Jan Steyaert, director of the VIB-VUB Center for Structural Biology and professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), is the first Belgian scientist to receive the prestigious Jacob and Louise Gabbay Award for outstanding science with a translational character.
He was nominated for the award thanks to his contributions to the development of Camelid single-domain antibodies or so-called Nanobodies, discovered by VUB prof. Hamers in 1989. This has led to important breakthroughs in medicine and agriculture, with practical applications already on the market today. The technology was at the basis of three VIB-VUB spin-off companies, Ablynx (now Sanofi), Biotalys, and ConfoTherapeutics, that use Nanobodies to develop therapeutic interventions for life-threatening diseases and crop protection.
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