Professor Elfride De Baere was selected by the jury for her pioneering research in medical genetics, and more specifically for novel insights into the role of non-coding variations in genetic disease. Over the last decade there has been increasing evidence for a functional role of the non-coding portion of the genome – previously known as “junk DNA” – in the pathogenesis of human disease.
In their research, Prof. De Baere and her team investigated the role of this genome portion via new genomewide technologies, using as models specific hereditary diseases, such as dominant developmental eye conditions and recessive blinding disorders. Prof. De Baere’s research not only provides insights into the role of several types of non-coding variations in the pathogenesis of specific genetic disorders, it also has an important clinical significance in the future. This research could serve as a model for other hereditary, multifactorial and acquired disorders, and will certainly increase in importance in the era of the "1000-dollar genome".
Professor Elfride De Baere was awarded the degree of Doctor in Medicine at the University of Ghent, magna cum laude in 1996. At the same university, she obtained a Ph.D in Medical Sciences in 2002 and the degree of Specialist in Clinical Biology in 2009. In 2006 she conducted a post-doctoral fellowship in research team U709 INSERM in Paris. Professor De Baere is currently Head of the DNA laboratory at the University Hospital of Ghent, as well as associate professor at the University of Ghent.
In the field of inherited retinal degeneration, she mainly focused on the contribution of the coding portion of genes thus far, in conditions such as LCA, ADRP, ARRP, cone disorders, but will explore non-coding portions in future projects. Her team is partner of the European Retinal Disease Consortium (ERDC), mainly aimed at gene identification of recessive retinal dystrophies such as RP and LCA, and allowing access to sizeable patient cohorts.
The INBEV-BAILLET LATOUR FUND was founded in 1974 by Count Alfred de Baillet Latour, Member of the Board of Directors of Brasseries Artois from 1947 to 1980. Its objective is to encourage work of great value to humanity, of a mainly scientific, educational or artistic nature, and to reward such work by means of prizes or study grants, excluding any profit motive and regardless of political, trade union, philosophical or religious convictions. The InBev-Baillet Latour Fund is active in the following main areas: medical research, Belgian heritage, university education and the Olympic movement.
In the area of medical research, the InBev-Baillet Latour Fund has been awarding the InBev-Baillet Latour Health Prize since 1979. This prize, currently worth 250,000 euros is the most important science prize awarded in Belgium. Since 2007, the InBev-Baillet Latour Fund also awards the Clinical Research Prize, which each year supports two young Belgian research scientists one from each community in the country.
The InBev-Baillet Latour Prize for Clinical Research, intended for outstanding researchers under the age of 45, aims at rewarding clinical research carried out by medical doctors who are affiliated with an academic institution, in both the Dutch and the French speaking communities. The laureates, who are selected by juries established by the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique - FNRS (F.R.S.-FNRS) and by the Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek-Vlaanderen (FWO) respectively, will each be granted € 75,000 from the InBev-Baillet Latour Fund. Because clinical researchers in Belgium receive little support, the aim of this Prize in the long run is to stimulate medical students and clinical assistants with research ambitions in our country, to continue their work here.
Alain De Waele, Secretary General
Tel.: +32 (0) 16 27 61 59
Ghent University Hospital
Center for Medical Genetics
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