Hi, my name is Steven.
I am a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University.

My work mainly focuses on understanding the molecular underpinnings of neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Besides this I have a general interest in evolution, RNA and protein metabolism, and tandem repeats.

Aside from doing research in the lab, I am an avid science communicator and freelance writer, aiming to spread my passion for science. I am also an aspiring science artist and amateur photographer.
About me
​​As a child I grew up in a small town in Belgium, where I spent my days catching bugs, collecting fossils, and pretending I was David Attenborough on an expedition through our garden. Reading On the Origin of Species at the age of 13, was the decisive event that consolidated my love and passion for biology.

Years later, I ended up studying Bioscience Engineering at the University of Leuven. When obtaining my Master's degree, I worked in the lab of Dr. Kevin Verstrepen on the role of tandem repeats in evolution. Thereafter I continued my doctoral work on tandem repeats at the University of Leuven and VIB, but now in the context of ALS and FTD. My PhD training was supervised by Dr. Wim Robberecht and Dr. Ludo Van Den Bosch.

During my doctoral years I have had the privilege to join forces with ALS patient organizations in our fight against this disease. My dedication to ALS research and hope to one day contribute to a cure for this dreadful condition, has now brought me to California. At Stanford University, under the guidance of Dr. Aaron Gitler, I continue to study the pathobiology of ALS to come up with novel therapeutic targets for this disease.
Education & Positions
​​University of Leuven, Belgium
   • BSc Bioscience Engineering (Cell & Gene Technology) - 2010 - Cum Laude
   • MSc Bioscience Engineering (Cell & Gene Technology) - 2012 - Magna Cum Laude
      Lab for Systems Biology, VIB/University of Leuven, 08.2011 - 06.2012
      Promoter: Prof. K. J. Verstrepen
      Thesis: Functional consequences of variable tandem repeats in a transcription factor.
   • PhD Biomedical Sciences - 2017
      Lab of Neurobiology, VIB/University of Leuven, 08.2012 - 06.2017
      Promoters: Prof. W. Robberecht, Prof. L. Van Den Bosch and Prof. P. Van Damme
      Thesis: Mechanisms in C9orf72 linked ALS and FTLD.​​

Universidad de Salamanca, Spain
   • Erasmus student - 2009

Brown University, USA
   • Visiting scientist - 04.2016
      Host: Prof. N. L. Fawzi
      Topic: Phase separation of arginine-rich DPRs

Stanford University, USA
   • Postdoc - 07.2017 - current
      Promoter: Prof. A. D. Gitler
Awards & Funding
2017:   Laureate - Treeway Graduate Reward Program
2015:   Poster Award 8th UMHD conference, Costa Rica
2014:   Best Oral Presentation ENCALS meeting, Leuven

2018:   Postdoc fellowship - EMBO
2013:   Research grant - ALS Liga Belgium
2013:   PhD fellowship - IWT