Jan Steyaert is a Belgian Scientist and professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB, Belgium). He is the director of the Structural Biology Brussels department (SBB) of the VUB and Adjunct Director of the VIB Department of Molecular and Cellular Interactions, Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
Jan Steyaert made his Ph.D. at the protein engineering department of Plant Genetic Systems (currently Bayer Crop science). After a postdoc at the International Livestock Research Institute (Nairobi, Kenya), he joined the laboratory of Structural Biology of Lode Wyns. His research team focuses on the investigation of the structure and properties of proteins and their therapeutic applications. Recent work involves the use of single domain antibodies (nanobodies) derived from camels to rigidify flexible regions and obscure aggregative surfaces on proteins. Stable complexes with nanobodies warrant conformationally uniform samples that are key to protein structure determination by X-ray crystallography. The elucidation of the first GPCR structure in its active state using conformationally selective nanobodies demonstrates the power of Nanobodies to speed up and reduce the cost of generating diffracting quality crystals of challenging targets.