Van Ginderachter, Jo

Our mission is to use the heterogeneity of myeloid cells (MCs) as an in vivo sensor to track inflammatory responses and as a target for therapeutic intervention. MC heterogeneity is studied from the perspective of ontogeny and activation state in selected inflamed tissues, in particular in the liver (Kupffer cells) and tumors (hypoxic and normoxic tumor-associated macrophages, myeloid-derived suppressor cell subpopulations).

Based on markers that allow discriminating between selected MC subpopulations, we fully invest in the development of tools to visualize and modulate the in vivo differentiation, recruitment and function of selected MC subpopulations in inflamed tissues. These include in particular the identification of Kupffer cell-specific markers and markers for different tumor-associated macrophage or dendritic cell populations to generate transgenic (knock-in) mice allowing tracking and ablating selected MC populations to evaluate their role in homeostasis and in distinct models of liver injury and tumor growth, respectively. We also fully exploit the strategic advantage of Nanobodies® as tools for in vivo imaging and therapeutic targeting of MCs.

Models available:

  • Immunobiology of myeloid cells, mainly monocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells, in cancer and parasitic diseases

Cells available:

  • Macrophages (mainly in tumors and liver)
  • Myeloid-derived-suppressor cells

Technology available:

  • Multiple in vitro and in vivo immunological techniques
  • Flow cytometry
  • Nanobody technology
  • Surface Plasmon Resonance
  • Access to several core facilities such as the Imaging Core Facility (state of the art microscopy), the Genomics Core Facility (microarrays, RNAseq,...)

Key publications related to Mye-EUNITER:

  1. Movahedi K., Guilliams M., Van den Bossche J., Van den Bergh R., Gysemans C., Beschin A., De Baetselier P., and Van Ginderachter J.A. Identification of discrete tumor-induced myeloid-derived suppressor cell subpopulations with distinct T-cell suppressive activity. Blood, 2008, Vol 111: 4233-4244. (IF: 10.432)

  2. Movahedi K., Laoui D., Gysemans C., Baeten M., Stangé G., Van den Bossche J., Mack M., Pipeleers D., In’t Veld P., De Baetselier P., and Van Ginderachter J.A. Different tumor microenvironments contain functionally distinct subsets of macrophages derived from Ly6C(high) monocytes. Cancer Res, 2010, Vol 70: 5728-5739 (IF : 8.234)

  3. Movahedi K, Schoonooghe S, Laoui D, Houbracken I, Waelput W, Breckpot K, Bouwens L, Lahoutte T, De Baetselier P, Raes G, Devoogdt N, Van Ginderachter J.A. Nanobody-based targeting of the Macrophage Mannose Receptor for effective in vivo imaging of tumor-associated macrophages. Cancer Res, 2012, Vol 72(16): 4165-4177(IF: 7.856)

  4. Van Valckenborgh E, Schouppe E, Movahedi K, De Bruyne E, Menu E, De Baetselier P, Vanderkerken K, Van Ginderachter J.A. Multiple myeloma induces the immunosuppressive capacity of distinct myeloid-derived suppressor cell subpopulations in the bone marrow. Leukemia, 2012, Vol 26(11): 2424-2428 (IF: 10.164)

  5. Laoui D, Van Overmeire E, Di Conza G, Aldeni C, Keirsse J, Morias Y, Movahedi K, Houbracken I, Schouppe E, Elkrim Y, Karroum O, Jordan B, Carmeliet P, Gysemans C, De Baetselier P, Mazzone M,  Van Ginderachter J.A. Tumor hypoxia does not drive differentiation of tumor-associated macrophages but rather fine-tunes the M2-like macrophage population. Cancer Res, 2014, Vol 74(1): 24-30 (IF: 8.65)

Researcher Spotlight:


Jo Van Ginderachter graduated with a Master in Bioengineering Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (1995). He performed his PhD in the lab of Patrick De Baetselier studying the interaction between mouse lymphoma models and the immune system (2002). Subsequently, he became Research & Development coordinator at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (2003) and postdoctoral researcher and staff scientist in the lab of Cellular and Molecular Immunology at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, focusing primarily on the interplay between myeloid cells (macrophages, monocytes, MDSCs) and tumors. He became an assistant professor in Immunology in 2010 and full professor Immunology in 2014.

Since 2012, Jo Van Ginderachter is head of the Cellular and Molecular Immunology lab at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Group Leader of VIB (Flemish Institute for Biotechnology), an excellence-based research institute in the biomedical field with a strong focus on translating breakthrough discoveries to applications in the field. His lab’s mission is to use the heterogeneity of myeloid cells (MCs) as an in vivo sensor to track inflammatory responses and as a target for therapeutic intervention (Figure 1). Recent evidence reveals that tissue-associated MCs contain different subpopulations with different ontological origin, including embryonic yolk sac and fetal liver-derived resident macrophages and adult bone marrow-derived recruited MCs (mainly monocytes, monocyte-derived macrophages, neutrophils and dendritic cells). Evidence is mounting that these MC subpopulations perform distinct functions in health and disease. Thus, the lab focuses on studying (epi)genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and functional heterogeneity of different MC subpopulations present in selected inflamed tissues, in particular in tumors (tumor-associated macrophages, myeloid-derived suppressor cells and dendritic cells), the liver (Kupffer cells), and the brain (microglia).  

Within Mye-EUNITER, Jo Van Ginderachter is Work Group 2 leader together with Sven Brandau, and is the Belgian representative in the consortium together with Pierre Van der Bruggen.