People at GHI

The GHI of Antwerp will be a consortium of people committed to the realization of the institute’s mission. The GHI does not aim to replace existing organizations or programmes of its constituents, but will function as a framework and hub, seeking to strengthen and forge synergies that contribute to the mission of the institute.

GHI senior Academic Staff

Robert Colebunders

MD, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp. Until 2014, Prof Colebunders was Head the Clinical HIV/STD Unit at the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM). He worked in Algeria (1974-76, primary health care and public Health), the Democratic of Congo (1985-87, Kinshasa, Projet SIDA), US (1988, CDC, Atlanta) and Uganda (2003-4, Infectious Diseases Institute, Makerere University). His main expertise and research interest is in HIV, tuberculosis and hemorrhagic fever. He initiated the international network for the study of HIV related immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (INSHI). He was a member of the international team that investigated the Kikwit Ebola and the Durba Marburg outbreak. During his career, Prof Colebunders published over 500 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Currently, his academic focus is on research to identify the cause of the nodding syndrome and river epilepsy in onchocerciasis endemic regions.

Jean-Pierre Van geertruyden

MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp. Prof Van geertruyden  has worked over a decade as a clinician and manager in humanitarian and disease control projects of the World Health Organization and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), mainly in Sub Saharan Africa. His academic career started at ITM Antwerp in 2003, where he was involved in malaria and HIV research. Since 2009, he works at the University of Antwerp where he mainly works on malaria and human papilloma virus (HPV) research. His main expertise lies in operational research, capacity building for global health research, designing and implementing quantitative research, and conducting clinical trials in resource limited settings.

Annelies Van Rie

MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp, and Professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prof Van Rie obtained her PhD at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. She has worked for almost 20 years on clinical, epidemiological and molecular epidemiological research of tuberculosis, with an emphasis on tuberculosis in Sub-Saharan Africa, the link between TB and HIV, and drug resistant tuberculosis. Her research has resulted in 150 articles published in peer reviewed journals. She has vast expertise in infectious disease epidemiology methods, capacity building in resource limited countries, translational research, and design of implementation research.

Erika Vlieghe

Prof. Infectious diseases, Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp. Head of Infectious diseases and Tropical Medicine at UZA. Her main interests include the epidemiology of antibiotic resistance and other emerging infectious diseases problems, and the development of contextualised and effective interventions to contain these problems, with a particular focus on low resources settings. During the 2014-2015 Ebola crisis, Erika acted as the National coordinator for Ebola preparedness in Belgium, setting up and implementing multi-sector guidelines for the response to potentially infected persons within the country. This experience gave her a unique experience in the multiple aspects of emergency preparedness at national level. In the aftermath of this large epidemic, Erika realised there is a broad interface in the preparedness for acute epidemics e.g. viral haemorrhagic fever and those for slow and silent epidemics such as antibiotic resistance. Common denominators include the improvement of medical education and the diagnostic capacity (which both may increase awareness) and the improvement of infections control practices in health care settings around the world, which is the single key intervention to avoid or control nosocomial multiplication of emerging infectious diseases problems. These three aspects remain therefore the core of her scientific interest.

Steven Abrams

Prof. Abrams holds a bachelor degree in mathematics (2009), a master degree in statistics (Epidemiology and Public Health Methodology) (2011) and a PhD degree in statistics (2015) from Hasselt University. He has worked on modelling individual heterogeneity in the acquisition of infectious diseases using frailty models. His primary research interest is in the quantification of unobserved heterogeneity in susceptibility to infection, infectiousness upon infection and social contact behavior, sources which are all relevant for the spread of infectious diseases and the control of emerging infections. Furthermore, his research interests include the statistical analysis of (serial-) serological survey data, outbreak risk assessment in highly vaccinated populations (including but not limited to measles, mumps and rubella), development of novel statistical methodology for the estimation of epidemiological parameters with regard to malaria infection and the application and integration of survival data techniques in infectious disease epidemiology. Prof. Abrams teaches introductory topics in statistics and mathematical modeling in the Bachelor of Mathematics and Biomedical Sciences at Hasselt University, in the Bachelor of Medicine at the University of Antwerp and to master students in Biomedical Sciences at Hasselt University. He also gives advanced statistical courses and statistical consultancy training in the Master of Statistics at Hasselt University and the Master of Epidemiology at the University of Antwerp.

Yves Jacquemyn

Prof Jacquemyn is the Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is a co-investigator on a technical assistance project to the University of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, aimed at improving maternal health care (PI Prof Van geertruyden).

