Our fellows of 2024

Ann Ceuppens

Ann Ceuppens is a doctor of medicine and a VUB alumna. As research director for the national association of independent health insurance funds, she works closely on the social issues surrounding the affordability and quality of Belgium’s healthcare system. She plays a key role in the monitoring of scientific studies relating to healthcare.  

As a Fellow, she will play an informative role regarding new social trends and challenges in healthcare.  

Dirk Ramaekers

Dirk Ramaekers is chair of the FPS Health. Having trained as a doctor at KU Leuven, he has held several high-level positions including director of the Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre, cabinet advisor to the minister of Health and head of the Covid-19 vaccination task force. 

Through guest lectures, he will share his expertise on current and future issues in healthcare.

Khadija Rhioui

Khadija Rhioui is a VUB alumna in biomedical sciences and works at the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer.  

Calling on her expertise from the field, she will highlight the potential job opportunities in medicine outside research. She has previously collaborated on information days and VUB’s Biomedical Research Week and is already an ambassador for the biomedicine of tomorrow.  

Miranda Cornet

Miranda Cornet is a VUB alumna and toxicologist with more than 20 years of experience in the safety evaluation of new chemical and biological entities throughout the drug development process. She is director of Non-Clinical Safety at UCB BioPharma and the former chair of BelTox, the Belgian Society of Toxicology and Ecotoxicology.  

She will contribute to both teaching and research within the Pharmaceutical Sciences programme, through internship supervision, guest lectures and support for master’s theses. Her involvement will strengthen links with alumni in the pharmaceutical sector and offer opportunities for students. 

Our fellows of 2023

Marc Michils

Marc Michils holds a degree in economics and studied at Vlerick Business School. He worked at advertising agency BBDO before founding his own agency, Quattro, which was acquired by Saatchi & Saatchi België which he led until 2012. He then became CEO of the nonprofit organization Kom op tegen Kanker (Stand up to Cancer) until last year and remains its chair. He writes about fair advertising and his book "Kom op!" is an ode to solidarity, written out of outrage at rising intolerance.

Brieuc Vandamme

Brieuc Vandamme obtained a master’s in economics from KU Leuven in 2006. Early in his career, he taught health economics in Belgium and the DRC. In 2013, he became co-founder and president of the Friday Group, a think tank of young Belgian talent supported by the King Baudouin Foundation. He was health adviser to the deputy prime minister, deputy chief of cabinet to the minister of social affairs and health, and Covid-19 adviser to the prime minister. From 2020 to2022 he was director-general for healthcare at Riziv before becoming CEO of the King Baudouin Foundation.

Our fellows of 2021

Frank Vandenbroucke

Frank Vandenbroucke studied economics in Leuven and Cambridge, UK, and received his D.Phil. in Oxford in 1999. He was Minister for Social Security, Health Insurance, Pensions and Employment in the Belgian Federal Government (1999-2004), and Minister for Education and Employment in the Flemish Regional Government (2004-2009). 

Vandenbroucke has published regularly in academic journals on EU social policy, pension policy, patterns of household employment, public attitudes to risk-sharing and child poverty. He left politics in 2011 to become full-time professor at the KU Leuven and, next, at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). He also taught at the University of Antwerp (UA), where he held the Herman Deleeck chair. His most recent research focused on the impact of the EU on the development of social and employment policy in the EU member states and the normative rationale for EU social policy. He returned to politics in October 2020.

Joris Van Loco

Joris Van Loco studied at UHasselt and KU Leuven, then worked at the Scientific Institute of Public Health, where he held several positions. In 2018, he became scientific director a.i. of the Chemical and Physical Health Risks directorate at Sciensano, a federal research institution. VUB’s In vitro Toxicology and Dermato-cosmetology and Analytical Chemistry department has been working with the directorate for years and has already seen several doctoral students develop their careers there under Van Loco’s guidance. Through the Fellowship, VUB expects to expand its cooperation with Sciensano, within the institute’s scientific projects in toxicology, the replacement of animal tests and the development of new analytical techniques to support public health.

