The Methusalem Consortium is an interuniversity collaboration between:
The Vaccine & Infectious Disease Institute - VAXINFECTIO, University of Antwerp
The Center for Statistics - CenStat, Hasselt University
VAXINFECTIO as formal Institute within the Faculty of Medicine (UAntwerpen)
The Vaccine & Infectious Disease Institute - VAXINFECTIO, is part of the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences; VAXINFECTIO represents a close collaboration between the Centre for the Evaluation of Vaccination (CEV), the Laboratory of Experimental Hematology (LEH) and the Laboratory of Medical Microbiology (LMM). VAXINFECTIO was established as a formal Institute of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Antwerp in 2007 to promote the multidisciplinary research of vaccines and infectious diseases. Since January 2008 VAXINFECTIO is formally recognized as one of the five Centre’s of Excellence of the University of Antwerp. Additionally, a new collaboration between VAXINFECTIO and the Evolutionary Ecology Group at the department of Biology, Faculty of Science, was recognized as new Centre of Excellence called ASCID (Antwerp Study Centre for Infectious Diseases). VAXINFECTIO is also holder of Industrial Research Funding (IOF) together with the Faculty of Design Sciences, Department of Product Development (IOF consortium VAXINFECTIO-PO), which major focus on applied/industrial research, and creation of valorization opportunities.
VAXINFECTIO is aimed at integrated vaccine and microbiological research with a focus on increasing the understanding of the immune response in prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines (including tumor vaccines) and on the containment of antibiotic resistance.
The Center for Statistics at the Faculty of Sciences (UHasselt)
Established in May 1998, CenStat unites teaching, research and consulting activities in biostatistics, bioinformatics and epidemiology and public health within the Faculty of Sciences of Hasselt University. Research themes encompass longitudinal and incomplete data, survival analysis, clinical-trial methodology, epidemiology and survey research, risk assessment, bioinformatics, and statistical genetics. In the 2004 ranking by the Canadian Journal of Statistics, CenStat hit the world’s top 15 ranking of statistical departments. CenStat’s strength prominently shows in its highly successful Master in Statistics with four tracks: biostatistics, bioinformatics, epidemiology & public health and the VLIR-UOS sponsored ICP biostatistics program which places particular emphasis on topics relevant for South countries. Since 2008, CenStat’s Master in Statistics program holds accreditations by the Royal Statistical Society and the VLIR (2009-2017).
The principal research unit involved in the Methusalem Consortium is the Modelling Infectious Disease (MID) research group, which offers high-quality expertise in infectious diseases and quantitative risk assessment. The extensive network of the MID unit, headed by Prof. Niel Hens, builds upon the long-standing collaboration between CenStat and several national and international institutes (including VAXINFECTIO and the Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre, Brussels) and on several (inter)national grants (e.g. EC FP6 POLYMOD grant). Important research topics include microbial risk assessment related to zoonotic risks or toxicology, biostatistical models, longitudinal, spatial and spatio-temporal models, disease mapping, SIR type of models, stochastic models, individual-based, agent-based, contact pattern and network models.
Since September 2008, CenStat is the UHasselt entity of the Interuniversity Institute for Biostatistics and statistical Bioinformatics (I-BioStat), which formalizes and shifts the long-lasting collaboration with the KU Leuven Centre for Biostatistics and statistical Bioinformatics (L-BioStat) to a next gear. I-BioStat (headed by Prof. Geert Molenberghs) further extends the two divisions’ activities in biostatistics, statistical bioinformatics, and genetics. This is enabled by means of additional appointments at professorial and postdoctoral level, and through project-based investments. Jointly, Leuven and Hasselt are creating a well-recognized platform.