Our Fellow of 2023

Kathy Lindekens

Kathy Lindekens graduated as a translator at RUCA, University of Antwerp, in 1977. In 1989, she founded the cancer research fundraiser Kom op tegen Kanker and was president of the non-profit of the same name until 1995. In 2004, she established the non-profit Bednet, which allows long-term sick children to be virtually present in their classroom. Between 1995 and 2003, she was a parliamentarian and an alderman, before rejoining the VRT. Today, she is still a member of Kom op tegen Kanker and is chair of Bednet.

Our Fellow of 2021

Maurits Hendriks

Maurits Hendriks is an internationally acclaimed hockey coach from the Netherlands, where he is now responsible for the development of Olympic and Paralympic high-performance sport. 

In 2021, the Netherlands reached 7th position in the Olympic medal ranking (5th in the Paralympic ranking) in Tokyo, making it the highest ranked European country. Today, he is Games & Performance director of TeamNL of the Netherlands Olympic Committee (NOC*NSF). He is nationally and internationally known for his expertise in top-level sport and innovative approach, in both management and scientific terms. With his experience in organising and leading in a high-level sports environment, he also advises top companies on leadership.

Hendriks’s expertise can contribute to the development, management and leadership of an organisation and team members in a performance context. VUB will be enriched through his vision on leading, coaching, development, innovation, crisis management, cooperation and managing differences in culture and expertise.

Our Fellow of 2020

Anne d’Ieteren

Anne d’Ieteren is the bridge between the Paralympic movement in Flanders and Wallonia. Under her leadership, since 2009, the Belgian Paralympic Committee has expanded to become an exemplary dynamic federation in terms of policy, image and national and international relations at the highest level. D’Ieteren was a member of the board of directors of the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee (BOIC) until 2017 and is the figurehead of Paralympic sport in the country. She is also chair of the Ligue Handisport Francophone, the French-speaking federation for parasports. As an expert in equestrian sport, she is a member of the board of the Royal Belgian Equestrian Federation. In 2020 she received the Order of Merit from the BOIC.

D’Ieteren enriches the Faculty of Physical Education & Physiotherapy with guest lectures, the intention to develop a Paralympic Sport chair and her support for the SPLISS high-performance sports research from the Paralympic perspective. With her, VUB wants to develop synergies between top Paralympic sport and diverse courses. In doing so, VUB will create a unique offer for students and confirm the great social value of Paralympic sport in Belgium.

Our Honorary Fellows

Many Fellows of the Faculty of Movement and Rehabilitation become Honorary Fellow of our faculty after a period of time: a token of appreciation for their commitment to helping spread the mission and values of our faculty. 

Bob Verbeeck

Bob Verbeeck gained a MBA at Iowa State University and is a renowned sport manager in Belgium and Europe. He was a successful track and field athlete, making the semi-finals of the 5,000m at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 and becoming European indoor champion in the 3,000m in Athens the following year. After working at Procter & Gamble’s European Technical Center, where he was responsible for industrial purchases in Europe, North Africa and Middle East, he went on to set up a number of sports marketing agencies in Belgium and elsewhere. He then became president of global event management at Octagon Worldwide, which later became Golazo Sports. He combines his interest in sports with an interest in marketing and management, and his ambition is to encourage everybody to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.

Constantino Balestra

Constantino Balestra successfully defended his thesis on the physiology of human fatigue in 1995. An annexed thesis was on Doppler analysis of venous gas emboli in disabled SCUBA divers. This started his investigations on diving and other environmental physiology issues. He has been the Director, Environmental, Occupational and Ageing Physiology Laboratory and a full time professor at the Haute Ecole Paul Henri-Spaak in Brussels. He is also member of the anatomy and morphology research unit of this institution. He lectures on the pathophysiology of diving on several internationally recognized courses and at the Scuola Superiore Sant’ Anna in Pisa. He is Vice President of DAN Europe for research and education and Immediate past President of European Underwater and Baromedical Society (EUBS). Balestra is also co-author of over 150 scientific publications.

Alain De Greef

Since 2011, Alain De Greef is Head of Sponsoring and Events at BNP Paribas Fortis. From 2010 till 2011, he was Sponsoring Manager Football at ING. Previously, he had been Operational Director at Suseia Travel & Events from 2008 till 2010 and Responsible marketing & partners at Prosport / Stade Roi Baudouin from 2006 till 2008. From 2003 up to 2008, he was Department Director Sport at Dialogic / Communication and Marketing Agency and from 1999 till 2003, Technical Director at the Flemish Ski and Snowboard Federation. He started his career as Professor of computer science in educational computing graduate at the Institute at Roger Guilbert (1996 – 2003) and as Professor of computer science at Royal Atheneum of Auderghem (1991 – 1999).

