BIRD 2023 Second Annual Congress

Speakers and moderators

Prof. Dr. Matthieu Allez, M.D., PhD
Hôpital Saint-Louis, Paris, France

Matthieu Allez is Head of the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Saint-Louis Hospital in Paris, France. After he gained his medical degree, he spent two years as a visiting associate in the Department of Immunobiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, NY, USA, and was appointed Professor of Gastroenterology at the Paris Diderot University, Paris, in 2006. Matthieu Allez is specialized in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). His main research interests focus on regulation of mucosal immune responses, identification of biomarkers, and biological therapies for IBD. Matthieu Allez served the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation (ECCO) as Chair of the Scientific Committee and Scientific Officer, and as member of the Scientific Committee of United European Gastroenterology (UEG). He is a member of the International Organization for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IOIBD), a member of the GETAID, co-founder and President of the research group REMIND, and past President of the AFEMI (a national organization for therapeutic education in IBD).

Dr. Peter Bossuyt, M.D., PhD

Dr Peter Bossuyt is gastroenterologist at the IBD clinic in the Imelda General Hospital in Bonheiden, Belgium. He is also co-director of the Imelda GI Clinical Research Centre in Bonheiden.

Dr Bossuyt studied medicine at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, and graduated magna cum laude in 2004. He pursued his GI fellowship in Kortrijk, Roeselare, Bonheiden and Leuven. After completing his GI fellowship in 2009, he took up a fellowship in advanced endoscopy at the Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam. Between 2010 and 2015 he was a consulting staff member for endoscopic ultrasound at the University Hospitals of Leuven. He obtained a PhD entitled “Value of endoscopic scoring and imaging for the prognosis and follow up of IBD” at the University of Leuven in 2021. His research focuses on clinical trials in IBD and the definitions of endoscopic and imaging targets in IBD. He is a pioneer in working with e-health tools in IBD and leads several quality improvement projects. He is currently international principal investigator of 4 clinical trials in IBD and endoscopy. He is an editorial board member of the Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis, Secretary and president-elect of the Belgian IBD Research and Development Group, past-board member of ECCO’s Clinical Research Committee, ClinCom and board member of the Belgian society of gastrointestinal endoscopy, BSGIE. He won the Belgian IBD research price in 2011  and 2021 and the ESGE Innovation of the year award in 2018. He published over 100 peer-reviewed articles in the Lancet, Gastroenterology, Gut, Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology, JCC among others (H-index 33).

Prof. Dr. Maria Chaparro, M.D., PhD
Hospital Universitario de La Princesa, Madrid, Spain

María Chaparro is a gastroenterologist and researcher member of the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) Unit of Hospital Universitario de La Princesa (Spain). She is responsible for coordinating the clinical and translational projects of the IBD Unit, having participated in more than 175 projects in different phases throughout her career. She has published more than 230 articles in indexed journals and more than 500 communications to conferences (Hirsch h-index is 51 according to Google Scholar). She has been involved in many national and international guidelines in the IBD field.

She is Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid since 2014. She is member of the ClinCom (research committee of the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation) since 2021. She is head of one of the three scientific areas in her Institution, and a member of the Scientific Committee (responsible for the strategy on the research of the Institution) since 2020. In addition, she has been selected as an evaluator of projects by various institutions, including the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, from Spanish government, and an expert advisor to the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Sanitary Products (AEMPS) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Nathalie Chapelier, IBD Nurse
CHU de Liège site Sart-Tilman

Ms Chapelier is the gastro and rhumato nurse of the CHU since June 2000. She started her CHU career as a study nurse and has been working as an IBD nurse since 2010.  Since July of 2015, she has been a fully dedicated IMID nurse.

Prior to joining the CHU, she was a home-care nurse from 1991 to 2000. 

Prof. Dr. André D'Hoore, M.D., PhD
UZ Leuven Gasthuisberg

André D’Hoore is chair of the department of Abdominal Surgery at the University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium.  He is full professor of surgery at the Faculty of Medicine and contributes to graduate and postgraduate training. He is honorary fellow of the American Society of Colorectal Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons and the American Surgical Association, the Italian Surgical Society and is a European Board Certified colorectal surgeon. He was been honoured with a doctoris honoris causa at the Coimbra University. He is a founding member of the European Section of Coloproctology and is the founder of the surgical branch of the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation (S-ECCO).

