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Inspiring healthcare & biotech symposium with top keynotes

Moderators: Prof. Dr. Tessa Kerre (Head of Clinic Hematology, Ghent University Hospital) & Prof. Catherine Van Der Straeten (Head of Department, Health Innovation & Research Institute Ghent University Hospital)

Free event, in cooperation with Ghent University & Ghent University Hospital.


Start: 12 November 2019
End: 12 November 2019
Living Tomorrow (Free event, in cooperation with Ghent University & Ghent University Hospital)

Living Tomorrow

Indringingsweg 1
1800 Vilvoorde Brussels



Rector Ghent University
Ghent University

    Curriculum Vitae

    Rik Van de Walle (°1970) is Rector at Ghent University since October 2017. In his role as Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, he was involved in CESAER and welcomed the new impetus recently given to the network. In collaboration with the EU Office in the university’s Research Department, he proactively supported the involvement of his faculty and of Ghent University in European Public Affairs activities.

    He graduated in engineering physics in 1994 and obtained his doctoral degree in engineering physics in 1998. He was a visiting post-doctoral fellow at the University of Arizona (USA), before returning to Ghent University to set up the Internet and Data Lab which became one of the founding research groups of IBBT/iMinds, now part of IMEC. As a senior full professor, his specialties involved multimedia applications, systems and signals and data science. Between 2012 and September 2017, he was Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture until he was appointed Rector at Ghent University.

    Additional positions

    • Member of the Board of Governors IMEC, since 2016
    • Member of the Board of Governors Greenbridge Incubator, since 2015
    • Member of the Board of Directors IBBT/iMinds, 2007 – 2016
    • Member of the Board of Governors Ghent University, 2008 – 2012
    • Head of Delegation Belgian National Body MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group), 2007-2010

    Corporate Profile

    Ghent University, a top 100 university in the Shanghai Ranking (69), is one of the leading institutions of higher education and research in the Low Countries with more than 42,000 students, including over 4,500 doctoral candidates, and more than 9,000 staff members. It distinguishes itself as a socially committed and pluralistic university in a broad international perspective, and has been named ‘one of the fastest growing universities in Western Europe’.

    Located in Flanders, with campuses in Ghent and Kortrijk and with a Global Campus in Songdo, Korea, Ghent University is an active partner in national and international educational, scientific and industrial cooperation. Each year Ghent University spends around 315 M€ for research. Since the creation of Europe’s prestigious ERC, Ghent University has been the proud host to more than 50 grantees. Because it plays a leading role in the academic and scientific world, Ghent University attaches great importance to a transparent organisation structure, a dynamic human resources policy, an active environmental policy, support to spin-offs and welcomes other new initiatives.


    • Rotblat Medal for most cited paper of the last 5 years, in Physics in Medicine and Biology, "GATE: a simulation toolkit for PET and SPECT", Physics in Medicine and Biology (2004), 2009.
    • "Certificate of Appreciation for outstanding contributions to International standardization for ISO/IEC 21000-10 MPEG-21 Digital Item Processing from the Moving Picture Experts Group", awarded jointly with Frederik De Keukelaer and Jeroen Bekaert, 2006.
    • "Certificate of Appreciation for outstanding contributions to International standardization for ISO/IEC 21000-2 MPEG-21 Digital Item Declaration-Second Edition from the Moving Picture Experts Group", awarded jointly with Frederik De Keukelaere, 2005.
    • "Certificate of Appreciation for outstanding contributions to International standardization for ISO/IEC 21000-2 MPEG-21 Digital Item Declaration-First Edition from the Moving Picture Experts Group", 2005.
    • Scientific Award BARCO NV for PhD Thesis, 1998.
    • BARCO Award for Master Thesis, 1995.


    • articles ISI Web of Science: 150+
    • articles in peer-reviewed conference proceedings: 600+
    • (co)editor of books: 2
    • (co)author of book chapters: 20
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Delegated Director of Ghent University Hospital
Ghent University Hospital

    Doctor in Medicine, Surgery and Obstetrics - 1984
    Doctor in Biomedical Sciences - 1988
    Head of the Department of Anesthesiology Ghent University Hospital - 01/10/1999 - 30/09/2008
    President of the Medical Board Ghent University Hospital - 01/01/2003 – 30/09/2008
    Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Ghent University - 01/10/2008 – 14/06/2011
    CEO Ghent University Hospital - 15/06/2011 - present

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Head of the department of Pediatrics and Medical Genetics Ghent University Hospital - Pro-Rector Ghent University
Ghent University Hospital

    Professor Anne De Paepe (°1955) graduated as Doctor of Medicine, Surgery and Obstetrics at Ghent University in 1980 and was recognized as a specialist in Internal Medicine in 1985. In 1987 she obtained a PhD in Biomedical Sciences. She is head of the department of Pediatrics and Medical Genetics of the faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. She’s also the former rector from the Ghent University.

