Principal Investigator

Lendert Gelens : Assistant professor

Lendert Gelens

Assistant professor

Lendert received a master's degree in electrotechnical engineering, and in physics, both at the University of Brussels (VUB). During his PhD, he studied laser dynamics and pattern formation at the applied physics group of Prof. Jan Danckaert at VUB, the IFISC institute in Spain, and the group of Prof. Edgar Knobloch at UC Berkeley in the USA. Afterwards, as a postdoctoral researcher, he moved more towards the field of biology, where he worked with Prof. James E. Ferrell at the department of Chemical and Systems Biology of Stanford University, USA. Since 2015, he leads the research group "Dynamics in Biological Systems" at the department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at KU Leuven. He also has a partial appointment as research professor at VUB in Brussels. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, soccer, squash, and experimenting with food and drinks.

Lendert @ Google Scholar


Alexandra Vandervelde :

Alexandra Vandervelde

Alexandra got her master’s degree in bioengineering sciences at the University of Brussels (VUB) in 2012. During her PhD, she studied the transcriptional regulation of toxin-antitoxin modules in bacteria, collaborating with groups at MIT in the USA, Technische Universität München in Germany and the University of Tartu in Estonia. In October 2016, she joined the lab as a postdoctoral researcher. At home, she enjoys dancing, doing Pilates, playing the piano, reading and traveling. 

Alexandra @ Google Scholar

In 2010, Pedro received his degree in Physics (Licenciatura en Fisica) at the Universidad de Granada. During the academic year 2007-2008 he studied at the Freie Universität in Berlin under the Erasmus program. In 2011 he received a Master degree in mathematics at the Universidad de Salamanca, where he specialized in advanced mathematical methods in physics, in particular in differential geometry. That same year he joined the IFISC institute at Palma de Mallorca, where he started his current research about nonlinear dynamics of localized structures in dissipative systems. In 2013 he got a FWO scholarship and in 2017 he completed a joint PhD at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Universidad de Palma de Mallorca. From October to December 2014 he worked with Prof. Edgar Knobloch at UC Berkeley, USA. He currently continues his research on spatial structures in biological systems and in photonic systems in collaboration with François Leo at the ULB. In his free time, he loves traveling around the world and enjoy life as much as he can.

Pedro @ Google Scholar

Graduate Students

Nadja D’Uonno : Joint PhD with the Bollen lab

Nadja D’Uonno

Joint PhD with the Bollen lab

Nadja joined the Gelens lab in 2017, having received her BSc in Molecular Biology in 2013 from the University of Naples “Federico II” and her MSc in Biotechnology of Reproduction at the University of Studies of Teramo in 2015, both in Italy. Before joining the lab she worked in the field of reproduction at CEINGE – Advance Biotechnologies in Naples, where she dealt with the preimplantation diagnosis. Her main research interests cover the mechanisms of fertilization and cell division with a focus on the early stages of embryo development. In particular her project aims to study the effects of temperature on the cell cycle and is a collaboration with the Laboratory of Biosignaling & Therapeutics of Prof. Mathieu Bollen. Nadja enjoys doing volunteering work and in her spare time she loves to travel, dance and meet people, always looking for new experiences!

After his bachelor in physics, Felix studied his master's in both physics and mathematics at Utrecht University (the Netherlands). His focus was on differential equations and dynamical systems and their applications, with the focus on climate dynamics. During his studies, he became interested in all the possibilities to apply the theory of dynamical systems in real-life problems. During his studies in Utrecht, Felix has been teaching a large number of different courses in physics and mathematics, both at the university as at UCU (University College Utrecht). In november 2017 he started his PhD in the Gelens lab at KU Leuven, where he will focus on biological dynamical systems, in particular in the area of cell division. In his spare time, Felix likes to play the piano, tennis, teaching and meeting with friends. He also likes cooking and experimenting with the pairing of food with drinks (such as wine or whisky).

Felix @ Google Scholar

Arno Vanderbeke : Joint PhD with the Lammertyn lab

Arno Vanderbeke

Joint PhD with the Lammertyn lab

Arno obtained his bachelor’s degree in bioscience engineering at KU Leuven in 2015, followed by his master’s degree in bioscience engineering (Biosystems engineering: major bionanotechnology, minor human health engineering) in 2017, also at KU Leuven. During his master’s thesis, he spent two months at KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm, Sweden) to master the microfabrication techniques needed for his further research. Those techniques were then used at KU Leuven for the fabrication of microwell arrays for digital bioassays. After his graduation, he started as a researcher at Ghent University working on the safety of insects for food and feed, and metabolomics. In 2018, he started his PhD at the Gelens lab in collaboration with the Lammertyn lab. His research will focus on studying cell cycle regulation with high spatiotemporal resolution using custom-made microfluidic devices. In his free time he likes to travel, go camping, hiking, biking, running, playing badminton, meeting with friends and watching movies, series and airshows.

Jan studied pure mathematics at KU Leuven and obtained a Master's degree in 2013. To explore the wide range of applications of math, he studied Complex Systems Science at Ecole Polytechnique (France) and the University of Warwick. During this program, he worked on projects in climate dynamics and mathematical biology. In 2015-2016, Jan taught mathematics at university and in high school, and from November 2016 onwards he has been working on his PhD under supervision of prof. Gelens. Jan studies mathematical models of the cell cycle, with a focus on time delay models. In his free time Jan likes to dream of starting his own band, read books and go camping.

Jan @ Google Scholar

Jolan De Boeck : Joint PhD with the Verfaillie Lab

Jolan De Boeck

Joint PhD with the Verfaillie Lab

Jolan completed his bachelor’s degree in ‘bio-engineering: cell- and gene technology’ at the University of Antwerp (UA), after which he received his master’s degree in ‘bio-engineering: biosystems engineering’ from the University of Leuven (KUL). During his master thesis he learned about stochastically modeling chemical reactions, with a focus on gene regulatory networks. After his graduation in 2016, he started a PhD at the stem cell institute Leuven (SCIL) under supervision of prof. C. Verfaillie and prof. L. Gelens. His main research interests are molecular biology and computational modeling techniques to explore the dynamical features of the biological systems under consideration. He mainly spends his free time watching series, horseback riding and jogging.

Stefan Vet : Joint PhD with Jan Danckaert, VUB and Didier Gonze, ULB

Stefan Vet

Joint PhD with Jan Danckaert, VUB and Didier Gonze, ULB


Stefan studied Physics and Astronomy at the University of Ghent (UGent), being very interested in theoretical physics. His interests gradually changed towards nonlinear dynamics and modeling in biological systems, so that he did his master thesis about dynamical modeling of bacterial interactions at the University of Brussels (VUB). He started his PhD in 2014 at the Interuniversity Institute of Bioinformatics Brussels (IB2), with promoters Jan Danckaert and Didier Gonze. In his PhD he continues the work of his master thesis. Besides, Stefan is a climbing addict, likes to play guitar and is learning to dance lindy hop.