His major interests is minimally invasive surgery, rectal cancer and IBD. He has contributed in 300 peer-reviewed articles and he is a co-author of several books in surgery. He has an extensive clinical practise and yearly about 350 patients undergo resectional surgery for cancer in the department. There is a dedicated program of organ sparing for rectal cancer, the department contributes to the International Watch-and-Wait Database. He started the Towards New Standards Symposium.

Evva De Jonckere, IBD Nurse
AZ Delta campus Rumbeke Roeselare

Evva De Jonckere graduated in 2014 as a nurse at Artevelde Hogeschool and in 2016 received her master’s degree in Nursing science. In 2016 she started as an oncology nurse in AZ Delta but since 2018 has been employed full time as an IBD nurse specialist in AZ Delta under the supervision of Dr. Baert Filip. During her career as IBD nurse specialist she rolled out the IBD-pathway, strengthened the multidisciplinary collaborations and assisted in several quality projects. This year she joined the board of the Belgian IBD Nurses and Study coordinators association ( BINAstoria).

Candice De Windt, Healthcare Ambassador

Candice studied bachelor of nursing and obtained a license in nursing sciences at KU Leuven. During her studies she worked as a nurse and a nursing teacher.

She was active for 6 years as a staff member in the psychiatric sector, after that she became part of the Odisee college staff for more than 14 years: first as lecturer then as director of health care education and then as member of the board, director of education and research. She served as adviser/ counselor for Flemish Minister of Education Ben Weyts since August 2020 and finally she was appointed Flemish Ambassador for Care and Welfare March 1, 2022.

As ambassador, she gets to be the face of what she herself considers the most beautiful industry in the world and yes, she is certainly aware of the many challenges that exist in healthcare. but she also sees many opportunities and possibilities.  By putting the beauty of care and well-being in the spotlight in an authentic way, she hopes to enthuse as many talents as possible to choose and continue to choose the care sector.                      

Goedele Dewitte, IBD Nurse
UZ Gent

Goedele graduated as a nurse in 2014 and started on a general revalidation ward in AZ Jan Palfijn Ghent. During her education, she followed a BaNaBa International cooperation en development at UCLL and has completed an internship of 6 months in a dayhospital in Dakar, Senegal. 

In 2017 Goedele started her master education at UGhent and combined study and work for 2 years. Since September 2019, she has been working as an IBD nurse in UZ Ghent. She ensured an expansion of the multidisciplinary team at our hospital by establishing contacts with psychologists, dieticians, social services and other disciplines that are involved in the care of IBD patients. In addition, She developed the transition care together with our pediatricians for young IBD patients, where the IBD nurse became the central figure. Under the supervision of the clinic's doctors she conducted nurse-led research ('impact of remote care during the first pandemic').

Prof. Dr. Marc Ferrante, M.D., PhD
UZ Leuven Gasthuisberg

Professor Marc Ferrante is a Full Professor at KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, and staff member of the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University Hospitals Leuven since 2012.

His main research topics include intestinal organoids, biological therapy, post-operative recurrence, endoscopy, and quality of care. Prof. Ferrante has published more than 300 papers in high ranked gastroenterology journals (h-index: 57). He has received numerous research grants for his work and received the United European Gastroenterology (UEG) Rising Star Award in Gastroenterology in 2014. Prof. Ferrante holds a basic-clinical research position at the Flemish Foundation for Scientific Research (FWO Vlaanderen). He is member of the Scientific Committee of the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation (ECCO) and member of the Scientific Committee of the Belgian IBD Research and Development (BIRD) group.

Dr. Jeroen Geldof, M.D.
UZ Gent

Jeroen Geldof is a consultant at the IBD unit of the Ghent University Hospital. After graduating as a gastroenterologist at the Ghent University in 2019, he completed an IBD fellowship at the St Mark's hospital in London under the wings of prof. dr. Ailsa Hart. He has a particular interest for perianal Crohn's disease both from a medical as from a proctosurgical viewpoint. 

