Vikkula, Miikka (Belgium)

Prof Vikkula obtained his M.D. at the University of Helsinki in 1992 and his Ph.D. in molecular genetics on chondrodysplasias and extracellular matrix disorders in 1993. He was a Research Associate at Harvard Medical School 1993-1997, during which time he became also interested in vascular anomalies. Prof. Vikkula settled in Brussels in 1997, where he developed his own laboratory. He obtained a “docentship PhD” in 2000, and was nominated Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Medicine in UCLouvain. He is a member of the Directorate of the de Duve Institute since 2004, and a full professor of Human Genetics since 2013. He has received numerous honours and awards, including the important Inbev-Baillet Latour Clinical Prize in 2013, shared with his wife, Professor Laurence Boon, plastic surgeon. Prof Vikkula is a Member of the Royal Belgian Academy of Medecine since 2012. His research is concentrated on two disease groups: cleft lip and/or palate, and vascular anomalies. He tries to unravel the genetic underpinnings of these disorders so as to improve differential diagnosis, understand the pathogenic mechanisms, generate murine models, and develop targeted therapies. Most recently, his group showed than in 10% of familial non-syndromic CL/P patients, a germline genetic mutation can be identified using whole exome sequencing. Prof Vikkula is well-known internationally as a major contributor to the understanding of the molecular basis of these two disease groups with >160 peer-reviewed publications and > 50 reviews and chapters in major biomedical text books.