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Veerle Baekelandt

Veerle Baekelandt, PhD, is a neurobiologist and full professor at the faculty of medicine of the KU Leuven, Belgium.

She heads the laboratory for Neurobiology and Gene Therapy. The general interest of the lab concerns the molecular pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease and related disorders. The approach consists of generating novel cellular and rodent models based on genes involved in familial forms of Parkinson’s disease, with the aim to better reproduce the pathogenesis of the disease than the existing models. The final goal is to develop novel causal therapeutic strategies that can cure or slow down the disease. Her current research focuses on the role of α-synuclein aggregation in Parkinson’s disease and multiple system atrophy, and on the function of LRRK2, a kinase linked to Parkinson’s disease. The lab is using viral vector technology, stereotactic neurosurgery and non-invasive molecular imaging as core technologies. Dr. Baekelandt is recognized internationally for the application of viral vectors in rodent brain to model and study Parkinson’s disease. She has also contributed to groundbreaking research demonstrating a prion-like behaviour of the α-synuclein protein.