Patrik Verstreken obtained his degree in bio-engineering from the University of Brussels in 1998. He joined the Graduate school of Biomedical Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine and under the mentorship of Hugo Bellen, he obtained a Ph.D. in Developmental Biology in 2003. After postdoctoral training and with support of a Marie Curie Excellence grant he became a group leader at VIB and joined the faculty of the KU Leuven in 2007. As an independent investigator, Dr. Verstreken obtained three competitive ERC grants and is supported by international organizations including the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, the Alzheimer’s Association & Tau consortium, and Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. Since 2017, he has been the director of the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research.
Dr. Verstreken has generated important insights into the mechanisms of synaptic function in health and neurodegenerative disease. Using fruit flies, mice, and human neurons derived from embryonic stem cells, his work has focused on key proteins, lipids, and mitochondria that regulate synaptic activity and how these molecules and organelles are misregulated in major neurodegenerative conditions, including Tauopathies and Parkinson’s disease.