Ceren Simsek 


Ceren Simsek studied Molecular Biology and Genetics in Bilkent University, Turkey.

She has completed her master’s degree in AgroParisTech, studying predictive animal genetics and statistical models. During this period, she worked as an intern at Collège de France on molecular mechanisms of Shigella flexneriinfection, which is followed by an internship at INRA on genetic control of chicken gut microbiota using GWAS approach.

She is currently a PhD student in Laboratory of Viral Metagenomics, Rega Institute, KU Leuven.

She works as part of the HONOURs consortium, which is an EU-fundedMarie Skłodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) training network on host switching pathogens, infectious outbreaks and zoonosis.

She focuses on the rotavirus genetic diversity and impact of mass vaccination in Belgium as part of her doctoral project. 

Gasthuisberg University Hospital harbors a unique rotavirus patient database and Laboratory of Viral Metagenomics is one of the national reference centers for rotavirus in Belgium.

This exhaustive surveillance collection will be used to report on the genotype distribution in Belgium in the last decade, following large-scale vaccination.

NGS will be used to determine the genotype constellations of potential breakthrough strains, characterize the acquired mutations and reassortment events in vaccine-derived strains.

The real etiology of gastroenteritis will be investigated by seeking for other potential viral pathogens that might be causing disease using metagenomics approaches.

Potential novel rotavirus sequences will also be explored in bats, and possibly in other mammals and avian species, in order to shed light on rotavirus genetic evolution and provide better virus surveillance.