Els Henckaerts, MD, PhD is the head of the Laboratory of Viral Cell Biology and Therapeutics at the KU Leuven Departments of Cellular & Molecular Medicine and Microbiology, Immunology and Transplatation. Her research focusses on adeno-associated virus and is aimed at exploiting insights from the fundamental viral biology to develop breakthrough technologies for AAV gene therapy applications. She has developed a neurotropic capsid that is patented and licensed to pharma and has founded two biotech companies based on novel AAV capsid technologies. She is currently collaborating with UCB on preclinical AAV gene therapy development for CNS-related diseases and several aspects of AAV manufacturing, including vector analytics. She recently received substantial financial support as part of the post-COVID recovery plan of the Flemish Government to build a 'gene therapy center of excellence'. This funding enables investments in highly specialized research infrastructure & equipment and supports the development of gene therapy product development in Europe.
She acts as the main supervisor of DC3.