Prof. Dr. Robert Hirten, M.D., PhD
Mount Sinai, New York, USA

Robert Hirten MD is an Associate Professor of Medicine & Artificial Intelligence and Human Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. He is the Clinical Director of the Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Health at Mount Sinai (HPI.MS) and the Director of the Digital Discovery Program at Mount Sinai. He completed medicine residency at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and gastroenterology fellowship at Northwell Health. He subsequently received specialized training in the care of patients with complex inflammatory bowel disease as The Daniel and Jane Present-Andrew Levison Advanced Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Fellow at Mount Sinai, before joining the Mount Sinai faculty as an IBD attending. He is currently the Associate Fellowship Director for the Advanced IBD Fellowship at Mount Sinai, the site director for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation National Visiting IBD Fellowship, as well as vice president of the New York Crohn's and Colitis Organization. He has served as a member on multiple national committees in the American College of Gastroenterology, and American Gastroenterological Association, as well as on the National Steering Committee for the MILESTONE Initiative, which leads a national education curriculum in the United States for Advanced IBD Fellows.

Dr. Hirten’s research focuses on the use of connected devices and digital technology for the study of health and disease. Leveraging this technology, he leads wearable device studies across patient populations and disease states for the study of infection, psychological conditions, and chronic diseases. His work has resulted in the development of novel machine learning algorithms derived from wearable devices for the prediction of various health and disease endpoints and has been featured by news outlets including USA Today, CBS News, and Forbes. His research has been supported by grants from foundations, industry, and the National Institutes of Health.

Sien Hoekx, IBD Dietician
UZ Leuven Gasthuisberg

Sien Hoekx started as a clinical dietitian at the University Hospital of Leuven in September 2019. While completing her Master of Science in Healthcare Management and Policy at Ghent University, she gained experience in several fields of clinical nutrition. Since February 2021 she became part of the Leuven IBD unit as a specialized IBD dietitian, where she focusses both on nutritional care in patients and clinical research on nutrition in IBD, under supervision of Prof. Dr. João Sabino, M.D., PhD.

Prof. Dr. Sarah Lessire, M.D., PhD
CHU UCL Namur site Godinne

Prof. Dr. Lessire is specialized in Anaesthesiology and is currently working in the department of Laboratory Medicine of the CHU UCL Namur in Belgium where she coordinates an Anaemia Clinic in 2 hospital sites. Her field of interest and research is the perioperative management of anticoagulants, improvement of transfusion practice and Patient Blood Management implementation in hospitals. She graduated from the University of Paris Descartes in Blood Transfusion (DUTS) in 2021 and became chair of the federal platform FPS Public Health, Belgian Quality in Transfusion (BeQuinT) in 2022. Currently, she is also involved as a member of the Board of Directors of NATA (Network for the advancement of patient blood management and haemostasis and thrombosis), of the GIHP (French Working group on Perioperative Hemostasis) and NTHC (Namur Thrombosis and Hemostasis Center). Lastly, she participates in the deployment of intra-hospital sustainable practice and research.

Prof. Dr. Triana Lobaton, M.D., PhD
UZ Gent

Triana Lobatón  finished her training as gastroenterologist in Barcelona and in 2015 she obtained her PhD on "Fecal calprotectin as a surrogate marker of disease activity in IBD patients"  at the University of Barcelona.  As part of her PhD program, she spent 18 months (2013-2014) at Leuven University Hospital under the supervision of Prof. Séverine Vermeire. 

Since December 2017 Dr.Lobaton is working as a full time staff member at the Department of Gastroenterology  at Ghent University  Hospital (UZ Gent), where she leads the IBD unit. In 2019 she became assistant professor at UZ Gent. Her clinical activity and research is focused  on  IBD, in particular clinical projects. She is currently involved as PI in several RCT of new therapeutic compounds.

Triana Lobatón has been coordinator of the young GETECCU  (Spanish group of Crohn and Colitis) and she is currently one of the members of Educom from BIRD (Belgian Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research and Development), member of the ECCO CONFER task force and National Representative for BIRD at ECCO.

