Trudy Mackay holds her framed diploma. She is joined (from left) by Robert Anholt, Patrick Callaerts, Joris Vermeesch and Maria van Orshoven.

Trudy Mackay holds her framed diploma as the 10th Vanden Berghe lecturer. She is joined (from left) by Robert Anholt, Patrick Callaerts, Joris Vermeesch and Maria van Orshoven.
Image Credit: Courtesy of KU Leuven

FLANDERS, Belgium – As part of a European tour in late May and early June, College of Science geneticist Trudy Mackay delivered the Herman Vanden Berghe Lecture 2019 at the Center for Human Genetics at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

Mackay, director of the Clemson University Center for Human Genetics, is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on the genetics of complex traits. Her May 28 lecture was titled “Charting the genotype-phenotype map: Lessons from Drosophila.”

“As the first director of the Clemson Center for Human Genetics, it is an enormous honor to commemorate the legacy of the founding director of the Center for Human Genetics in Leuven,” said Mackay, who is also the Self Family Endowed Chair in Human Genetics. “The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven is one of Europe’s great universities, and I look forward to future interactions with faculty and students.”

Mackay was accompanied by Robert Anholt, Provost’s Distinguished Professor of Genetics and Biochemistry at Clemson University. Both Mackay and Anholt gave several lectures during their tour, including stops at the University of Amsterdam, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, and the University of Vienna.

“The Vanden Berghe lecture is a major honor,” said Anholt, who is also Director of Faculty Excellence Initiatives in the College of Science. “The hospitality we received was nothing short of royal with a lavish reception and Michelin star dinners.”

Mackay and Anholt were treated to a variety of delicious meals during their sojourn.

Mackay and Anholt were treated to a variety of delicious meals during their sojourn.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Robert Anholt

KU Leuven is dedicated to education and research in nearly all fields. It boasts 14 campuses spread across 10 cities in Flanders that provide a stimulating home for all types of research, from fundamental to applied, and from individual research projects to large-scale, international research consortia.

Baron Herman Vanden Berghe (1933-2017) was a Belgian pioneer in human genetics who founded the Center for Human Genetics at KU Leuven.  He was the first Secretary General of the League of European Research Universities and received honorary doctorates from the universities of Kinshasa, Leuven, Ferrara, Perugia and Hamburg. He was a member of the European Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Papal Academy. He was named an honorary citizen of the city of Leuven.

The Herman Vanden Berghe lectureship is a major annual event at the University of Leuven aimed at bringing renowned scientists in human genetics to the university to interact with students and faculty and deliver the Vanden Berghe Lecture. The lecturer receives a framed diploma and a statuette. Mackay was the 10th Vanden Berghe lecturer. The lecture was attended by Vanden Berghe’s widow, Maria Van Orshoven, and his son, Thomas Vanden Berghe.