Our Fellows of 2023
Roel Van der Meulen
Roel Van der Meulen studied bioengineering at VUB and has already been an excellent ambassador for the university. He has given lectures, with projects taking place with the research group IMDO and industrial bakery companies Lantmännen Unibake and Vandemoortele, via Flanders’ FOOD and VLAIO. In 2022, he addressed the graduates of the Faculty of Science and Bioengineering at the ceremony on the Grote Markt. Furthermore, he also provides guest lectures in high schools to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) amongst the next generation of students.
Eric Michiels studied Mathematics and Informatics computer science at KU Leuven and has held several positions in the information technology sector. He has designed and implemented architectures in various industries and built up in-depth expertise in analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing. He joined IBM in 1999 and since 2007 has been Executive Architect at IBM Belgium.
Our Fellows of 2021
Inge Arents studied agricultural engineering at Ghent University, specialising in nutrition and dietetics. Since 2013 she has held several positions in product and process development. In 2016, she joined Flanders’ FOOD as managing director.
Arents already has a strong relationship with VUB, where she contributes to food biotechnology research. She has enabled three bioengineers to graduate and she recently participated in Kanaal Z’s TechTransfer report on food biotechnology research at VUB.
Jonathan Berte graduated as a civil engineer in applied physics at Ghent University and specialised in neuroscience at ETH Zurich. Today, he is the founder and CEO of Robovision, a Belgian company specialised in industrialising deep learning. Berte and his team of machine learning experts have developed a fully scalable platform for the deployment of advanced artificial intelligence. Robovision operates in various sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, security and agriculture, and has won a number of international awards.
Berte was keynote speaker at the third edition of the conference series The Beautiful Impact of Mathematics in Society in 2019. His address was appreciated by doctoral students who saw career possibilities in the field. He is in regular contact with the faculty for a possible collaboration with Fablab Brussels.
Tamara Van Dam
Tamara Van Dam stands out as a biologist in the “hard” industrial world of marine engineering. In 2010, she graduated as a biologist at VUB and today she works at DEME as project health, safety & environment manager, monitoring and remedying the impacts of marine engineering. She plays an exemplary role in biology and at VUB, where marine research attracts lots of students.
Van Dam has strong ties with VUB and contributes to the master’s programme as a representative and training advisor from the field. She gives regular seminars to biology students about her role in a company such as DEME, about project sites such as the Qatar port construction and the deepening of the Suez Canal. She also speaks on approaches to ecological restoration in temperate and tropical marine ecosystems.
Our Fellows of 2020
Guido Gryseels is an economist by training, specialised in agricultural and development economics. He has had an international academic career with the International Livestock Centre for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and as head of service at the Food & Agriculture Organisation in Rome. Since 2001 he has been Director-General at the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, near Brussels. The museum has a unique, world-class African collection. As well as presenting this collection, it also carries out high-level geological, ethnographic, historical and biological research.
The museum has partnerships and collaborative research activities in 12 African countries and contributes to the training of 150 African scientists every year. VUB carries out research activities in domains closely related to the museum. In collaboration with Gryseels, VUB wants to more closely study the museum’s existing collections. Thanks to the Fellowship, VUB students will have the chance to do internships at the Africa Museum.
Michèle Oleo is a VUB alumna. After studying biology and botany in 1985 she gained her PhD in 1991 in plant genetics under Professor Michel Jacobs. After her studies she worked from 1999 to 2009 in various ministerial cabinets at Flemish and federal level. Science and innovation policy was partly drawn up under her guidance. At Flanders’ Department of Economy, Science & Innovation, she has coordinated the participation of Flemish researchers at several fora such as the ESFRI Forum since 2015. She sits on various European research infrastructures boards and works closely with the FWO.
Oleo’s network within ESFRI will facilitate VUB participation in new and existing research infrastructures in the European interest.
Our Honorary Fellows
Many Fellows of the Faculty of Sciences and Bioengineering Sciences 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.
Isabelle Van der Haegen
Isabelle Van der Haegen has a degree in nursing and obstetrics and a postgraduate in education. She is Country Head clinical Operations at Hoffman-La Roche Belgium where she oversees all activities concerning clinical trials in Belgium and 10 other European countries. She is one of the leaders of the EU Clincial Trial Regulation project that will be implemented in 2020. Since 1990, Isabelle Van der Haegen has been involved in the planning and execution of clinical trials in a wide range of therapeutic areas – oncology, immunology, haematology, cardiology, nephrology, infectious disease and neurology – within Europe.
