VUB/VIB scientist Damya Laoui receives prestigious Collen-Francqui Start-Up Grant for ground-breaking cancer research

VUB/VIB scientist Damya Laoui receives prestigious Collen-Francqui Start-Up Grant for ground-breaking cancer research

VUB researcher Lieve Van den Block appointed Francqui Research Professor for palliative care research

The Francqui Foundation has awarded the Collen-Francqui Start-Up Grant to VUB/VIB professor Damya Laoui. In addition to a financial allowance of €200,000, this three-year mandate also includes a research chair. This prestigious recognition will enable Prof Laoui to continue her award-winning research work into new immunotherapies in the fight against cancer. Professor Lieve Van den Block has also been honoured by the Francqui Foundation. She has been awarded the Francqui Research Professor title for her work within ageing, dementia and the end of life.

The Collen-Francqui Start-Up Grant is awarded every two years to promising scientists younger than 40 who are active in the biomedical domain. The lecturer holds the chair of the same name for three years and can use the grant of €200,00 to finance research publications or to recruit a researcher.

Extra oxygen for cancer research

The Francqui Foundation chose Laoui for her pioneering work on the role of immune cells in cancer treatment. In the coming years she will continue to focus on this, in particular on research into cells containing antigens, such as dendritic cells. Based on this, she will develop immunotherapies that prevent the growth or spread of malignant tumours.

Prof Laoui is currently active within the Cellular and Molecular Immunology laboratory led by Prof Jo Van Ginderachter and the VIB-VUB Center for Inflammation Research. She was previously awarded the renowned I Vanderschueren Prize for her PhD and was named Science Talent of the Year by New Scientist in 2018.

“I am, of course, very pleased to have been awarded this grant,” she said. “It is a great recognition for the work I have done so far. It also provides me with much-needed resources to continue working in the coming years on better cancer treatments that increase patients’ chances of recovery.”


Damya Laoui -  02 629 1978

Prof Laoui’s research can be supported through the VUB Yamina Krossa Fund:

Palliative care

Professor Lieve Van den Block leads the research programme Aging and Palliative Care at the VUB research group Zorg rond het Levenseinde. She researches how better palliative care and support at the end of life can be offered to elderly people, people with dementia and their family members at home, in residential care centres or in other care settings.

“The Francqui Research Professor title offers me the opportunity to focus on my national and international research in these populations for the next three years. Together with a fantastic group of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers at VUB, I will be able to explore how we can better organise palliative care for vulnerable elderly people, by developing and testing new models of palliative home care,” says Van den Block. “We will also be able to investigate how to optimally communicate with people with dementia and their families regarding the last years of their lives, using participatory research designs and innovative analysis techniques. The award of this chair will contribute to further strengthen the position of VUB in the wider research field of palliative and end-of-life care, both nationally and internationally.”


Lieve Van den Block

02 477 43 10

Contact us
Lies Feron
Lies Feron Persrelaties Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Lies Feron
Lies Feron Persrelaties Vrije Universiteit Brussel
About Press - Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Vrije Universiteit Brussel is an internationally oriented university in Brussels, the heart of Europe. By providing excellent research and education on a human scale, VUB wants to make an active and committed contribution to a better society.

The World Needs You

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel assumes its scientific and social responsibility with love and decisiveness. That’s why VUB launched the platform De Wereld Heeft Je Nodig – The World Needs You, which brings together ideas, actions and projects based on six Ps. The first P stands for People, because that’s what it’s all about: giving people equal opportunities, prosperity, welfare, respect. Peace is about fighting injustice, big and small, in the world. Prosperity combats poverty and inequality. Planet stands for actions on biodiversity, climate, air quality, animal rights... With Partnership, VUB is looking for joint actions to make the world a better place. The sixth and last P is for Poincaré, the French philosopher Henri Poincaré, from whom VUB derives its motto that thinking should submit to nothing except the facts themselves. VUB is an ‘urban engaged university’, strongly anchored in Brussels and Europe and working according to the principles of free research.


Press - Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 2
1050 Brussel