Jan Cools obtained his PhD degree in 2001 from the KU Leuven with a study on chromosomal defects in leukemia. From 2001 to 2003 he continued his research on the genetic causes of leukemia at Harvard Medical School (Boston, USA). After his return to Belgium, he was promoted to assistant professor in 2005 and to full professor in 2009 at KU Leuven. Jan is a group leader of VIB since 2008.
His research team studies the genetic complexity of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and uses that information to develop novel models of leukemia and novel treatment strategies. The group uses next-generation sequencing and single-cell sequencing to obtain a detailed view on the heterogeneity of ALL at diagnosis and its evolution during therapy. Based on these genetic insights, cell and mouse models are being generated to study the mechanisms contribution to leukemia development.
Jan has served as a board member of the European Hematology Association and has been the editor-in-chief of the open access journal Haematologica from 2012 to 2017. He is currently editor-in-chief of HemaSphere, a new open access hematology journal of the European Hematology Association.