Jan Bogaerts is Statistical Methodology Director EORTC. He earned his Master degree in mathematics and his PhD in mathematics at the VUB. From 1986 to 1993, he worked as an assistant in mathematics and statistics at the faculties of Economic, Social and Political Sciences and the faculty of Science at VUB. In 1993, he joined Bristol-Myers Squibb as statistician, and was later promoted Associate Director Statistics. In this position, he worked on the development of several drugs in oncology, including several FDA and EMA submissions. In 2004 he joined the EORTC as statistician of the EORTC Breast Cancer Group. In 2010, he became Head of the Statistics department, in 2012 he was appointed Methodology Vice Director and in 2015 Methodology Director. His statistical interests include: statistical issues around Progression Free Survival, ways to use changes in tumor measurements as predictive markers, and the evaluation of contributions of new markers to existing prognostic risk evaluation.
Marc Ceusters is an organic chemist. He completed his PhD in peptide chemistry at VUB in 1992. Specifically, he studied enkephalins; These pentapeptides, occurring naturally in the brain, are related to endorphins and produce similar physiological effects. After obtaining his PhD, he began to work at Janssen Pharmaceuticals as a medicinal chemist in fundamental research. He is now a compound development team leader in the field of neuroscience.
Françoise Chombar is the co-founder of Melexis, a mixed signal semiconductor manufacturer for the automotive industry. She has been the CEO for 12 years. She is also president of the advisory board of the STEM Platform, aiming to encourage young people to follow education in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. In addition, for 17 years she has been a mentor for the Sofia Women’s Network, a mentoring, networking and educational programme for women working in management in the for-profit sector. For the past five years she has been committed to promoting female access to directorship roles within Belgian enterprises through her membership of the Woman on Board organisation. In 2016, she won the Vlerick Award.
Ingrid Daubechies obtained a Master’s degree in Physics in 1975, followed by a PhD in Theoretical Physics in 1980 both at the VUB. She joined AT&T Bell Laboratories as a technical staff member from 1975 until 1987. She became a professor at Rutgers University in 1993. Her research is focused on time-frequency analysis – in particular, but by no means exclusively on Wavelets – and applications to mathematics, other sciences, engineering, and art history. Having won several awards for her ground-breaking work, professor Daubechies is also a renowned member of the American Philosophy Society, the London Mathematical Society, the Académie des Sciences in Paris and the Académie Royale in Brussels. Ingrid Daubechies is now a professor at Duke University and has collaborated with several other universities in the United States.
Bart Degeest graduated as a Bioengineer in cellular and genetic engineering at VUB in 1995 and obtained his PhD in Applied Biology Sciences in 2001. That same year, he was recruited by Yakult as Science Manager and took on the position of Director of Science and Corporate Affairs. Since 2011 he is the Managing Director of Yakult Belgium N.V.
Aglaée Degros is founding partner, architect, urban planner and participation expert at Artgineering, a renowned urban design practice originally based in Rotterdam and now based in Brussels. She was a researcher at TU Delft and guest professor at the Akademie der Bildenden Kunsten in Vienna. She has published extensively on public space and infrastructure design, has great expertise in urban projects and public space design – in particular in Brussels – and is a regular guest critic and visiting lecturer at numerous universities and architecture and urban design institutes in Europe. Since 2016 she has been a professor and head of institute of urbanism at the Institüt fur Städtebau at Graz University of Technology in Austria.
Frank De Winne
Frank De Winne obtained a Master’s degree in Telecommunications and Civil engineering at the Royal Military Academy in Brussels. He became a pilot in the Belgian Air Force in 1992. He was selected as an astronaut by ESA in 1998. De Winne's first spaceflight in 2002 was a trip as a flight engineer to the International Space Station (ISS) during ESA’s OdISSea mission. In 2009 he spent six months as board commander in the ISS during the OasISS mission. Since 2012, he is the head of the European Astronaut Centre HRE-A Department in Cologne.