Our fellow of 2020

Patrick Waterbley

Doctor and lawyer Patrick Waterbley enjoyed a multifaceted academic training with a master’s in healthcare and business at KU Leuven. At VUB he obtained a master’s in law. Since 1985 he has had a flourishing career in the care sector. He is currently vice-chair and secretary of the High Council of Doctors, Specialists and GPs at the FPS Public Health. Medical law is more than ever in development, and thanks to Waterbley’s Fellowship, VUB can keep up with this evolution.

The Faculty of Medicine & Pharmacy has started a new master after master degree for specialist medicine, for which the legal and strategic assistance of an expert is very welcome. Waterbley is known for the encyclopaedic knowledge he has built up within the FPS Public Health and this will strengthen the development of the degree.

Our honorary fellows

Many fellows of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy 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. 

Annemie Maes

Annemie Maes studied archaeology and art history at KU Leuven. She has worked for over 10 years in the authors right organization Auvibel and Reprobel. She was management assistant for the distribution of private copy rights (authors, artists and editors) and then head of department distribution of reprographic rights of the right holders (authors and publishers).


From 2009 till 2019 she was member of the Brussels Parliament for the Flemish Green party including 3 years as a senator. Her political interests include environment, air quality, waste management, animal welfare, mobility, cycling infrastructure, art and culture, security and police affairs. She is a honorary member of the Brussels Parliament since 2019. Recently she became managing director at Auvibel.


Annick Dermine

Annick Dermine has been the director of Huis voor Gezondheid since 2014, where she is committed to making care accessible. Huis voor Gezondheid is a Brussels-based network organisation that connects, supports and attracts care providers. After training as a general practitioner, Dermine practised with great dedication for 10 years. She then worked for 11 years at ICHO (Interuniversitair Centrum voor Huisartsenopleiding), VUB and KU Leuven, where she was the driving force behind the development of a number of state-of-the-art medical assessment instruments, including a large-scale assessment (objective structured clinical exam) and a European version of the United States Medical Licensing Examination. Dermine has developed a broad healthcare network that can be of value to VUB’s Faculty of Medicine & Pharmacy and others.

Dermine can share her expertise on interprofessional (IP) collaboration for more accessible care with students. Among other things, she could organise a training session on how the UMC can set up an in-service training module focusing on IP collaboration for more accessible care, and play an advisory role in designing IP care modules. Because of her broad network and expertise, she can also play a role in filling internships and finding jobs in Brussels healthcare settings.

Bernward Garthoff

Bernward Garthoff is the biotechnology representative of the biotech cluster BIO.NRW for North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. He studied veterinary medicine at Hannover University and joined Bayer AG in 1976. He held a variety of major positions in research and development in the Pharmaceuticals business group, in Germany and in the US, in particular concerning the cardiovascular and biotechnology area. In 1994, he joined the top management of Bayer’s Crop Protection business group. He has been chair of the German Association of Biotechnology Industries, as well as a member of the private sector committee of CGIAR (World Bank) and a member of the EuropaBio board, and chair of the AgriFood Council of EuropaBio.

Caroline Verlinde

Caroline Verlinde graduated as MD at KU Leuven and established herself as a family physician in Oudergem. She is very involved in supporting primary healthcare and was health coordinator for the Flemish Community in Brussels from 2006 to 2009. She was also a member of the operational team Zorgnet and former vice-chairperson of Brusselse HuisartsenKring. Before her current position, she was Director of Huis voor Gezondheid vzw.

Dirk Dewolf

Dirk Dewolf obtained the degree of doctor in medicine and of occupational medicine at the KULeuven in 2013. He also studied at the l Institute for Tropical Medicine Antwerp. He was Deputy-Head of the Cabinet of Ministers Jo Vandeurzen and Steven Vanackere. He was also a former CD&V alderman in Overijse, and head of the Department of health promotion. He became the General Administrator of the Flemish Agency for Care and Health in 2014.

Frank Robben

Frank Robben studied law at KU Leuven and graduated in 1984. He specialised in legal informatics and social security during his studies and afterwards at the University of Tübingen and at the Max-Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy in Munich. In 1987, he followed additional training in computer auditing at the Institute for postgraduate studies in Antwerp and in 1992 obtained a postgraduate degree in business administration at KU Leuven. In 2004, Frank was appointed CEO of Smals, the most important (not-for-profit) ICT-service provider in the Belgian social security sector. In 2014, along with a number of colleagues, Frank initiated the development of a government cloud (G-Cloud). Since 1991, Frank is general manager of the Crossroads Bank for Social Security, an institution he conceived and founded.