Prof. Dr. Edouard Louis, M.D., PhD
CHU de Liège site Sart-Tilman

Edouard Louis was born in Belgium on April 1st 1965. He obtained the title of Medical Doctor with Magna cum laude in June 1990, at the state university of Liège, Belgium. Part of his training in Gastroenterology, was done at the Oxford University, UK (1994-1995). He graduated in June 1996 as a specialist in Gastroenterology. Edouard LOUIS obtained his Ph.D. in 1996, as a fellow of the National Funds for Scientific Research of Belgium (FNRS), with a work on gastrointestinal immunization with soluble antigens. He obtained his “aggregation” for University teaching in 1999 with a work on the characterisation and genetics of immuno-inflammatory reaction in Crohn’s disease. Edouard LOUIS was promoted associate Professor of Gastroenterology at Liège University in October 2002 and Senior Research Associate at the National Funds for Scientific Research of Belgium (FNRS) in October 2005. He has been Professor of Gastroenterology and Head of the Gastroenterology department at Liège University hospital since October 2010. He is currently the Dean of the faculty of Medicine at Liège University (2021-ongoing).

His Scientific work contributed to more than 330 papers in international journals (H-Index 2021=72). He has been General Secretary of the Belgian Society of Gastroenterology 2005-2009, President of the Belgian IBD Research group (2008-2011), member of the Scientific Committee of the ECCO (European Crohn and Colitis Organisation) (2010-2013) and Chair of this Scientific Committee (2013-2015). He has been member of the board of the GETAID (groupe d’étude thérapeutique des affections inflammatoires digestives) (2004-ongoing), president of the GETAID (2012-2015), ember of the IOIBD (International Organisation for IBD) (2014-ongoing), Associate Editor of Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis (2018-ongoing).

Prof. Dr. Dieter Mesotten, M.D., PhD
Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg campus Sint-Jan

Dieter Mesotten graduated as an MD in 1999 and is board certified in anaesthesiology, intensive care medicine and emergency medicine. He is currently a senior staff member of the Critical Care Services Department of ZOL-Genk, a large non-academic teaching hospital in Belgium. At UHasselt he is the academic coordinator of the clinical track of Biomedical Sciences and lectures on clinical trial design and GCP. He is also the medical coordinator of the Clinical Trial Unit of ZOL-Genk, which has taken up a wide array of sponsor activities in large multicentre clinical trials funded by KCE. 
Before joining ZOL-Genk in 2016, he was a staff specialist in the Department of Intensive Care Medicine of the University Hospitals Leuven and associate-professor at the KULeuven in Leuven, Belgium. Since obtaining his PhD in 2003, his main research interests have been the endocrine and metabolic disturbances in critically ill patients. Dieter Mesotten is author and co-author of more than 120 manuscripts.

Charlotte Minsart, Study Coordinator
Hôpital Erasme

Charlotte graduated in 2012 as Master Biomedical sciences at Université Libre de Bruxelles. After her master's thesis, she worked as a researcher at the Laboratory of Gastroenterology Experimental (LGE-ULB) and obtained her PhD thesis in February 2021. During her PhD, she had the chance to participate in research on inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and in April 2017 she took the opportunity to join the IBD team of the Erasme Hospital as study coordinator/data manager. In this role, she coordinates all the pharmaceutical and academic clinical trials in which the site participates, takes care of the submissions to the ethics committee and continues to do some translational research.  To improve her knowledge and daily work, she joined the BINASTORIA group in 2017 and is happy to join the BINASTORIA board on October 2023. 

Dr. Eva Pape, PhD

Eva Pape, RN, MSc, PhD works as a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) digestive oncology at Ghent University Hospital in Belgium. She counsels patients with rectal cancer (advanced rectal cancer, pelvic exenterations and late effects). In 2022 she obtained her PhD at Ghent University Hospital and the University Center for nursing and midwifery at Ghent University. In her PhD she explored the experiences, needs and perspectives of several stakeholders (patients, informal caregivers and healthcare professionals) about low anterior resection syndrome after rectal cancer treatment. Currently she is coordinating an implementation study in how to optimize care for patients with LARS and an exploratory study about the care for young patients confronted with treatment induced menopause.

Eva is also an executive board member of two national societies: the national society for oncology nurses (VVRO) and the national society for CNS (BVVS). In this last society, she leads the research working group. Next to that she is a member of the research working group of the European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS).