Hilde Bastiaens

MD, PhD - Hilde Bastiaens is professor at the Centre for primary care medicine, Department of Interdisciplinary and Primary Care. Her research interest lies in primary care, chronic non-communicable disease management and health systems research. Prof. Bastiaens presides the University Center of Qualitative Health Research Antwerp. She is also is co-investigator of the Institutional University Cooperation between the University of Limpopo and the Flemish Universities (PI Prof Van geertruyden). As part of this large project, she leads a chronic disease management study in rural Limpopo. She and Prof. Van geertruyden collaborate with Prof. Nuwaha, Fred Prof. Rhoda Manyenze in Uganda and Prof. Ndikubagenzi in Burundi on chronic disease management and qualitative research components.

Sibyl Anthierens

Dr. Anthierens is a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for primary care medicine, Department of Interdisciplinary and Primary Care and a core member of the University Center of Qualitative Health Research Antwerp. She is a primary care sociologist specialized in researching prescribing behavior with a focus on the way in which evidence based treatments and management strategies are used or not used in everyday practice by both patients and professionals. She also leads projects looking at new ways to support the frail elderly and their caregivers.  She has used a wide range of research methodologies, but with a particular focus on qualitative research.  She supports several national and international PhD students on the qualitative research components of their research.

GHI academic staff

Christopher Delgado-Ratto

MSc. PhDc, research assistant, Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Christopher is a biologist with a background in molecular epidemiology and population genetics. Since 2005, he works on a study of the molecular epidemiology of malaria parasites from the Peruvian Amazon. He also works on malaria studies in Vietnam, Tanzania and Congo.

Rafael Van den Bergh

Over the years, I have built a varied career – moving from a PhD in molecular immunology and virology to humanitarian operational research, public health, field epidemiology, capacity building, and humanitarian monitoring and evaluation. The unifying theme has consistently been the generation and utilisation of evidence in health and humanitarian settings, aiming to improve operations by making the data speak. I have both led and supported research across an array of subjects, including infectious diseases, mental health, environmental health, migration and health, torture rehabilitation, trauma and physiotherapy, and many others. It is precisely this polyvalence, and the opportunity it has offered me to work across boundaries, that have been my driving force: I can find no greater pleasure than working in a research team and linking different elements and areas of expertise together into one coherent whole. Though, admittedly, hiking in the wild with my children comes close.

Nele Brusselaers

Nele has extensive experience in clinical, cancer and pharmaco-epidemiology by working with the Swedish nationwide health registries, several clinical cohorts and systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Although she has a broad interest and experience in different clinical topics (incl. infectious diseases) with many international collaborations. One of her main interests is to investigate the long-term effects of commonly prescribed drugs (incl. antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors) on health, through potential drug-mediated alterations of the microbiome.

An Hotterbeekx

PhD, postdoctoral fellow, Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, is trained in biomedical sciences and molecular microbiology. She is part of the NSETHIO project, where she is investigating the pathophysiological mechanism of the nodding syndrome and other forms of onchocerciasis associated epilepsy

Tim Heupink

PhD, postdoctoral fellow, Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Tim is an evolutionary geneticist with an interest in Next Generation Sequencing and real-time evolutionary dynamics across space and time. He applies these principles to study tuberculosis as part of the Center for Whole Genome Sequencing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Joseph Nelson Siewe

Dr Siewe is a research physician interested in tropical neurology. He is currently carrying out his PhD research with the NSETHIO group of the Global Health Institute, whose main aim is to better understand onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy and provide prevention/management options in affected communities. He actively participated in the organization of the 1st International Workshop on Onchocerciasis-Associated Epilepsy (OAE) in 2017, and is part of the OAE Alliance. He has cumulated field experience in several African countries including Cameroon, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and laboratory experience from the Biotechnology Center of the University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon.

Emmanuel Rivière

PhD student, Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Emmanuel is a biomedical scientiest with a background in molecular and cellular biomedical science. He has an interest in analysis of Next Generation Sequencing data and bioinformatics in general. His research focuses on drug resistance mechanisms in Mycobacterium tuberculosis as part of the Center for Whole Genome Sequencing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Elise De Vos

Elise De Vos is a Belgian epidemiologist with a background in tropical and infectious disease epidemiology. She has a particular interest in TB and HIV public health research. Her research focuses on the molecular epidemiology and control of drug resistant TB as part of the Center for Whole Genome Sequencing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Sander Goossens

Sander completed his Master of Science in Genetics, Cell and Development Biology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 2014. The three subsequent years he worked as a Biology and Physics teacher at the International Montessori School of Brussels. In October 2018 he started his PhD at the faculty of medicine and health sciences at the University of Antwerp. He will use whole genome sequencing and RNA sequencing data in order to respectively investigate the within-host MTB population dynamics and MTB transcriptional responses under drug pressure. Next he is also studying the effect of epigenetic modifications in MTB under drug pressure.