Ilse Weeghmans

Ilse Weeghmans is director of the Flemish Patients Platform since August 2002. She graduated in 1999 at the Leuven University College as Bachelor of Social Work. In 2002, she obtained a Master in Political Science, Public Management at the KULeuven and followed an Erasmus exchange programme in 2001, at Leiden, the Netherlands. She also obtained a postgraduate certificate, consultation process leadership and organizational development and followed a coaching program at the Center for selfmanagement of the KHL.

Jo De Cock

Jo De Cock is CEO of the National Institute of Health and Disability Insurance (NIHDI) since 1995. He has obtained a master of law and a master of criminology from the KU Leuven, where he started his professional experience as a research assistant on the Institute of Social Security on the Faculty of Law in 1977. He continued his career by joining the Center for political, economic and social studies where he was researcher and political advisor. From the mid-eighties until the beginning of the nineties he worked as a deputy director and counselor of social affairs in the office of the Belgian Prime Minister. He filled the position of adjunct general administrator of the National Social Security Office from 1993 to 1995.

Karine Moykens

Karine Moykens obtained a Master’s in Classical Philosophy and Languages at Ghent University. She began her political career as head of cabinet of Flanders’ ministry of welfare, public health and family from 2004 to 2013. In 2014, she was appointed secretary-general of the department. She is also socially engaged in numerous organisations: as a member of the national board of the Red Cross Flanders, managing director of Vlaams Agentschap voor Samenwerking rond Gegevensdeling tussen de Actoren in de Zorg, and vice-president of MOVI, a voluntary network of civil servants in Flanders. In 2020 she was elected Civil Servant Government manager of the year.

Leo Neels

Leo Neels has been the CEO of Itinera since 2014 and was a professor in media and communications law at the Universities of Leuven and Antwerp. He was chair of the board of directors of Belga News Agency from 1994 until 2014. Leo Neels worked as a lawyer from 1975 until 1990 and from 1994 until 2002, and most recently as a partner at Allen & Overy. He was director-general at broadcaster VTM from 1989 to 1993. In 2003 he became general director of pharma.be till 2013. He has been chair of the advisory board of Vlerick Healthcare Management Centre of Vlerick Business School since 2013.

Luc Adriaenssens

Luc Adriaenssens is the current General Manager of APB. After his Pharmacy and MBA studies, he acquired large management experience in service industries (Spector and Securitas) during 25 years. At APB he is leading several projects sustaining the new role of the public pharmacist in the evolving health care environment. He is teaching VUB students a course on management in pharmacies, promoting entrepreneurship associated with scientific skills.

Lutgarde Buydens

Lutgarde Buydens graduated with honours as Master of Science in Pharmacy, with an additional major in Informatics, from VUB. In 1989, she became an associate professor for the Faculty of Science at Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen and a full professor in 1995. She has published more than 250 academic articles and almost 300 conference papers. In recent years, she has integrated concepts and methods from disciplines such as statistics, computer science, artificial intelligence, datamining and chemical knowledge for data analysis in areas including environmental contamination, food research and brain tumour diagnostics. In 2016, she became dean of the Faculty of Science at Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Since 2010, she has been a member of the board of the research institute TI-COAST.

Maggie De Block

Maggie De Block obtained the degree of Doctor in Medicine in 1988 at the VUB. She practised family medicine from 1988 until 2011, before becoming the Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Social Integration and Poverty. Her goal was to implement a humane and correct policy and to help as many people as possible out of poverty, despite the current economic crisis.Between 1999 and 2011 Mrs De Block was also elected in the Federal Chamber of Representatives. During that period she was the Chairperson of the Infrastructure commission (2010-2011), Vice-President of the Social Affairs commission and Secretary of the Chamber of Representatives (2003-2007). She was vice-president of Open VLD from 2012 till 2020. She started as Minister of Social Affairs and Public Health end 2012, and became also responsible for Asylum and Migration from December 2018 until October 2020.

