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Xavier Saelens

Xavier Saelens

Applying Modern Biotechnology Methods to Develop New Vaccines and Antibody-Based Antivirals Against Human Respiratory Viruses

Xavier Saelens obtained his PhD degree from Ghent University in 1990 in the laboratory of Walter Fiers. After postdoctoral training in the influenza research group of Willy Min Jou and in the Molecular Signaling and Cell Death group of Peter Vandenabeele – both at Ghent University – he started work as an assistant professor in Molecular Virology in 2008. Currently, he is a full professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at Ghent University and a principal investigator at the VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology.

The research team of Xavier Saelens applies modern biotechnology methods to develop new vaccines and antibody-based antivirals against human respiratory viruses such as influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus and coronaviruses. In addition, his group uses interactomics tools to gain new insights in the molecular interplay between host and viral factors.

Together with Walter Fiers, Saelens’ team pioneered the development of a universal influenza A vaccine candidate and elucidated its mechanism of protection. His group also proposed a new human respiratory syncytial vaccine candidate based on the small hydrophobic protein of this virus, which successfully passed a Phase I clinical study. In addition, the team develops single domain antibodies and formats thereof as new candidate biologics to control diseases caused by respiratory viruses.

Xavier Saelens is an Officer of the International Society for Vaccines.

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