Kristina Casteels is a paediatric endocrinologist at Belgium’s largest university hospital, UZ Leuven. Kristina obtained her medical degree at the Catholic University of Leuven in 1993. In 1998, she successfully defended her PhD thesis titled ‘1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 and its analogues as immunomodulators in autoimmune type 1 diabetes: mechanisms of action and preclinical applications’ (under the supervision of Professor Chantal Mathieu). After an internship in Münster and a scholarship in Oxford, she started as paediatric endocrinologist in the University Hospital Leuven and is also assistant professor at the University of Leuven.
As an academic clinician, she expanded the Child and Adolescent Diabetes Department at UZ Leuven into a national and international reference centre with a strong diabetes team in which the care of children and adolescents is central. The number of patients has gradually increased over the past few years and the treatment has also intensified significantly. In 2013 the centre became a SWEET centre of reference after a very positive evaluation by an external peer review process. Since 2015, Kristina Casteels has also been a member of the SWEET Data, Publication and Presentation Committee (DPPC) and co-author of several publications together with this study group.
Her research focuses on the prevention of diabetes. She is the principal investigator for GPPAD (the Global Platform for the Prevention of Autoimmune Diabetes) in Belgium and co-ordinates programmes that identify infants with an elevated genetic risk of developing type 1 diabetes and prevention studies in these babies. She is also part of INNODIA, a Clinical Network for better understanding of type 1 diabetes with the aim of preventing it.
Kristina is actively involved in medical education at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels within the university hospital. This includes the education of medical students covering paediatrics and interns covering endocrinology and diabetes. Outside of the university hospital Kristina leads training sessions for paediatricians and endocrinologists and contributes to the continuing education of general practitioners, parents and teachers.