Joris Messens is since 2012 group leader of the Redox Signaling Lab within the VIB Center for Structural Biology and professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. After several years in Biotech-industry as an Industrial Engineer in Biochemistry, he became an expert in protein purification. He obtained his PhD from the John Moores University of Liverpool (UK, 2003) with structural and functional work on arsenate reductase from Staphyloccocus aureus. In 2006, he created together with Jean-Francois Collet (de Duve Institute, UCL) the Brussels Center for Redox Biology (http://redox.vub.ac.be/) as a platform to stimulate redox and oxidative protein folding research. He is author or co-author of more than 90 peer-reviewed publications (h-index = 30), most of which focus on thiol-based reaction mechanisms.
The mission of the Redox Signaling Lab is to decipher how cells sense and respond to redox metabolites (i.e. transient small-molecules with the ability to oxidize or reduce biomolecules, like H2O2). The importance of redox signaling for the proper functioning of the cell is being increasingly recognized, and the elucidation of its precise mechanisms and players is becoming critical, as it will allow us to manipulate these pathways for a wide variety of implications, ranging from increasing stress resistance in plants to identifying therapeutic targets in diseases where aberrant redox signaling plays a role.