Marc Van Ranst was born in Bornem, Belgium on June 20, 1965. He graduated as a medical doctor from the University of Leuven in 1990. From 1985 on, he trained at the Rega Institute for Medical Research in Leuven. From 1990 to 1994, he worked at the department of microbiology & immunology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, and received his Ph.D. degree in virology in 1994. In 1998, he became board-licensed as a specialist in clinical biology. Since 1999, he is a professor at the University of Leuven. Currently, he is associate chief of the department of laboratory medicine, and heads the diagnostic virology laboratory at the University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium. He is also the director of the AIDS reference laboratory and of the national coronavirus and rotavirus reference laboratories. Professor Van Ranst was appointed in 1999 to the Belgian high council for public health.
In his research laboratory, nine PhD students and four master degree students are currently working on studies on the molecular evolution and epidemiology of DNA and RNA viruses, and on the genetic host susceptibility for viral diseases. He published over 220 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals and contributed eight chapters to books on molecular evolution and bioinformatics.
Professor Van Ranst teaches virology, epidemiology, and bioinformatics at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Leuven and at the Hogeschool Leuven in Belgium. Since 1995, he holds an affiliate academic position at the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, where he teaches a Bioinformatics course.
In 2004 Professor Van Ranst was granted the European Clinical Virology Heine-Medin award of the European Society for Clinical Virology. In 2005, he received a doctor honoris causa degree at the University of Kalmar in Sweden.
In 2007, the Belgian government appointed Professor Van Ranst as Interministerial Commissary for Influenza Preparedness Planning.