Ariane Paps, IBD Nurse
UZ Leuven Gasthuisberg

Ariane Paps joined the IBD specialist nurse team at the University Hospitals Leuven Belgium in September 2018 . Ariane began her career at the University Hospitals Leuven in 1995, after training for her nursing degree at Sint Elisabethinstituut, Leuven. During her career, Ariane has also attended specialist training courses in woundcare and mentor skills.

Dr. Lieven Pouillon, M.D.

Gastroenterologist-hepatologist, IBD Clinic and GI Clinical Research Centre, Imelda General Hospital, Bonheiden, Belgium

Dr Pouillon graduated as a gastroenterologist at K.U. Leuven (Belgium). He completed  a one-year IBD fellowship at CHRU Nancy in France, before joining the IBD unit at Imelda General Hospital Bonheiden (Belgium) in 2018. He has (co-)authored >50 peer-reviewed publications (h-index 21), presented at >10 international congresses, and has clinical trial experience as a principal and sub-investigator in over 25 international trials. Dr Pouillon is an elected member of the educational committee of the Belgian Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research and Development Group (BIRD), editorial board member of JCC,  and chair of the Belgian IBD Register Steering Committee.

Prof. Dr. Jean-François Rahier, M.D., PhD

Jean-François Rahier was born in Belgium in 1975. He obtained his diploma of medical doctor cum laude in 2000 from the University of Louvain (UCL) and specialized in Gastroenterology in 2007. He was first trained by Pr O Dewit in Cliniques Universitaires Saint Luc in 2005, then by Pr JF Colombel in Lille in 2006-2008. Besides, he had a part-time research activity in 2008-2013 at the INSERM U995 laboratory of Professor Desreumaux in Lille (France) where he obtained his PhD on “lymphangiogenesis in IBD” in 2014.

He is the Head of the Gastroenterology department at the University Hospital CHU UCL Namur in Belgium where his clinical activity is focused on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and also acted between 2014 and 2018 as consultant for phase II-III clinical trials in CHU Liège (Pr E Louis). He has special interest in management and prevention of opportunistic infections (OI) in IBD and was the leading author for the OI European consensus in 2009 and 2014. He has authored or co-authored over 91 peer-reviewed manuscript (H-index 34) and is part of the scientific and executive committee of I-CARE. He is reviewer for international journals such as GUT, Gastroenterology, JCC, APT, CGH and others. He is an active member of the Belgian IBD Group where he acted as secretary, then President between 2014-2020, of the European Crohn's and Colitis Organisation and of the GETAID (France).

Prof. Dr. João Sabino, M.D., PhD
UZ Leuven Gasthuisberg

Prof. Dr. João Sabino is assistant professor at KU Leuven (Leuven, Belgium) and staff member of the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University Hospitals Leuven since 2019.  

João Sabino graduated as MD at the University of Lisbon, Portugal. Part of his MD training was done at the University of Salamanca, Spain, under the Erasmus program. In 2010, he moved to Belgium for his gastroenterology fellowship, which included internships at the University Hospitals of Leuven, Hospital of Lier, and Hospital of Genk.

In December 2017, he successfully defended his PhD thesis entitled “Host-microbiome interactions in health and digestive diseases” at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Leuven. After his PhD, he did a short postdoctoral stay at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York.

João Sabino holds a basic-clinical research position at the Flemish Foundation for Scientific Research (FWO Vlaanderen). He is member of the Educational Committee and of the board of the Belgian IBD Research and Development (BIRD) group.

His main research interests are the role of dietary approach to treat intestinal inflammation, the role of dietary components in the development and resolution of intestinal inflammation, and the impact of undernutrition in the quality of life of patients with IBD.

Prof. Dr. Antonino Spinelli, M.D., PhD
IRCCS Humanitas Research Hospital, Milan, Italy

Prof. Spinelli is the Director of the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery and Full Professor of Surgery at Humanitas University, Rozzano Milano, Italy.  He trained for two years (2003-2005) at the University of Berlin – Charitè, and later he gained his PhD on enhanced recovery protocols in colorectal surgery. He is dedicated to the development of innovative techniques in minimally invasive colorectal surgery. 

Prof. Spinelli is Associate Editor at Colorectal Disease, Diseases of the Colon and Rectum, and at Journal of Anus, Rectum & Colon. He is Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Crohn’s Colitis and of Coloproctology. He authored/co-authored more than 260 Pubmed-indexed publications (IF > 2800, H Index Scopus 51, H Index Google Scholar 63).

