Vrije Universiteit Brussel Homepage VIB Homepage

CMIM history

  • In 1983, Patrick De Baetselier initiated an Immunology Unit within the Faculty of Science of the Vrije Universitieit Brussel. The research focus within the unit was on cellular immunology, mainly in the context of tumor biology and later on also parasitology. The basic themes comprise the analysis of immune escape mechanisms as well as the mechanisms involved in the invasive and metastatic behavior of cancer cells.
  • In 1995, VIB, the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology, was founded, joining research groups from different universities in Flanders. At the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Patrick De Baetselier's cellular immunology unit joined VIB as part of the VIB department of Immunology, Parasitology and Ultrastructure. The additional financial input provided by VIB was used to broaden the cellular work to include the molecular-genetic analysis of both tumor-host and parasite-host interactions.
  • The VIB department of Immunology, Parasitology and Ultrastructure also comprised the "Camel Antibody" group of Serge Muyldermans. In this group, all aspects of heavy-chain antibodies within camelids are investigated, from the level of gene organisation, over immunochemistry and antibody structure, going to diverse biotechnological applications of the single-domain antibody fragments, termed nanobodies (Nbs).
    More than 10 years of research in the camel antibody field ensued in 2001 in the establishment of the VUB-VIB spin-off Ablynx, with a mission to valorize the medical (therapeutic) opportunities of Nbs.
  • In 2003, the VIB department of Immunology, Parasitology and Ultrastructure was renamed into the Department of Molecular and Cellular Interactions.
  • In 2003, the units of Patrick De Baetselier and Serge Muyldermans fused and became the Unit of Cellular and Molecular Immunology (CMIM). Besides providing an effective combination of scientific expertise and know-how on various aspects of immunology, this merger also strengthened the immunological research at the VUB by joining two Professors in one unit.
  • This was recently further strengthened by the appointment of Stefan Magez, a former PhD student within the group of Patrick De Baetselier, as research professor. After returning from post-doctoral positions in the labs of F. Brombacher (University of Cape Town, South Africa) and S. Black (University of Massachusetts, US), Stefan Magez is now heading a group on immunoparasitology within CMIM.
  • From 2012 onwards, a strategic decision is taken at VIB to refocus the activities of the Brussels VIB Department into the Department of Structural Biology. At that time, the group of Patrick De Baetselier becomes an independent laboratory within VIB, known as the VIB Myeloid Cell Immunology Laboratory. The group of Stefan Magez remains affiliated with the VIB Department of Structural Biology, though the research lines on structural biology investigations into the molecular interactions involved in cell invasion by parasites. The group of Serge Muyldermans is currently no longer affiliated to VIB.
  • At the level of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the groups of Patrick De Baetselier, Stefan Magez and Serge Muyldermans keep on forming the unit of Cellular and Molecular Immunology to continue benefiting from important synergisms due to complementary expertise, shared infrastructure and equipment and joint educational efforts. Since the end of 2012, CMIM's common interest in research on the "Targeting of inflammation linked to, or provoked by, infectious diseases and cancer" was recognized as a Strategic Research Programme at Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
  • In 2012, Patrick De Baetselier became vice-chancellor of Research at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Since that time, Jo Van Ginderachter became group leader of the VIB Myeloid Cell Immunology Laboratory.
  • Since October 2014, Jo Van Ginderachter obtained a tenure track professorship at Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Back to top

©2011• Cellular and Molecular Immunology • Last update of this page on 15/12/2014