After having completed secondary school education at the VABI in Roeselare in 2008, Lucas Vanhaelewyn pursued a Bachelor degree in agro- and biotechnology at the KATHO University College. His thesis related to plant biotechnology for banana was done in in Uganda, Africa in 2011, accounting for his first international experience where he has found his passion in Plant Biotechnology. Hence he continued his study in biotechnology and biochemistry and received a Master degree majoring in plant biotechnology in July 2015 with great distinction at Ghent University.

He started working as a PhD researcher in August 2015 at the Laboratory of Functional Plant Biology (FPB) in the department of Biology of Ghent University, this position includes both research duties and tutoring master students. His PhD research focus is on the morphological effects of UV-B on plants. During recent years, academic education and research experiences were obtained through several specialist courses at Ghent University and Pécs University. International experiences have been expanding through various opportunities, such as an oral presentation at the UV4PLANTS conference in June 2016 (Pécs, Hungary), a one-month scholar visit in the internationally recognized Biological Research Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (BRC) in October 2016, and a poster presentation in the annual Plant Biology meeting of American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) in Honolulu, Hawaii with a travel grant awarded and the annual Plant Biology meeting in Montreal, Canada. Until now, his PhD research has yielded five first author international peer-reviewed publications and three co-authored manuscripts with several manuscripts currently in the pipeline.   

Apart from his main research interests, he is also devoted in voluntary development work in Africa. In his spare time, he is actively engaged in various plant biotechnology projects in Uganda while putting the knowledge of entrepreneurship in emerging economies (a completed specialist course from Harvard University) into practice and bringing vision into life. In 2018, Lucas became an ASPB ambassador

-- N2019

Research Areas:
Applied Plant Biology


1.         Vanhaelewyn L., Viczian A., Prinsen E., Bernula P., Serrano A.M., Veronica V.A., Ballaré C.L., Nagy F., Van Der Straeten D., Vandenbussche F. (2019) Differential UVR8 signal across the stem controls UV-B-induced inflorescence phototropism. The Plant Cell 31: 2070-2088

2.         Vanhaelewyn L., Bernula P., Van Der Straeten D., Vandenbussche F., Viczian A. (2019) UVR8-dependent reporters reveal spatial characteristics of signal spreading in plant tissues. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences 18: 1030-1045

3.         Mudonyi B., Vanhaelewyn L., Tusiime G., Ssekiwoko F., Tushemereirwe W.K., Changa C.M. (2019) Banana field resistance to insect-vector transmission of bacterial wilt caused by Xanthomonas campestris p.v musacearum. African Journal of Agricultural Research

4.         Vanhaelewyn L., Van Der Straeten D., Vandenbussche F. (2019) Phototropism by UV-B radiation. Journal of Methods in Molecular Biology 1924: 131-139 [Bookchapter – B2]

5.         Serrano AM, Arana MV, Vanhaelewyn L, Ballare CL, Van Der Straeten D, Vandenbussche F (2018) Following the star: Inflorescence heliotropism. Environ Exp Bot 147: 75-85

6.         Vandenbussche F, Yu N, Li W, Vanhaelewyn L, Hamshou M, Van Der Straeten D, Smagghe G (2018) An ultraviolet B condition that affects growth and defense in Arabidopsis. Plant science: an international journal of experimental plant biology 268: 54-63

7.         Vanhaelewyn L, Prinsen E, Van Der Straeten D, Vandenbussche F (2016a) Hormone-controlled UV-B responses in plants. Journal of experimental botany 67: 4469-4482 

8.         Vanhaelewyn L, Schumacher P, Poelman D, Fankhauser C, Van Der Straeten D, Vandenbussche F (2016b) REPRESSOR OF ULTRAVIOLET-B PHOTOMORPHOGENESIS function allows efficient phototropin mediated ultraviolet-B phototropism in etiolated seedlings. Plant science: an international journal of experimental plant biology 252: 215-221

Volunteer Activities

Being a PhD researcher, I devote most of my spare time to apply  plant knowledge in Uganda, Africa to support locals. This is done in collaboration with several local private companies. Our main focus since 2015 was to provide farmers with free plant materials such as mango and citrus seedlings. Since The begining of 2018, we shifted focus to value addition such as juice production and dried fruits production, in order to provide a market for local farmers. We intend to have a small scale factory up and running by the end of 2019. 

Current Affiliations
Experience & Education