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Focus on research

Medicine Primary Care and Medical Genetics, Ghent University

Ghent University is world-renowned for its medical research. Almost all disciplines of the scientific spectrum are represented. Scientific output is high and its impact on our understanding of the human body, health processes, and human wellbeing is undeniable. Let's zoom in on two of those disciplines, on opposite ends of the spectrum.

The research in the Department of Family Medicine and Primary Health Care spends the different fazes in translational research, starting from basic discovery and finishing with global health and health systems research. The research is not geographically limited to Belgium or Europe but wants to look at problems worldwide.  An important feature of the research is that it is to a large extent interdisciplinary, integrating approaches from medicine, social sciences, anthropology, criminology, social geography, psychology, systems theory,… Special attention is paid to dissemination and valorization, contributing to the social accountability of the research processes, with a special emphasis on those most in need.

Research is concentrated around 8 research lines:

  • Clinical decision-support and EBM in primary care;
  • Chronic care: addressing multi-morbidity through goal-oriented care;
  • Provider-patient communication;
  • Equity in primary healthcare;
  • Community oriented approaches for health;
  • Inter-professional collaboration in education and practice;
  • Health systems research;
  • Ethics, autonomy and responsibility in healthcare.

Medical genetics is all about unlocking the secrets of heredity. As every living creature, humans are masterly examples. How we are as a person is the result of a complex combination of factors. One very important factor is our hereditary predisposition. After all, many of our characteristics, features, talents and even faults are to an important degree determined by our genes. They define our possibilities. On the other hand, environmental factors such as education and culture also determine one’s development. Fundamental and applied genetic research has witnessed an enormous progress over the past years. High throughput techniques now allow DNA sequencing with unprecedented speed and have greatly facilitated the sequencing of the human genome as well as of the genomes of pathogens and model organisms. The availability of the human genome sequence in its turn opens the way to accelerated discovery of disease genes or disease associated polymorphisms. In addition to further disease gene identification in inherited disorders and cancer, a number of longstanding challenges in genetic research can now be tackled, such as the study of clinical and genetic heterogeneity observed in many heritable (monogenetic) disorders, the complex interaction of genes involved in the development of cancer and the identification of genetic factors underlying multifactorial disorders.

Over the past years, the Centre for Medical Genetics in Ghent (CMGG) has acquired an internationally recognised expertise in the genetic analysis of certain inherited diseases and a number of cancers. The various and rapidly growing research teams within the CMGG have developed their own particular fields of expertise which pertain to heritable connective tissue disease and skeletal dysplasias, neurofibromatosis, ophtalmo-genetic disorders, neuroblastoma, leukemia and breast cancer. New equipment and methods have been introduced during the past years at rapid pace.



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