Margot Cloet

Margot Cloet is a pedagogue and started her career in youth care, first as supervisor and then as co-founder and director of the non-profit Minor Ndako. Then she was an advisor to public health and welfare minister Steven Vanackere and spokesperson for his successor, Veerle Heeren. In 2010 she became deputy head of cabinet, then head of cabinet of Flemish minister for welfare, public health and family Jo Vandeurzen. From that position, she built a thorough understanding of the health and welfare landscape in Flanders and negotiated with the various policy levels. She has also contributed to the implementation of the sixth State reform, which has major implications for care and welfare. She was appointed managing director of Zorgnet-Icuro in 2017.

Martin Paul

Martin Paul graduated in 1986 from medical school at the University of Heidelberg. He became research fellow in cardiovascular medicine at Harvard University and Brigham & Women’s hospital in Boston. In 1990 he started as lecturer in Pharmacology at Heidelberg University followed by research group leader at Max-Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin-Buch in 1994. In 1995 he started as full Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at the Benjamin Franklin Medical Center of the Freie Universität (FU) Berlin. He also was director of the Institute of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology at the FU. After his career at the Medical Faculty of the FU and Medical Faculty of the Charité Medical Center in Berlin, the joint medical school of the Freie Universität and Humboldt University in Berlin he started as Dean of the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences of Maastricht University. He is since May 2011 the president of the Executive Board of Maastricht University.

Martine Huybrechts

Martine Huybrechts obtained the degree of doctor of medicine, surgery and obstetrics in 1983 at VUB, and set up a general practice in Wemmel in the same year. She is one of the leading general practitioners in the area and has served various functions, including presidency, at the local association of GPs. She also trains GPs-in-training, linked to her Alma Mater. She is married to Dr Karl von Kemp, MD VUB 1983, who is a cardiologist in Wemmel and at the Centre for Heart and Vessel Disease at UZ Brussel.

Mieke Walraevens

Mieke Walraevens started her career as a midwife and lactation consultant. With experience in both intra- and extramural perinatal care, and as a practical lecturer in midwifery, she obtained a master’s of science in nursing and midwifery at the University of Ghent in 2015. This led to her first steps in public health policy. She started as an advisor on mother-and-child care and then became deputy chief of cabinet of the federal minister of health. In that role, she worked in various fields of healthcare. Since October 2020, she has been advising prime minister Alexander De Croo on public health. From July 1, 2024 she will be Director General of Animal Plant Nutrition at the FPS Public Health. From July 1, 2024, she is Director General of Animal Plant Nutrition at the FPS Public Health. 

Walraevens’s starting point is a complementary and multidisciplinary care model, always putting the interests of the patient first. Her framework of values is very closely aligned with VUB’s basic principles. She may be involved in classes on medical ethics, deontology, healthcare and specialist medicine. In addition, she can act as a supervisor or jury member for master’s theses, and because of her broad expertise, she can take on an advisory role at VUB. She is assuming the title of Fellow in her own name.

Patricia Lanssiers

After her studies, Patricia Lanssiers obtained a master in Pharmacy at the ULB after which she immediately started a very successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. She was at Sandoz from 1984 till 1997 and then at Novartis till 2000, where she gained expertise in various operational units including marketing, regulatory, quality control and in the medical department. In december 2000, she joined Eli Lilly as Corporate Affairs Director for the Belgian branch, and held several key positions at Eli Lilly later on, both in Belgium and Europe. She is a member of the board at the Institute for tropical Medicine and United Fund for Belgium. She was appointed General Director of GIBBIS January 2019.

Paul Callewaert

Paul Callewaert holds a master in social and political sciences, specialized in social security and organization technologies from the university of Antwerp. He combined both fields of expertise in his first job at NUSM as IT project leader healthcare, where he became the vice director of the IT department. He developed the ‘social franchise’, the predecessor of the ‘maximumfactuur’, which is considered as one of the most important, effective and efficient social protection measures in healthcare insurance. At the same time he guided the mutualities in the electronic network of social security. From 2000 until 2011 he was head of a local mutuality. Since 2012 he is secretary-general. He defends the rights of patients and protects their access to qualitative healthcare and health.

