Since the very first contact with scientific research back in 1997 as final year master student in chemistry, Peter Dubruel has a huge passion for research. Both in his master and PhD thesis, he had the pleasure of working on the development of polymers for biomedical applications. Since end 2006, he is sharing his passion for research as Professor with master students, PhD, post-docs, his (inter)national collaborators and also while teaching.
Since end 2006, significant funding has been awarded yearly from IWT, FWO, EU, UGent (BOF, IOF), … to perform cutting edge research within the field of polymers for biomedical applications. This has led to the successful defense of more than 35 PhD theses and several patents. Every year, several master students have been supervised.
On the level of projects, the Polymer Chemistry and Biomaterials Group (PBM) has and is involved in a large number of national and international projects including EU-FP6, EU-FP7, H2020, ESA, IWT (O&O, PhD grants), FWO (post-doctoral and PhD grants), UGent (BOF, GOA and IOF) of which several ones coordinated.
Recognizing and training talent are an integral part of leadership. Since end 2006, 7 people that performed their PhD and/or post-doc within PBM have been promoted as Professor in universities worldwide.
The PBM group is embedded in the Department of Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry (WE07) and the Centre for Macromolecular Chemistry (CMAC). It consists of a healthy mix of international and national scientists. The group is headed since end 2006 by Prof. Peter Dubruel and since 2018 together with Prof. Sandra Van Vlierberghe. The PBM group at UGent has the development of polymers for biomedical applications as core expertise. Research focusses on the development and characterisation of novel multifunctional polymers from both synthetic and biological origin. Examples include therapeutic polymers, biodegradable polyesters and hydrogel building blocks. Using these polymers, key application fields under study cover nucleic acid (DNA/RNA) delivery, orthopaedic (meniscus), ocular (macular degeneration), cardiovascular (stents and bypasses) and wound dressings (burns, ulcers).
Since 2021, Peter Dubruel is head of the Department of Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry within the Faculty of Sciences at UGent.
Prof. Dr. Sandra Van Vlierberghe holds a guest professorship at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Brussels Photonics, VUB, Belgium) and a 100% professorship (BOF-ZAP) at Ghent University (Polymer Chemistry & Biomaterials Group, Belgium). She has acquired expertise related to the synthesis, the modification and the processing of photo-responsive and/or photo-crosslinkable (bio)polymers including thermoplasts (e.g. polyesters) and hydrogels (e.g. proteins and polysaccharides) for a variety of biomedical applications (e.g. tissue engineering, drug delivery, sensors, photonics, etc.). She is experienced in the field of polymer processing using 3D printing (laser- versus extrusion-based additive manufacturing), electrospinning and two-photon polymerization (2PP). She received her PhD in Sciences in 2008 at Ghent University. She authored >165 Web of Science Core Collection cited papers, she has a h-index of 32 (WoS), is promoter of 17 PhD’s and she edited three books, authored 7 chapters in books of which 5 invited. She is treasurer of the Belgian Polymer Group (BPG), former spokesperson of the ‘Young Scientist Forum (YSF)’, TERMIS-EU council member and member of the independent ESB Awards Committee. She serves on the editorial board of several journals focussing on tissue engineering. In 2017, she received the Jean Leray award from the European Society for Biomaterials. She is (co-)inventor of numerous patents and patent applications, is co-founder of the spin-off ‘XpectINX’ focussing on bioinks for biofabrication purposes and is involved in the spin-off project Gelgraft Medical.
Veerle graduated as ‘industrieel ingenieur chemie – algemene chemie’ in 1994 at KIHO (Ghent, Belgium). As Erasmus student she worked during her thesis on chemical recycling of PET to polyol at the Fachhochschule Aalen (Germany). After her thesis she stayed another 3 years in Germany to work for a PUR company where she got the chance to scale up the chemical recycling of PET to polyol and to use the recyclate in their PUR production. As at that time a Belgium diploma was not accepted/recognized in Germany, she combined work and study in order to obtain a German work permit. In 1996 she graduated as ‘Diplom Ingenieur Polymerchemie’ at the FH Aalen (Germany)
In 1997 she moved back to Belgium to work as chemical engineer in the International Development Centre of Recticel. After half a year she got an offer from the Gates Europe Company and started working there as Material Development Engineer. In 2000 Veerle decided to work as chemical engineer for the Philips company and stayed there until September 2007. Since then she has been working as lab manager for the UGent PBM group. Inspired by the PhD students she is besides being a lab manager also involved in scientific work and is currently working on nitric oxide releasing polymers as therapeutic delivery of exogenous NO.