YSU Welcomes Noted Cancer Researcher

Pictured: Severine Van slambrouck. Photo by Tina Kalenits/Jambar Contributor

By Tina Kalenits
Jambar Contributor

A leading researcher in the fight against breast and prostate cancer, Severine Van slambrouck has joined Youngstown State University.

Van slambrouck, director of research, compliance and initiatives at YSU, started her journey in cancer research 20 years ago.

“My research is basic cancer research, which means working in a lab with cells,” she said. “There are two projects that I’ve always done. One is drug discovery: I work with organic chemists that make a molecule, and then I test these molecules on cancer cells to see whether it stops the cancer cells from growing.”

Severine Van slambrouck works at her desk. Photo by Tina Kalenits/The Jambar

The second part of Van slambrouck’s research is trying to understand why cancer cells metastasize.

Cancer research led to her part in working with undergraduate students researching breast and prostate cancer to discover organic compounds to stop the metastasizing of cancer cells.

Her research brought her to YSU in February, and she’s now helping other researchers find grants for research projects.

Before coming to the United States, Van slambrouck lived in Belgium and studied pharmaceutical sciences at Ghent University while looking for an opportunity for undergraduate research.

Pictured: Severine Van slambrouck. Photo by Tina Kalenits/Jambar Contributor

She then transferred to a cancer research lab at the school of pharmacy at Ghent University. She graduated as a pharmacist and worked in a retail pharmacy.

“I liked it at the moment, but I felt there was more in life for me to do than just being a pharmacist,” Van slambrouck said.

She started her doctorate in Belgium in the cancer research lab at Ghent. Two years into her doctorate, she had the opportunity to start her own cancer research lab in the U.S. 

“Ever since I was little, I always wanted to live in another country for a while, another language, another culture, everything different than the way I grew up. So, I took two suitcases and I moved to the U.S.,” Van slambrouck said.

A doctorate program in Europe is very different from the U.S, so she had to start over.

While working on her Ph.D. at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, she started her cancer research lab working with undergraduate students. Van slambrouck’s research focused on what changes in cells to make them spread. She graduated with a doctorate in chemistry.

Pictured: Severine Van slambrouck. Photo by Tina Kalenits/Jambar Contributor

From cancer research, she moved to a research professor position in 2003 for five years.

She then switched from 100% researcher to 100% teacher. However, researching wasn’t far behind. Van slambrouck started another research group and went back to teaching and researching until 2008.

From there, she was an assistant professor and was researching at St. Thomas University in Florida until 2015. Van slambrouck switched her passion from teaching to helping researchers submit proposals for grants.