Paul Deneve

Paul Deneve began his career in 1985 as an internal auditor at ExxonMobil EMEA, before becoming a financial controller at Oriflame International. He then went on to hold several sales and marketing positions within Apple Europe, from 1990 until 1997. In 1997, Paul Deneve joined the fashion house Courreges as Managing Director and went on to take the helm of Nina Ricci between 2003 and 2005. He was President of Lanvin from 2006 to 2008, where he worked closely with the Artistic Director Alber Elbaz. In April 2011, Paul Deneve became President and CEO of YSL (Yves Saint laurent). In July 2013, Apple Inc announced Paul Deneve will be joining the company as Vice President. Apple Inc specified Deneve will work on “special projects” and report directly to Tim Cook.

Pedro Facon

From 2002 to 2005, Pedro Facon was a scientific researcher, teacher and trainer at the Public Management Institute at KU Leuven. From 2005, he was an advisor for the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance with regard to strategy, organizational development and internal audit. In October 2014, he was appointed chief of staff for healthcare for the federal public health and social security minister Maggie De Block. In February 2017, he was appointed director-general healthcare at the Belgian Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment.

Peter Degadt

Peter Degadt was legal advisor at the National Secretariat for Catholic Education in 1980 and to the Ministers Gaston Geens and Daniel Coens from 1981 to 1985. He had various political positions till 1992. He then started as Chief of Staff to Minister Wivina Demeester and later as HR Director at University Hospital Leuven. He was General Manager at AZ Sint-Lucas in Ghent from 1996 to 2007. In addition, he serves in numerous boards and agencies that influence policies in healthcare in Flanders and Belgium. He is member of the Council General of Riziv and until 2012 het was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the AZ. St. Elisabeth in Zottegem. He currently serves as Chirman of The Board of the Hospitals AZ Damiaan Ostend and H.H. Lier. He is a guest lecturer at the Catholic University of Leuven.

Pim Drinkenburg

Pim Drinkenburg gained his PhD in Comparative and Physiological Psychology from Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. He has held an academic position at the same institute, a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Neurology and Psychiatry in Budapest, a postdoctoral fellowship at the MRC Neurochemical Pathology in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and a honorary lectureship at Newcastle University. He became head of the behavioural pharmacology and EEG group at Organon Laboratories in the UK and now works at Janssen Pharmaceutica in Beerse. He has published more than 100 scientific papers in international journals and holds various patents. He received the prestigious J&J Hofmann Award for outstanding scientific contributions to drug discovery and development and the SPARK Innovation Award.

Raf Mertens

Raf Mertens worked as a doctor in Kivu (DRC) for four years. Later he worked, from 1985 to 1997, for the Scientific Institute of Public Health, where he was in charge for the national programme for the registration of hospital infections. He also coordinated the European HELICS programme which harmonised the registration networks of hospital infections. In 1997 he started working at the Landsbond der Christelijke Mutualiteiten, where he was responsible for healthcare data, and for the development of programmes for quality promotion with hospitals. In 2006 he became head of the department Research and Development of the Christelijke Mutualiteit. In 2009 he was appointed General Director of KCE, the Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre, which advises policy makers in the domains of healthcare and health insurance.

Yolande Avontroodt

Yolande Avontroodt obtained her degree as Doctor in Medicine at the University of Ghent in 1975, a degree in Occupational Medicine in 1978 at the KU Leuven and a degree in Health Care Economics at the University of Antwerp in 1995. Next to her medical career from 1975 until 1990, she was also a member of the Federal Parliament (1999-2010), president of the Public Health Committee, Mayor of Schilde and Councillor for the province of Antwerp. She is the chairperson of the General Management committee of National Institute of Health and Disability Insurance since 2004 and a member of the board of UZ Brussels.

Yves Desmet

Yves Desmet studied Latin Sciences at the Royal Atheneum I Pitzemburg in Mechelen and studied communication sciences at the VUB. In October 1994 he became editor-in-chief of De Morgen. He became political editor in chief en since 2016 he started as journalist at Humo. He became known to the broad public with a television program “Polspoel and Desmet” in which he debated with Belgian politicians.

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