Vrije Universiteit Brussel

VIB is a top class centre of excellence consisting of about 1000 people in 65 research groups carrying out research at the frontline of life science.  The research groups and established technological VIB core facilities are located at state of the art facilities at the campuses of the 4 Flemish universities.  Research at VIB is focused on the fundamental understanding of growth, normal development and diseases, with frequent contributions in top ranked journals. In addition, VIB has a strong international research network that attaches great importance to international career experience and attracts on a regular basis group leaders and post-doctoral fellows from different corners of the world. VIB is paying important attention to young promising scientists through a young leader program in which young potential group leaders receive sufficient autonomy to build their career. VIB offers equal chances to female researchers and technicians in the field and as a result the visibility of female group leaders within the institution has doubled over the last 5 years.
Twenty years ago, the VIB group at the ‘Vrije Universiteit Brussel’ made the discovery of the presence of functional ‘Heavy chain-only’ antibodies in serum of Camelidae. They adapted phage display selection technology to identify the single domain antigen-binding fragments (Nanobodies) from the Heavy-chain antibodies of immunised llamas or dromedaries.  Nanobodies have since been generated against hundreds of antigens, characterised in detail (including crystallography) and further engineered in multitask constructs to explore novel functions (e.g. enzyme inhibitors, chromobodies, nanotrap for intracellular antigen imaging and capturing).
Role in AFFINOMICS:  In WP2, VIB identify Nanobodies against the targets provided by partners in WP1, through camelid immunisation followed by V-region cloning and phage display. The purified recombinant Nanobodies are characterised in-house and shared with partners for validation and QC (WP3). The selected Nanobodies are adapted to antibody proximity probes and microarrays (WP5) and employed for intracellular imaging or to produce co-crystals for X-ray structure determination (WP6). They Nanobodies are assessed for enzyme inhibiting performance in vivo (kinase & phosphatase).