Leo van Grunsven obtained his Biology degree in 1992 from the Utrecht University working on Patella Vulgata and the identification of upstream regulatory regions of Cyclin genes. He went to Lyon (France) for a PhD on the regulation of NGF-dependent neural outgrowth in Pheochromocytoma cells and obtained his PhD in 1996 from the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon. He had his postdoctoral training at the NINDS/NIH (Bethesda, USA) and the KU Leuven (Belgium) which focused on understanding the transcriptional regulation of neuronal differentiation. At the NIH the focus was on neuronal stem cells, while at the KU Leuven neuronal differentiation was studied during early neurogenesis in the mouse and frog with a strong emphasis on the transcriptional repressor SIP1/ZEB2. He joined the lab of the late Prof. Albert Geerts at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB, Belgium) in 2006 and became an assistant Professor in 2009 and heads the Liver Cell Biology Laboratory since. His research group studies molecular mechanisms involved in liver -homeostasis, -fibrosis and –regeneration with a special focus on hepatic stellate cells and liver progenitor cells. His group identified autophagy, AGE- and HIPPO-signaling as key mechanisms involved in hepatic stellate cell activation during liver fibrogenesis. His team also reported on the transcriptional changes associated with the activation of mouse and human hepatic stellate cells and established the first hepatocyte-injury dependent in vitro liver fibrosis model by using organoid cultures of human hepatocytes and hepatic stellate cells (2016). Still, the group also invests in further refinement of in vitro models of liver fibrosis and investigates the regulation of stress pathways in hepatic stellate cells and sinudoidal liver cells during acute and chronic liver injury in mouse models.
Since 2016, Leo van Grunsven has become Director of the Doctoral School for Life Sciences and Medicine.