Gerlinde Van de Walle, DVM, PhD
Assistant Professor of Viral Pathogenesis
Laboratory of Viral Pathogenesis and Stem Cell Biology
Herpesviruses are double stranded DNA viruses that cause disease in humans and animals. These viruses, following primary infection, will establish a life-long latent infection from which they can reactivate years later to produce new, infectious virus. Our laboratory aims to develop natural virus-host model systems to study this switch from latent to lytic infection in more detail. More specifically, we will study histone modifications because these chromatin modifications appear to offer an epigenetic switch between latent and lytic infections. The long-term goal is to develop rationally based antivirals for the prevention of herpesvirus reactivation.
Our stem cell research is focusing on two types of stem cells. On the one hand we study mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) from horses, to optimize their potential in regenerative medicine. The use of stem cell therapy in the treatment of joint and soft tissue injuries in horses has exploded over the past 5 years, even though there is very little scientific evidence to document the safety or efficacy of these treatments. On the other hand, we study mammary gland stem cells (MaSC) from dogs and cats to investigate their role in the development of mammary cancer. Mammary tumors are among the most common cancers in feline dogs and cats of which approximately 50% and 80% are malignant, respectively. Because this prevalence is comparable to the situation in women, these studies are not only relevant for companion animals, but could also be of value for human medicine.
- Gerlinde Van de Walle
- Publications (Pubmed)