Prof. Spinelli currently serves as General Secretary and President in Waiting of the European Society of ColoProctology (ESCP) and is Fellow of European Surgical Association (F-ESA), Fellow of the European Board of Surgery (FEBS), Fellow of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgery (FASCRS) and Member of the International Organization for the study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IOIBD).

In 2016 he was awarded with the Honorary Fellowship of the Czech Society of Surgery and is Honorary Member of the Brazilian College of Digestive Surgery (CBCD) since 2017.

Noortje Straetemans, IBD Nurse
AZ Vesalius

Noortje Straetemans obtained her nursing degree in 2010, specializing in Social Nursing. She has always had a specific interest in the guidance and education of patients with chronic diseases. In January 2019 she joined the IBD clinic in AZ Vesalius Tongeren. Since then she has built up expertise in IBD and its psychosocial impact, with a specific interest in IBD and sexuality/fertility. She is a member of BIRD since 2020, chair of BINAstoria since 2022 and focuses on education, multidisciplinary collaboration and the national recognition of the IBD nursing profession in Belgium.

Prof. Dr. Phil Tozer, M.D., PhD
St. Mark's Hospital, London, UK

Phil is a consultant colorectal surgeon and honorary senior clinical lecturer at St Mark’s Hospital and Imperial College, London. He leads the Robin Phillips Fistula Research Unit along with Professor Ailsa Hart and Dr Phillip Lung. His practice focusses entirely on fistulae, IBD and post disaster surgery. The FRU is responsible for a substantial academic output in fistula and IBD research and Phil runs a number of international collaborations in these areas.

He is the founding chair of the ACPGBI proctology committee and founded and leads the UK’s proctology roadshow. He is sub dean of the St Mark’s Academic Institute and runs a number of academic courses and conferences in proctology and IBD.

Prof. Dr Lukas Van Oudenhove, M.D., PhD
KU Leuven

Lukas graduated as a Medical Doctor at KU Leuven in 2001. During his specialist training in psychiatry, he was granted a PhD-fellowship of the Research Foundation – Flanders, resulting in his doctoral thesis ‘Psychobiological mechanisms in functional dyspepsia. Converging evidence from psychophysiology & functional brain imaging?’ (KU Leuven, 2008). He then worked as a postdoctoral fellow of the Research Foundation – Flanders at the Translational Research Center for Gastrointestinal Diseases (TARGID) of KU Leuven from 2009 until 2012. In 2012, he was appointed assistant research professor of the KU Leuven Special Research Fund, allowing him to establish his own group, the Laboratory for Brain-Gut Axis Studies (LaBGAS).

His research has been internationally authoritative, as reflected by more than 250 peer-reviewed publications, numerous invited and abstract presentations at scientific meetings, and several international research awards. In 2020, Lukas got granted an ERC Consolidator Grant MoodBugs, focusing on microbiota-gut-brain signaling mechanisms mediating the impact of the gut microbiota on stress and fear responses in humans. In 2023, he was promoted to research professor.

Biostatistician Prof. Geert Verbeke, PhD
KU Leuven

Geert Verbeke is Full Professor in Biostatistics at the Department of Public Health and Primary Care of KU Leuven (Belgium).  He served as chair of the Department of Public Health and Primary Care of KU Leuven (2013-2020), and is director of the Biostatistics research unit.  He published >250 peer reviewed papers and several text books on various aspects of longitudinal data analysis. He has held visiting positions at the Gerontology Research Center and the Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD, US). Geert Verbeke served as council member for the Royal Statistical Society (RSS, 2013-2016), board member of the American Statistical Association (ASA, 2007-2009), and president of the International Biometric Society (IBS, 2020-2021). He is an Elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association and an Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute. He received accreditation as professional statistician from the American Statistical Association (ASA, 2010-…), received the International Biometric Society Award for the best Biometrics paper in 2006 and 2021, and received several awards in Excellence-In-Continuing-Education from the American Statistical Association. He taught a large number of short courses for academia, industry, the regulatory authorities, and at scientific meetings. He also regularly serves as expert-statistician for the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA, 2004-...). 

