Who are we?
The In Vitro Toxicology and Dermato-cosmetology (IVTD) research group of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) constitutes a hub for many promising R&D projects within a broad scientific scope. They all share one common goal, namely an improvement of human health and safety. We achieve this by:
- Developing robust and human-relevant liver-based in vitro models to discriminate between safe and toxic drug candidates, and consequently reduce human exposure to liable products and safety-related drug attrition.
- Elucidating mechanisms that underlie diseases, with focus on liver, skin and recently also airways. More specific interest includes acute and chronic liver conditions, as well as different forms of allergic, autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases.
- Identifying new drug targets and disease biomarkers, and evaluating cell- and immunotherapy strategies, eventually leading to new effective therapy options.
- Developing new analytical methods to identify toxic ingredients in e.g. illegal cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.
- Providing expert training in safety assessment, with emphasis on cosmetics and their ingredients within the context of the European legislation.
The group is headed by Prof. Vera Rogiers, doctor in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Master in Applied Toxicology. She is also full-time professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in the faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy; lecturing the courses of toxicology, chemical quality and toxicity of cosmetics, and galenics (dermatological preparations) to pharmacy students. She is also the organiser of the annual postgraduate course "Safety assessment of cosmetics - Training course" and Co-organiser of the annual postgraduate course "Intensive Course in Dermato-Cosmetic Sciences" at the VUB. At the European level, co-chair of the SCCS (Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety) until April 2013, now invited expert and from 2000 till 2009 chair of ecopa (European Consensus Platform on 3R-Alternatives).
Coordinator and research partner in EU projects of FP6/FP7 (CONAM, Predictomics, carcinoGENOMICS, Liintop, ESNATS, START-UP, DETECTIVE, HemiBio ...).
She is also member of the mirror group of epaa (The European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing) and member of ESAC (ECVAM Scientific Advisory Committee) until April 2013, now invited expert. Since 2015 she became member of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). For her full CV
The dermato-cosmetic oriented research is carried out in close collaboration with Prof. Dr. Jan Guthermuth, head of the Department of Dermatology at the University Hospital Brussels (UZ Brussel).
The Department In Vitro Toxicology and Dermato-cosmetology (IVTD) also includes teaching activities in the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy. It forms together with 4 other departments the Centre for Pharmaceutical Research (CePhaR). This research consortium aims at solving key bottlenecks in the pharmaceutical R&D process of today, by pulling together the expertise of different academic units involved in various stages of drug development.