Lab history

Prof. P.-P. Pastoret

Professor Paul-Pierre Pastoret (picture) created the lab in 1979 when he became Professor of Virology-Immunology and viral infectious diseases at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Liège. At that time, the vet faculty despite being already part of the University of Liège was still in Brussels where it stayed until October 1991.

Cureghem Immuno-Vaccino


Professor Paul-Pierre Pastoret has been deeply involved in the development of a recombinant vaccinia-rabies vectored vaccine used for the oral vaccination of wildlife in Europe and in the United States. His contribution to the study of several other animal viruses is also recognized world wide.

In September 2002 Prof. Pastoret moved to the United Kingdom to become the Director of the Institute for Animal Health (IAH) based at Compton, Pirbright and Edinburgh (NPU). From 2005 to 2006, he was scientific Advisor on animal Health and Welfare for the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) in United Kingdom. Since 2006, he has been appointed as the head of the animal health information department of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

In September 2002, Dr Alain Vanderplasschen was appointed head of the Immunology-Vaccinology lab in Liège when Prof. Pastoret left for United Kingdom. Dr Alain Vanderplasschen is graduated in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Liège (1985-91). Between 1991 and 1995, he did a PhD thesis untitled “In vitro study of the interactions between Bovine herpesvirus 4 and bovine cells” in the lab of Prof. P.-P. Pastoret.

Oxford Oxford suite

After his thesis, he moved to Oxford University to work on poxviruses in the lab of Prof. G.L. Smith. Here again, Dr Vanderplasschen focused on host-virus interactions. He compared the binding and the entry of the two infectious particles produced by vaccinia virus as well as their sensitivity to neutralisation by complement and antibodies. Three years after he started his post-doc, he defended a second thesis untitled "Comparison of extracellular and intracellular infectious forms of vaccinia virus". In 1999, he was the first veterinarian to obtain a permanent position in the history of the "Fond National pour la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS)".


In January 2007, Dr Alain Vanderplasschen was appointed Professor of Immunology and Vaccinology at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Liège. He is pursuing the development of his group started in 2002. His group focuses on the study of host-pathogen interactions with a special interest for vaccine development and for pathogenesis including immune-evasion mechanisms developed by pathogens. So far, the group has been extremely successful and has already generated 9 PhD theses, three patents and has contributed to more than 60 publications.

L. gillet

In 2008, the group was extremely pleased that Dr Laurent Gillet obtained a permanent position of the FNRS to develop his own group within the lab. Dr Laurent Gillet did his PhD in the Immunology and Vaccinology lab and then moved to United Kingdom (University of Cambridge) for a post-doc in Dr Ph. Stevenson’s lab. Laurent Gillet is now leading a team devoted to the study of the mechanisms developed by gammaherpesvirus to evade the host humoral immune response.

Since 2007, Prof. Vanderplasschen is teaching Immunology and Vaccinology in the third and the fifth year of the vet cursus, respectively.

B. Dewals

2012 was a very important year in the history of the lab. The faculty of veterinary medecine supported the request of Prof. Vanderplasschen to created a new professor position in the department of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases. This new position in charge of the teaching of vaccinology was attributed to Dr Laurent Gillet. In the same year, Dr Benjamin Dewals was rewarded by the FNRS which offered him a permanent position. Dr Dewals cumulates a rich and wide background gained during his PhD in virology-immunology and during his post-doc in parasitology-immunology at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. The lab is now structured in three sub-groups closely related but directed by independent PIs: Dr Benjamin Dewals, Prof. Laurent Gillet and Prof. A. Vanderplasschen.

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