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Head of Clinic, Ghent University Hospital
Ghent University Hospital

    Despite important progress in the treatment of blood cancers, these still remain a therapeutical challenge. We have developed a new immunotherapeutic treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an aggressive blood cancer. We generate, starting from hematopoietic stem cells from the patient, immune cells (T-cells) directed against a protein (tumor antigen) on the cell surface of the AML cells. For these T-cells to recognize, attack and kill the cancer cells, it is crucial that the tumor antigen is highly expressed on the AML cells, but has a low or absent expression on vital organs, and is preferentially overexpressed on the leukemic stem cell that generally escapes chemotherapy. We have already succeeded in generating mature T-cells directed against an AML tumor antigen, from hematopoietic stem cells from clinically applicable stem cell sources such as cord blood and mobilized peripheral blood. We are now evaluating the function of these T cells in an AML mouse model.

    The first target is acute myeloid leukemia, but this is a treatment that can be expanded to other malignancies (both hematological and solid).

    Together with the research groups of Jan Philippé and Yvan Saeys, we are trying to unravel the immunophenotype and mRNA characteristics of leukaemia stem cells and blasts in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), using multicolour flow cytometry and bio-informatics.

    Informing patients about their disease and possible treatments is crucial in shared decision making. Immunotherapy is a novel cancer treatment, which is very complex to explain in layman’s terms. For this, we have developed Immuno-T, a motion comicexplaining the genesis of cancer and the working mechanisms of three types of immunotherapy. We are now starting with a phase II study is to assess the efficacy of this virtual aid in discussions about immunotherapy between care providers, patients and family relatives in view of improving health literacy and informed decision making.
    The effect of bibliotherapy has been shown in various settings. We are now conducting a trial in which we investigate the impact of 1-on-1 reading sessions by health care students to cancer patients, both on the well-being and empowerment of the patients and on the professional development of the students.

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Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University
Ghent University

    Karim Vermaelen, MD, PhD is board certified pulmonary physician, thoracic oncologist at Ghent University Hospital and an associate professor of Ghent University. His research subject is immune suppression in the lung cancer micro-environment, with a special focus on dendritic cell systems biology. In addition, K. Vermaelen led the preclinical development of a novel, clinical-grade dendritic cell vaccine for lung cancer, which is entering clinical development this year. A recent line of research is the search for non-invasive biomarkers to predict response to immune checkpoint blockade in lung cancer.

    During his time as researcher, K. Vermaelen has received numerous awards amongst which twice the Glaxo-Smithkline Award for research in pulmonary diseases, the Boehringer-Ingelheim award in respiratory medicine, and a European Respiratory Society fellowship award allowing a visiting researcher stay at the Institut Gustave Roussy (Prof. L. Zitvogel, Prof. G. Kroemer).

    In 2016 he co-founded ION-Ghent (Immuno-Oncology Network Ghent), an expertise platform connecting and promoting basic, translational and clinical research in cancer immunology across the whole campus. Through his involvement in national and international advisory boards, KV is a recognized expert in immuno-oncology of thoracic cancers. He is a member of AACR, EORTC, IASLC, EATI and ERS

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Coordinator HIV Clinic, Ghent University Hospital
Ghent University Hospital

    Prof. Linos Vandekerckhove graduated at the Medical School KULeuven in 1998 and obtained his PhD in 2006 at the Rega Institute (Leuven). He combined his infectious disease specialist education program with a PhD in the laboratory for Molecular Virology of Professor Debyser (Catholic University Leuven, Belgium). With this combination he bridges the gap between Clinical Infectious Diseases at the AIDS clinic and basic Molecular Virology research. In 2008, he received a clinical fellowship from the Flanders Scientific Institute, which allowed him to start up a basic research HIV laboratory at the University Ghent. In 2010, he felt the need to expand his knowledge on HIV cure research and decided to go to one of the high level research groups in the US, being the Gladstone Institute under the umbrella of Eric Verdin and Warner Greene. When he returned he applied successfully for several grants at the Bill and Melinda foundation, the American Foundation for Aids Research, the European Commission (as HIVERA partner) and local grant systems, allowing him group to expand to a group of 3 lab technician, 2 study nurses, 4 post docs and 8 PhD students. His unique profile of doing basic research in combination with clinical work makes his laboratory unique to pose the right questions and to feed the lab with relevant clinical questions. Today, his laboratory is a leading team for HIV reservoir research that is recognised nationally and internationally. 

