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Research topics of the Matthijnssens-lab

The Laboratory of Viral Metagenomics is part of the Clinical and Epidemiological Virology division of the Rega Institute, studying the viral component of microbiomes as a whole using shotgun based metagenomics approaches. A sample treatment procedure to efficiently purify viral particles for viral metagenomics was fully optimized and is now being applied in various studies on:

1) the role of the human gut virome as a cause of disease or a biomarker in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD), and the effect of Fecal Microbiota Transplantation and drug treatment strategies on their gut virome.

2) the potential of enteric bat viruses to cause zoonotic infections in human populations living in close contact with bat populations.

3) recruitment dynamics of the virome in the infant gut during the first year of life, and effects of changes in diet, disease, antibiotics, etc. on the infant gut virome.

4) the physiological characterization of the human gut microbiota-liver axis, and its role in widespread metabolic disorders including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), alcoholic liver disease, and decompensation of liver cirrhosis. (MicrobLiver,  Microb-Predict)

5) the role of the honeybee (Apis mellifera) virome on the winter loss.

6) analyses of known and novel arboviruses in mosquito's

Jelle Matthijnssens

Principal investigator
Rotavirus epidemiology & evolution
Viral metagenomics

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PhD student

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Leen Beller

PhD student
Environmental and host effects on
the infant gut microbiome development

Ward Deboutte

PhD student
The role of viruses in winter loss
of honeybees (Apis mellifera) in Belgium

Chenyan Shi

PhD student
Unbiased analyses of known and novel arbovirussen
in mosquito vectors in the tropics

Ceren Simsek

PhD student
Circulation of rotavirus vaccine strains and
rotavirus vaccine breakthrough cases in Belgium

Lore Van Espen

PhD student
Gut virome in patients with chronic liver disease

Daan Jansen

PhD student
The role of the virome in success of Fecal
Microbiota Transplantation in UC patients

Maria Ioanna Papadaki

PhD student
Untangling the gut microbiota development (bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites) in Bangladeshi infants using various metagenomics approaches

Zafeiro Zizi

PhD student
Discovery and molececular characterization of novel economically important viral plant pathogens

Lila Close

Lab Technician
Specialist in everything