Lennert Verboven

Lennert graduated as MSc in computer science at the faculty of science at the University of Antwerp in 2017. He has a background in data mining and machine learning and an interest in bioinformatics. He is currently working on a PhD at the faculty of science at the University of Antwerp. He joined the Centre for Whole Genome Sequencing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis where he applies his data mining and machine learning skills to improve knowledge regarding MTB transmission dynamics and emergence of drug resistant TB.

Ynke Larivière

PhD student, Centre for Evaluation of Vaccinations (CEV) & Global Health Institute (GHI), University Antwerp. Ynke Larivière graduated as Master in Epidemiology in 2019. She started working as Assistant Project Manager in March 2019 for the EBL2007 clinical trial as part of the EBOVAC3 project at the CEV and GHI, at the University of Antwerp. The phase 2 clinical trial has been set up in Boende, Democratic Republic Congo, to test a two-dose heterologous, prophylactic vaccination regimen against Ebola virus disease which is in development by Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V., part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson with the goal to bring the vaccine to licensure. Since April 2020 Ynke has started her PhD, where she focusses on the immunogenicity and safety of the two-dose heterologous, prophylactic vaccination regimen against Ebola virus disease.

Jessie De Bie

Dr. Jessie De Bie graduated as Master in Biomedical sciences in 2012 and obtained her PhD degree in the Gamete Research Centre at the University of Antwerp in 2017. During her PD, she investigated the metabolic and antioxidative status of the micro-environment of the oocyte as a basis to assess the impact on oocyte quality. Doing so, she has gained a lot of expertise in the relation between antioxidant nutrition, metabolic stress and fertility by performing both in vitro and in vivo research. After having obtained her PhD, she started her postdoctoral study in the same laboratory in close collaboration with the nutritional industry. After 8 years of experience in this topic, she organized an International conference aiming to bridge the gap between academia and industry. Since September 2019, Jessie works at the Centre for Evaluation of Vaccinations and the Global Health Institute at the University of Antwerp. She is Project Manager of the EBOVAC3 project, in which a clinical trial is being performed in Boende, Democratic Republic Congo, to test a two-dose heterologous, prophylactic vaccination regimen in development by Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V., part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson against Ebola virus disease to licensure.

Séverine Thys

Dr. Séverine Thys graduated as Master in Anthropology (2004) and in Public Health (2009). Considering herself today as a One Health anthropologist, she also recently obtained her PhD degree in Veterinary Sciences from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Ghent (Belgium) for her dissertation on “The added value of Anthropology for integrated control of Neglected Zoonotic Diseases in the One Health movement”. Through three case-studies, she assessed cultural, cognitive and social drivers explaining people’s knowledge, perceptions and behaviour with regard to animal husbandry, zoonoses and their control in their specific ecosystem as well as how to foster interdisciplinarity research in such field. After 9 years working as an academic assistant at the Institute of Tropical Medicine of Antwerp, she also coordinated a strategic network on Zoonoses and Neglected Diseases. Drawn from her ethnographic observations and first field experiences in a context of epidemic during the Ebola Virus Diseases epidemic in West Africa, she got further interested in the role of anthropology in addressing outbreak interventions and narratives around them. Since June 2020, Séverine works at the Centre for Evaluation of Vaccinations and the Global Health Institute at the University of Antwerp for the EBOVAC3 project.

Bernard Osangir

Is a data manager of the EBOVAC Project and a student of Statistics in UHasselt with in-depth experience in clinical data management, statistical analysis and interpreting complex data. I am very knowledgeable in using statistical software tools and statistical methodologies and modelling. My Interest is now focusing majorly in Data Science and particularly in Machine learning, Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence in addition to Statistics and data management.

Eva Van Ginderdeuren

Dr Eva Van Ginderdeuren is a Belgian Medical doctor with a particular interest in operational research on TB/HIV in primary care, and evidence-based programme implementation. After obtaining her Masters in Medicine in 2011 from the University of Leuven in Belgium, she started her peadiatric residency first in Belgium and since 2014 in South Africa at Kalafong Academic Hospital in Pretoria.  Since October 2015, she has been performing her PhD research at Witkoppen Health and Welfare Centre in Johannesburg on implementation of isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) for HIV-infected people.

Aimée Julien Suárez

GHI support staff

Gwen Lemey

  • TEAM Tanzania
  • EBOVAC3

Jan Vervoort

  • Institutional University Cooperation Limpopo (IUC UL)
  • WAKA HPV network
  • VLIR-UOS TEAM Peru
  • SPICES (Horizon 2020 EU project)
  • Websites (GHI, IUC UL, WAKA)

Paul Peter Vermeiren

  • ERC grant NSETHIO
  • EBOVAC3

Jo Van Dael

  • ERC grant NSETHIO

Silvie Van den Branden

  • EBQ course
  • Master of Epidemiology VLIR-UOS scholarships

Alfred Dusabimana

  • Datamanager

PhD Fellows

An overview of all our current PhD students and their research topic can be found here.