatism. It is an auto-immune disease which causes the immune system to also attack the healthy cells in the body. This can lead to thickening and hardening of the skin, but can also affect organs such as the heart, kidneys and lungs. Scleroderma can affect anyone, but it occurs most frequently in women between the ages of 30 and 50. Another name for the condition is systemic sclerosis, due to the fact that it affects inner organs. It can also lead to joint pain or irregularities in the region of the blood vessels. The cause is not yet known.

Want to make a donation to the Scleroderma & Systemic Sclerosis Fund?Prof. dr. Vanessa Smith

Your donation to the Scleroderma & Systemic Sclerosis Fund will support research by Professor Vanessa Smith into scleroderma, connective tissue conditions and rheumatology, with a view to developing better treatments and, ultimately, a cure.

I would like to donate online

We gratefully welcome donations to the Scleroderma & Systemic Sclerosis Fund – donations can be made via bank transfer to account number BE26 3900 9658 0329, including the message “Scleroderma Fund”. Your gift is tax deductible starting from €40 per year.

More information about the fund?

Background information

The Scleroderma & Systemic Sclerosis Fund was established at Ghent University in 2020 by Professor Vanessa Smith, one of her patients, and the patient’s spouse and daughter. They had organised a charity event in order to support Professor Smith’s research group. The proceeds from this event were used to establish the fund.


The aim of the fund is to provide financial support for:

  • Research into scleroderma in children and adults, and for public outreach about this;
  • Finding innovative techniques for research into connective tissue conditions;
  • Research into unusual connective tissue diseases;
  • Research into rheumatology.

Want to find out more about the research?

What else can I do?

Contact us

Do you have questions about this or any of the other Ghent University funds? Please get in touch and we will be happy to assist you.

University Fund of Ghent University
Wim Van der Planken
+32 9 264 33 84