Sarah Weckhuysen, MD, PhD – University of Antwerp in Belgium
Sarah Weckhuysen MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor at the University of Antwerp in Belgium with interest in both clinical epilepsy and genetic research. As a neurologist she worked in several tertiary epilepsy centers, including the Epilepsy Center Kempenhaeghe in the Netherlands, the Hôpital Pitié Salpêtrière in Paris, France, and currently the University Hospital of Antwerp in Belgium. She obtained a PhD on the topic of genetics of epileptic encephalopathies under the mentorship of Prof. P. De Jonghe, who discovered de novo SCN1A mutations as the genetic cause of Dravet Syndrome back in 2001. Since 2018 Sarah is heading the epilepsy research team of the Applied & Translational Neurogenomics group at the VIB-Center for Molecular Neurology in Antwerp. The primary focus of her research group is the identification of novel genes and genetic mechanisms implicated in epilepsy, using state-of-the-art multi-omics approaches. The developmental and epileptic encephalopathies are of specific interest to her group, as she strongly believes that the study of the underlying genetic mechanisms can be the entry point for the development of more potent, targeted therapies. Her lab therefore uses patient derived induced pluripotent stem cells as a tool to translate the genetic work of her group into biological understanding and better treatments for people with epilepsy. Over the years, her work contributed to many novel epilepsy gene discoveries and disease characterizations.