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Stroke is a severe neurological disorder defined by loss of brain function caused by interrupted or severely impaired blood flow. Worldwide, stroke is classified as the second leading cause of death and is a major cause of permanent disability. Despite the high prevalence and devastating outcome, there are only few treatment options for ischemic stroke which are only available for a small subset of patients, highlighting the urgent need for new stroke therapies.

The focus of my research group is to explore two possible new therapeutic strategies and investigate their mode of action. One strategy is to use genetically engineered dental pulp stem cells to enhance angiogenesis and neurogenesis, two important endogenous repair mechanisms of the brain. In another project we explore magnetic stimulation (MS) as a therapy for ischemic stroke. We hope that the insights obtained of these projects lead to new effective therapies against ischemic stroke.

Besides stroke, my lab has also a main interest in using (dental) stem cells for tissue regeneration, thereby focussing on enhancing blood vessel growth, which is key for successful tissue growth.


Orcid id 

Research gate










  • Ischemic stroke mouse model: dMCAO

  • In vitro angiogenesis models: endothelial cell proliferation, migration, tube formation

  • Mouse matrigel and wound healing model

  • (Mesenchymal/dental) stem cell characterisation and differentiation

  • Mouse xenograft (MCF-7/ FadU) cancer model 










Yörg Dillen, PhD student

Hannelore Kemps, PhD student

Greet Merckx, PhD student











  1. Ratajczak J, Vangansewinkel T, Gervois P, Merckx G, Hilkens P, Quirynen M, Lambrichts I, Bronckaers A (2018) Angiogenic Properties of 'Leukocyte- and Platelet-Rich Fibrin'. Scientific Reports Oct 2;8(1):14632. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-32936-8. (IF:4.2; Q1, peer reviewed)

  2. Ratajczak J, Hilkens P, Gervois P, Wolfs E, Jacobs R, Lambrichts I, Bronckaers A (2016) Angiogenic Capacity of Periodontal Ligament Stem Cells Pretreated with Deferoxamine and/or Fibroblast Growth Factor-2. PLoS One. 2016 Dec 9;11(12):e0167807. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0167807. (IF: 4.4, Q1, peer reviewed)

  3. Bronckaers, A., Hilkens, P., Martens, W., Gervois, P., Ratajczak, J., Struys, T., & Lambrichts, I. (2014). Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells as a pharmacological and therapeutic approach to accelerate angiogenesis. Pharmacology and Therapeutics 143, 181-196.(IF:9.723, Q1, peer reviewed)

  4. Hilkens, P., Fanton, Y., Martens, W., Gervois, P., Struys, T., Politis, C., Lambrichts, I., & Bronckaers, A. (2014). Pro-angiogenic impact of dental stem cells in vitro and in vivo. Stem Cell Research, 12, 778-790. (IF: 3.78, Q1, peer reviewed)

  5. Bronckaers A, Hilkens P, Fanton Y, Struys T, Gervois P, Politis C, Martens W and Lambrichts I.(2013) Angiogenic properties of human dental pulp stem cells, Plos one, 7;8(8):e71104. (IF: 4.4, Q1 ,peer reviewed)