Eddy De Smedt

Eddy De Smedt graduated in 1976 as Master’s in Physical Education and joined the VUB as assistant in the same year. In 1985 he moved on to become the coordinator of top-level sport for the BOIC before becoming the Technical Director of BOIC in 1988. He promoted to Director Top-level Sport at BOIC in 1996. BOIC represents the Olympic movement in Belgium and is responsible for the selection and the output of athletes for the Olympic Summer and Winter Games, the Youth Olympic Games and the European Youth Olympic Festivals. We are focused on top-level sport in the 3 regions of this country. De Smedt was a member of the Belgian Olympic team from 1988 until 2008 and leader of the Olympic delegation in Vancouver 2010, London 2012 and Sochi 2014.

Véronique Feipel

Véronique Feipel gained a degree in Physical Therapy, an aggregation to higher secondary education degree and a PhD in Physical Therapy from the Université Libre de Bruxelles. She is currently a professor and instructor of anatomy and research methodology at ULB’s Faculty for Motor Sciences and director of the Laboratory of Functional Anatomy. She is also a member of the International Society of Biomechanics EDC group and of the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics Council.

Marc Frederix

Marc Frederix studied at the Koninklijk Atheneum and Sports Humanities in Hasselt (1971-1977) and Philosophy and Communication Sciences at the VUB (1977-1982). Marc Frederix was first employed as a promo manager of a newspaper, then 15 years in the advertising industry (of which the last 10 years at his own action marketing agency Karamba, which was sold later on to DraftWorldwide). He became member of the executive committee of the National Lottery in 2003 where he transformed the marketing department into a dynamic and modern campaign team, integrated the sponsorship policy in the marketing strategy, made leading creative campaigns and won several Effies for the brands Lotto, EuroMillions and Win for Life. He has a passion for marketing, innovation and creativity, and loves to travel with his family while regularly climbing a mountain pass in the Alps by bike. Currently he is president of the board of museumPassmusées.

Yves Geysels

Yves Geysels is Head of Clinical Site Monitoring at Quintiles in Belgium. He graduated at the VUB with a Master in Physical Education and a Master in Physiotherapy and in 1990 a PhD in Physiotherapy. He worked at VUB on experimental animal models to study the vascular regeneration processes in free skin grafts. Mr Geysels started his career in 1991 in the pharmaceutical industry at the Clinical Research department of Hoechst, followed by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Novartis Belgium. He joined Quintiles Belgium in 2012. He manages a team of 60 clinical research professionals involved in numerous phase I-IV clinical trials, across multiple therapeutic disciplines.

Harriët Jager-Wittenaar

Harriët Jager-Wittenaar is lecturer in clinical malnutrition and healthy ageing in the Healthy Ageing, Allied Health Care and Nursing research group at Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen, the Netherlands. She is also a lecturer in nutrition and dietetics and senior researcher at the Department of Maxillofacial Surgery at the University Medical Center Groningen. She gained her PhD in medical sciences on the topic of malnutrition in head and neck cancer patients. Her current research line focuses on nutritional assessment, malnutrition and risk factors and imaging techniques to assess body composition. Other main research themes are the relationship between malnutrition and frailty, and the role of physical activity in the development and treatment of malnutrition, in older adults and patients with chronic diseases. Since September 2017, she has led the European Specialist Dietetic Network for Older Adults, an expert committee within the European Federation of Associations of Dietitians.

Willy Smeets

Willy Smeets obtained his Master’s in Manual Therapy at the VUB in 1991 and founded several practices specialized in physiotherapy. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Genoa and a member of the Flemish commission for University Trainings in Physiotherapy. Willy Smeets is Director at SOMT; an institute specialized in education, research and care for movement related complaints. Education at SOMT is provided at Master’s level, integrated in the courses of physiotherapy and manual therapy. Research and care are dealt with on a multidisciplinary level. The SOMT institute intends to obtain the status of a private university by the end of 2014 since the institute is the leader when it comes to Master trainings in musculoskeletal therapy in The Netherlands.

David Steegen

David Steegen is head of Public Affairs at RSC Anderlecht, press attaché and assistant marketing at Columbia Tristar Films. He studied Romance Languages at the VUB. After his career in the television world (VRT, Canal +, VT4) he entered the political world, as spokesman for Guy Vanhengel. Due to his rich media career, he started the football channel 11 of Belgacom TV in 2005.

Sonia Van Den Broeck

Sonia Van Den Broeck is Head of Subsidisation and acting Head of Promotion at Bloso. Before, she was Secretary-General at different Flemish Gymnastics Federations (ASG, GymFed) and Vice-President of the Flemish Sports Council. She is a member of the Organising Committees of different international gymnastics events.

Every faculty of our university has its Fellows and Honorary Fellows, as does the VUB as a whole. All of them are dedicated experts and leaders in their field who help us in creating better links to society and business.

Take a look at all VUB Fellows