Prof. Dr. Séverine Vermeire, M.D., PhD
UZ Leuven Gasthuisberg

Séverine Vermeire obtained her MD degree at the KU Leuven in 1995 and a PhD at the same University in 2001. She further trained at the Universidad Nacional de Asuncion, Paraguay (1993), at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics , University of Oxford (1997-1998) UK and at the Montreal General Hospital (McGill University) in Canada (2000–2001). Since 2003 she is staff member at the Gastroenterology Department of the University Hospitals Leuven and is appointed Full Professor of Medicine at the KU Leuven. She was Head of the Department of Chronic Diseases & Metabolism (CHROMETA) at the KU Leuven from 2016-2021. In 2021 she was appointed Research Coordinator for the Group Biomedical Sciences at the KU Leuven.

Dr Vermeire is actively involved as principle investigator in RCTs with new therapeutic compounds and has been lead investigator on  several of these programs. Her scientific work resulted in more than 600 peer-reviewed articles and focusses on the role of the microbiome and genetic susceptibility in IBD and on identifying prognostic and predictive signatures of treatment response. Dr Vermeire participated in the International iCHOM consortium on development of Patient-Centered Outcomes for Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

She was awarded several grants including an Advanced H2020-European Research Council (ERC) Grant (2016-2022). Séverine Vermeire was President of the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation (ECCO) from 2014-2016 and of the  Belgian IBD Research & Development (BIRD) Group from 2011-2013

Prof. Dr. Bram Verstockt, M.D., PhD
UZ Leuven Gasthuisberg

Bram Verstockt, MD PhD, is assistant professor at KU Leuven (Leuven, Belgium) and staff member of the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University Hospitals Leuven since 2021. Besides the regular IBD care, he is responsible for the multidisciplinary clinic and the implementation of intestinal ultrasound (IUS) in the Leuven IBD unit.

Bram graduated medical school at the KU Leuven in 2013. In 2015, he interrupted his residency to start a PhD ‘Predicting outcome in inflammatory bowel diseases, a multi-omics approach’, which he successfully defended in 2019. During the first year of his PhD, he worked at the University of Cambridge (Cambridge, United Kingdom). In 2021 he performed an additional fellowship in Lüneburg (Germany) for intestinal ultrasound. 

Besides clinical trials as PI or co-investigator, his clinical research focusses on non-invasive monitoring using IUS and the optimisation of radiology tools (radiomics). His translational research mainly focusses on the development of predictive/prognostic markers for a more personalised medicine in IBD, as well as on further unravelling IBD disease heterogeneity (including perianal disease, fibrostricturing disease and fatigue) trough multi-omics and organoid models. Together with Jonas Halfvarson and Séverine Vermeire, he co-founded the international COLLIBRI proteomics consortium. 

Bram is board member of the Y-ECCO committee, the Young Flemish Gastroenterologists  and the International Bowel Ultrasound (IBUS) Scientific Committee. He is currently chairing the Belgian IBD Biobank and member of the BIRD Scientific Committee. Finally, he is social media associate editor at the Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis, and reviewer for many gastroenterology journals and conferences. He received several awards including the Prijs Prof. Dr. Jan De Grootte in 2013, the Horlait-Dapsens Prize in 2020 and the KU Leuven Research Council Award in Biomedical Sciences in 2022.

Dr. Sophie Vieujean, M.D., PhD
CHU de Liège site Sart-Tilman

Sophie Vieujean is Head of Clinic in the Gastroenterology Department at the University Hospital of Liège, Belgium. She obtained her medical degree in 2014 and completed her fellowship in Gastroenterology in 2021, at the University of Liège, both with summa cum laude. In 2018, she started her PhD on “the role of epithelial cells and mesenchymal stem cells in intestinal fibrosis in Crohn’s disease”, under the supervision of Professor Edouard Louis, successfully defended in 2022. This was funded by the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research (F.R.S.–FNRS) and the Belgian Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research and Development Group (BIRD). After her PhD, she worked for 7 months at CHRU of Nancy in France, as a fellow of Professor Laurent Peyrin-Biroulet. Then, she performed a post-doctorate in metabolomics at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, in the lab of Professor Arthur Kaser. She is author and co-author of several publications in the field of inflammatory bowel diseases in peer-reviewed journals, including Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis, Gut and The Lancet Healthy Longevity.