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Guy Van Camp

  • Research interest:For several decades, Guy Van Camp’s has a strong international reputation is in the field of hereditary hearing loss, with a main emphasis on nonsyndromic sensorineural hearing impairment and otosclerosis. In the early years of the research, large families were collected in Belgium and The Netherlands, as well as in countries with high consanguinity rate such as Iran. These pedigrees were analyzed by linkage analysis. Subsequently, the genes involved were identified by positional cloning. The laboratory was able to localize a large number of deafness genes, and to identify many of them. Since later years, also complex genetic forms of hearing impairment are being analyzed, including age-related hearing impairment and otosclerosis. The laboratory has built substantial expertise in this field, and has collected large patient and family collections. The laboratory has been the first to identify genes that are associated with these complex forms of hearing impairment. Some of the genes that were identified are being studied functionally, and mouse models are made for further analysis. One gene in particular, GSDME (DFNA5), is being studied in detail. This gene is responsible for autosomal dominant hearing impairment, but is also an important tumor suppressor gene inactivated in various frequent forms of cancer.The laboratory has always felt an important obligation to translate the research results into benefit for patients, and played an important role in developing DNA diagnostics for deafness. This is done in close collaboration with the diagnostic lab of the Center of Medical Genetics. The lab played a major role in implementing diagnostics for GJB2 as one of the first labs in the world, after contributing to the identification of the gene. The lab was also at the forefront of using massively parallel sequencing for developing better diagnostics using gene panels for nonsyndromic and syndromic deafness, which made Medical Genetics Antwerp a reference lab for genetic deafness in Belgium and EuropeTriggered by the GSDME gene involved in hearing loss and cancer is oncogenetics, a research line in cancer genetics and epigenetics was started in 2014. A tight collaboration has been initiated with the oncology department at the University of Antwerp, resulting in the start of several new projects and new PhD students. These projects study pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, mesothelioma and colorectal cancer, with a strong emphasis on genomic research and liquid biopsies. A major investment in bioinformatics was made, with bioinformaticians joining the research team, resulting in a growing expertise and custom pipelines for data analysis of exome, genome and transciptome data, as well as data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA).
  • Keywords:CANCER, GENETIC ANALYSIS, EPIGENETICS, GENETIC VARIATION, GENETIC DISEASE, Biomedical sciences (incl. biochemistry)
  • Disciplines:Analysis of next-generation sequence data, Bioinformatics of disease, Cancer biology, Cancer diagnosis
  • Research techniques:Technologically, the laboratory has state-of-the art genetic equipment, including next generation sequencing equipment (Illumina Hiseq, Nextseq, Miseq), and strong expertise in the bioinformatics pipelines for sequence data analysis.
  • Users of research expertise:The laboratory offers its expertise and equipment to other academic research teams for collaborative research.