ARGOS is a young and dynamic research team with three PhD students under the supervision of a postdoctoral researcher dr. Bert Van den Bogerd, supported by Professor Carina Koppen (Head of Ophthalmology department UZA) and Professor Sorcha Ní Dhubhghaill. Our focus lies on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine of the anterior eye segment or cornea.
The ARGOS lab evolved from the laboratory of Ophthalmology (UZA) that was founded by Prof. dr. Nadia Zakaria (now NIBR, Novartis) in 2007 as a part of the Center for Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine. Since the, we earned international recognition with our in-house developed ATMP to treat limbal stem cell deficiency. Due to the expanding research activities, dr. Bert Van den Bogerd and dr. Steffi Matthyssen founded a new research lab, called the Antwerp Research Group for Ocular Science (ARGOS) after the greek myth of Argus Panoptes, the man with the hundred eyes.
Since its foundation, ARGOS has become established in the field of ophthalmological primary cell culture, characterization and scaffold development, resulting in both national and international collaborations, mobility and dissemination opportunities for the members of our group as well as personal awards recognizing the importance of our work. A phase II clinical trial in which limbal stem cells were transplanted to treat permanent visual impairment or blindess, has been completed succesfully in September 2019. This work was carried out in GMP-accredited clean rooms in collaboration with the Centre for Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine (CCRG) at the Antwerp University Hospital.
The translational focus of our research is found in every project, ranging from the development of biomimetic scaffolds to the design of a cornea-on-chip for preclinical drug testing. In the coming years we are hoping to expand even further and to remain at the forefront of state-of-the-art regenerative medicine with a focus on the cornea.