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Prof Jan Balzarini 

Jan Balzarini in pensive mood


Born in Lokeren, Belgium on 03 October 1953.

Studied Masters in Biological Sciences (1971-1975) and Bioengineering (1976-1977) at the “Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U.Leuven)”

Ph.D. degree in 1984 at the Rega Institute of the Faculty of Medicine (K.U.Leuven) with the highest distinction (congratulations of the Jury members).

Postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Prof. Y.-C. Cheng (at that time at Chapel Hill, N.C., 1985) and as an NIH visiting fellow at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, MD, USA 1985-6) in the Laboratories of Dr. S. Broder (Virology) and Dr. D.G. Johns (Experimental Pharmacology).

Professor Balzarini became a tenured researcher at the Rega Institute in 1984, assistant professor in 1989, associated professor in 1992, professor in 1994 and full professor in 2001 at the Faculty of Medicine. 

Jan Balzarini has several teaching activities in microbiology and antiviral chemotherapy at the Faculty of Medicine of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium (School of Medicine and School of Dentistry).


Professor Balzarini’s prizes include:

  • Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium (1989).
  • Two international UNESCO Awards (1986, 1991).
  • The Roussel Award for Infectious Diseases (1991).
  • The Triennial SKB award (1995).
  • The Rene Descartes Award of the European Union (2001).
  • The Sanofi-Aventis Award of the ASM (2006).
  • The ISAR Elion Award, 2008
  • CU 125 Lectureship, 2009
  • Dist Vis Fellow to CU, 2009/10
  • The ASPET experimental therapeutics award 2011.

Professor Balzarini’s major contributions include:

  • Co-inventorship of tenofovir (Viread) – a major clinical agent for HIV and HBV.
  • Co-inventorship of BCNAs – the most powerful anti-VZV agents to date (phase 2 trial commenced 2009).
  • Co-discoverer of the very first non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors.
  • More than 1000 peer-reviewed articles to date.
  • >29,000 citations to his published work.