Laurent Van Cutsem is a Ph.D. student at the Department of Languages and Cultures (Sinology) and a member of the Ghent Centre for Buddhist Studies at Ghent University. He received a Bachelor of Arts in History from the Free University of Brussels (2013, Magna cum laude) and a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of Louvain (2015, Summa cum laude, with congratulations from the jury). From 2017 to 2021, he was a recipient of the Special Research Fund (BOF) of Ghent University and subsequently became a Fellow of the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange 蔣經國國際學術交流基金會 (CCKF Dissertation fellowship; 2021–2022).
His current project investigates aspects of textual history, genealogy, and intertextuality in the Zǔtáng jí 祖堂集 (Collection of the Patriarchal Hall; ca. mid-tenth century)—that is, the earliest, fully extant "lamp record" (dēnglù 燈錄) of the Chán Buddhist tradition, organized around a full-fledged, multi-branched genealogical framework.
As a contributor to the Database of Medieval Chinese Texts, he is responsible for the collection and input of variant characters (yìtǐzì 異體字 and the production of XML-based TEI editions of sections of the Zǔtáng jí and related Dūnhuáng manuscripts (e.g., the Quánzhōu Qiānfó xīnzhù zhūzǔshī sòng 泉州千佛新著諸祖師頌, S.1635).
His research interests include Chán Buddhist literature, medieval Chinese manuscript culture, medieval Chinese linguistics, Historical Social Network Analysis, and TEI scholarly digital editions of pre-modern Chinese texts.