Rega Institute for Medical Research – KU Leuven, Belgium
PROFILE Marc Van Ranst was born in Bornem, Belgium on June 20, 1965. He graduated as a medical doctor from the University of Leuven in 1990. From 1985 on, he trained at the Rega Institute for Medical Research in Leuven. From 1990 to 1993, he worked at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, where he received his Ph.D. degree in virology in 1994. In 1998, he became board-licensed as a specialist in clinical biology. Since 1999, he is a professor at the University of Leuven in Belgium. From 2012 to 2020, he was the chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology of the Biomedical Sciences Group. Since 2010, he is a member of the University Hospitals Leuven Executive Board.
CAREER At the University Hospitals Leuven, he is currently head of the Department of Laboratory Medicine. He is also Director of the Clinical and Epidemiological Virology Laboratory, and director of the AIDS reference laboratory and of several national reference laboratories.
From 1999 to 2014, Professor Van Ranst was a member of the Belgian Superior Health Council, where he chaired the Vaccinations Working Group from 2007 to 2014. From 2007 to 2016 he was Interministerial Commissioner for Influenza and responsible for the influenza pandemic preparations in Belgium as well as crisis management during the Swine Flu pandemic in 2009-2010. Since 2020 he is part of several expert advisory boards (GEES, GEMS, CELEVAL…) during the Covid-19 pandemic and takes on a public advisory and informative role in Belgium and abroad.
In his research laboratory, several PhD students, post docs and a varying number of master degree students are working on studies on the epidemiology and molecular evolution of DNA and RNA viruses. He published over 500 scientific papers in peer-reviewed and Medline-indexed journals and contributed chapters to dozens of books on viral molecular evolution and bioinformatics.
Professor Van Ranst teaches virology, epidemiology, and bioinformatics at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Leuven and at the University Colleges Leuven-Limburg in Belgium. Since 1995, he holds an affiliate academic position at the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, where he teaches Bioinformatics.
In 2004 Professor Van Ranst was granted the European Clinical Virology Heine-Medin award of the European Society for Clinical Virology. In 2005, he received a doctor honoris causa degree at the University of Kalmar in Sweden. He won Best Teacher Awards at the University of Leuven. In 2020 he received the “Career award Science Communication of the Academy”.