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Professor, GIGA, University of Liège, HIV expert
University of Liège

    With a degree in medicine (1987) from the University of Liège, Michel Moutschen was particularly interested in immunology and infectious diseases. He decided to specialise in this area and completed his specialisation in 1994. While he was specialising in internal medicine, Michel Moutschen obtained a PhD in biomedical sciences (1994) then went to Philadelphia for a post-doctorate at the FoxChase Cancer Center. In 2000, he presented his thesis to qualify as a university lecturer, which opened the doors of the University of Liège’s medical faculty’s auditoriums, this time as a lecturer. Since then, he has been teaching immunology, infectious diseases, immunopathology and vaccinology.

    Furthermore, Michel Moutschen is currently at the head of two major bodies at Liège’s University Hospital. Committed to the fight against AIDS since the 1990s, he is now leading this fight by managing the University Hospital’s AIDS reference centre. This centre offers, among other things, tests for HIV (human immune deficiency virus), medico-social and psychological support, group therapy and self-help groups as well as general information on HIV and other sexually transmissible diseases. Dr. Moutschen also works closely with the University of Lubumbashi, in Democratic Republic of Congo, on AIDS projects.

    Finally, Dr. Moutschen is also the head of the department of general internal medicine and infectious diseases at the University Hospital of Liège.

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Professor of Ethics and Political and Social Philosophy, Ghent University
Ghent University

    Sigrid Sterckx, PhD, is Professor of Ethics and Political and Social Philosophy at the Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences of Ghent University. She is a founding member of the Bioethics Institute Ghent. She lectures courses in theoretical and applied ethics as well as social and political philosophy and global ethics. Her current research projects focus on: global justice (with particular attention to climate change and economic governance); human tissue research and biobanking; patenting in biomedicine and genomics; organ transplantation; neurosciences, criminal law and ethics; and end-of-life decisions.

    She has published more than 130 books, book chapters and articles in international academic journals on these issues, including the co-authored books Exclusions from Patentability: How far has the European Patent Office eroded boundaries? (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and Climate Change and Individual Responsibility: Agency, Moral Disengagement and the Motivational Gap (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), and the co-edited book Continuous Sedation at the End of Life: Ethical, Clinical and legal perspectives (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

    She is a permanent research associate of the Centre for Health, Law, and Emerging Technologies, Department of Population Health, University of Oxford (UK), as well as an associate member of the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics, Department of Philosophy, the University of Birmingham (UK).

    Sigrid also serves on various advisory committees, including the Belgian Advisory Committee on Bioethics, which advises the Federal Government of Belgium, and the Ethics Committee of Ghent University Hospital.

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    Joris Vanvinckenroye is an experienced entrepreneur in the medical sector. Graduated a nurse, he further specialised in emergency care and continued to study management, marketing and finance at the Vlerick Business School. He is also a court-certified medical expert.

    After his studies, he worked for several years as business development manager at Medtronic, a multinational global medical devices company. In 2003 he pioneered as an entrepreneur in the medical sector by creating Royal Doctors. This company provides an innovative matchmaking service to patients by connecting them with a large worldwide network of over 800 medical specialists. In 2018, Royal Doctors provided over 1500 second opinions to Dutch healthcare insurance company Achmea.

    In 2016, Vanvinckenroye pioneered again. This time with the biotech start-up Cannovex (then called Rendocan). This biotech company is focussed on the research and development of innovative cannabis-based medicines.

    Joris Vanvinckenroye is 43 years old, has three beautiful children and loves paragliding (parapante) and motocross.

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Program Manager Life Sciences and Medical Device Technologies at IMEC
    Dr. Olivier Henry graduated with Honors in Applied Chemistry (Kingston University, UK) before obtaining an MSc in Instrumentation and Bioanalytical Sciences (Manchester University, UK) and completing his PhD degree on biochemical sensors for space application (Cranfield University, UK).

    In 2005 he joined Sphere Medical Ltd. (Cambridge, UK) and led the development of semiconductor-based point-of-care diagnostic solutions for targeted drug monitoring before returning to academia in 2007 at the University Rovira I Virgili (Tarragona, Spain) as a Marie Curies research fellow and later Director of Research, with a particular focus on DNA and polymer surface chemistry applied to medical and environmental diagnostics.
    In 2013, he joined the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University (Boston, USA) as Senior Staff Engineer within the Advanced Technology Team and led several efforts to advance organ on chip technology and continued exploring his interests in medical diagnostics.
    In 2018, Olivier joined imec (Leuven, BE) as Life Science & Medical Device Technology program manager, where he oversees the development of research programs focusing on the miniaturization and integration of complex functionalities using silicon micro and nanofabrication to answer unmet needs in molecular biology, imaging, and medical diagnostics.
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Team Leader Machine Learning Omics - VIB


Western Europe Cluster Medical Lead Cell & Gene Therapy
    Richard Flaaten received his MD training from the University of Copenhagen. He worked in general practice in Norway before joining Novartis to work with their hematology portfolio, and has been working with Cell & Gene therapies since 2016. Currently he is the medical lead for the Western Europe Cluster of countries.
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Ghent University

Ghent University Hospital