James Kairo is principal research officer at the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute Mombasa. He graduated from the University of Nairobi with a BSc and MSc in biology, focusing on forestry. His MSc promotor was Dirk Van Speybroeck, a VUB alumnus who was teaching at the university at that time and was an official at the UN Environment Programme. This led to the launch of mangrove research at VUB, in which Kairo played a crucial role, covering the Kenyan coast from Somalia to Tanzania. Employed at the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) after completing his PhD at VUB, he has become a senior scientist with a high international profile. He is frequently invited to lend his expertise to blue carbon and mangrove management initiatives around the world. Besides this expert consultancy, he carries out his KMFRI mandate as policy support through scientific reports, as well as research translated into peer-reviewed output. He often emphasizes his roots at VUB, making him a window for the university on science-based sustainability issues in the developing world.
After obtaining his Master’s degree in Bioengineering Sciences at VUB in 1988, Patrick Roggemans started his career as Project Manager at the Belgian brewery Unibra. After diverse management positions in several companies such as Tetra Pak and Crown Cork & Seal, he worked as General Manager Market Unit Brewery at Alfa Laval. A couple of years later, he became Managing director and CEO at the same company. During his years at Alfa Laval, he also managed to obtain a degree in Sales & Marketing at Ashridge Business School (2006) and a degree in Strategical Management at the Vlerick Management School (2009). In 2011, he became CEO and co-owner of Gillain & Co, a company specialized in the distribution of hygienic equipment and components in stainless steel for the Food & Pharma Industries.
After obtaining his Master’s degree in Geography & Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at VUB in 1993, Marc Schepers started his career as a GIS researcher at VUB and KU Leuven. In 1998 he became a senior expert for GIS projects as Business Development Manager at GIM NV. Five years later, his management skills led to his appointment as Senior Product Manager at Tritel NV. During that time, Marc Schepers also worked as a project manager for the Flemish Institute of Mobility for almost three years, where he evaluated and coordinated innovative projects on mobility and technology. In 2010 he played an even bigger role in governmental policy-making, when he was advisor for the city of Hasselt. In 2011 he founded CityDepot, a successful ecological distribution company that, since its beginning, has received a lot of media attention and is continuously looking to expand. Currently he is director of Citylab.
Jean-Marie Solvay graduated from the Zurich Polytechnic Institute (ETH) in Chemical Engineering in 1978 and studied Advanced Management Programme from Insead. He was the Founder and has served as CEO at Albrecht RE Immobilien GmbH & Co KG since 2003 and the Teimmo company in Berlin, Germany since 2002. He is also the Founder of Helitradewinds Inc. and of Winco Helicopters Inc., both located in Portland, USA.
In 1991, he became a Member of the Board of Directors at Solvay S.A. and in 1994 he joined the Innovation Board at the same company. Next to this, he serves as a Member of Supervisory Board of Heliocentris Fuel Cells AG. In 2006, he became the President of the Board of Directors at the International Institutes for Physics and Chemistry, founded by Ernest Solvay.
Els Torreele graduated as a bioengineer and obtained a PhD in applied biological sciences from the VUB. As a research and development coordinator at the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), she worked on policy issues related to biomedical research agenda-setting, patenting of research findings, and the commercialisation of biotechnology research. Els Torreele joined the Médecins Sans Frontières Access to Essential Medicines Campaign in its pioneering years as chair of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Working Group, a think tank to come up with new ideas to foster needs-driven research and development of treatments for diseases that primarily affect developing countries.
After graduating as an engineer in Chemistry and Agro-industry at Ghent University Frank Vandendriessche started a PhD in Meat Technology at the same institution followed by a long career in the meat industry. He played an active role in the expansion of the family-owned company Imperial into a major player within Europe and beyond. Within the group, he obtained a key position as research & development manager and quality assurance manager. He has been an industrial partner in many research projects on a national and European level (including bilateral industrial projects with IWT, collaborative research projects of the Flanders’ FOOD platform, and joint research projects within the EU-FAIR program).
Guy Van Lommen
In 1977, Guy Van Lommen obtained his PhD in Sciences at the VUB where he started his professional career as researcher in the VUB laboratories. From 1981 to 2007, he worked for Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, where he was the head of the Medicinal Chemistry department. Through his work, Guy Van Lommen focuses on identifying molecules and substances that can be used to cure specific types of diseases. He participated in the inspections of the academic chemistry programs in Flanders and the professional Bachelor Chemistry. In 2012 he was also a member of the review committee that evaluated the Dutch chemistry courses.
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.