Board of Directors
and
Scientific Advisors

Board of Directors

Dr. Werner Cautreels was until his retirement in December 2018 President and CEO of Selecta Biosciences (Boston and Moscow). Previously, he was global head of R&D of Solvay Pharmaceuticals (Weesp, The Netherlands) and became in 2005 CEO of Solvay Pharmaceuticals (Brussels, Belgium) until it was acquired by Abbott Laboratories in 2010. Prior to joining Solvay he was employed by Sanofi, Sterling Winthrop and Nycomed-Amersham in a variety of R&D senior management positions in Europe and in the United States. Dr. Cautreels has acted as Director in various companies, among which Galapagos, Seres and Innogenetics. He is currently Chairman of Cristal Therapeutics (Maastricht, The Netherlands). He was the President of the Belgian Chamber of Commerce for Russia. He was born in Antwerp, Belgium, and received a PhD in chemistry from the University of Antwerp. He received his management and financial education from the Harvard Business School.

Dr Possemiers is a founder and CEO of MRM Health and has over 15 years’ expertise in gut microbiology, host-microbiome interactions and immunity at both academic and industrial level. He is an experienced entrepreneur with an extensive commercial network and previously co-founded ProDigest, which he built and led as CEO for 12 years. He also co-founded MRM Technologies, a center of expertise for microbiome R&D, and previously acted as R&D Director of BioActor, a Netherlands-based health ingredient company. He holds a PhD in intestinal microbial ecology from Ghent University, Belgium, which was performed in partnership with the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) in Paris, France.

Mr Van Nieuwenborgh is investment manager at Ackermans & van Haaren since September 2014. He obtained a Masters in Civil Engineering from the University of Ghent (2005) and an MBA from Harvard Business School (2009). Jens previously worked at McKinsey & Company where he was promoted to associate partner before joining Ackermans & van Haaren.

Dr Guery is the Technology and Innovation Leader (a.i.) at DuPont Nutrition and Biosciences. Previously, Dr Guery was the Head of Business Development Western Europe and the Head of Development Strategy Planning at Sandoz (Novartis). Mr Guery spent 3 years at McKensey &Co and worked at GlaxoSmithKline. He begun his industry career at the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research. He holds a PhD and a PharmD.from the Université Louis Pasteur (Strasbourg I).

Mr Roelands is an investment manager at Korys, focusing on venture capital investments in the life science sector since 2017. He previously worked at Kaneka and Apitope International, serving roles in business development, IP licensing and corporate finance. Raf holds a MSc in Biochemistry and Biotechnology from the University of Leuven (KUL) and an MBA from Vlerick Business School (Belgium).

Scientific Advisors

Prof. Raes is full professor at KU Leuven since 2013 and VIB group leader since 2009. His group currently consists of 30 scientists, with expertise in bioinformatics, systems biology, clinical research and microbiology. He has a substantial track record in microbiome research and has been pioneering the analysis and integration of meta-omics datasets (metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metaproteomics, meta-metabolomics) with environmental, clinical, host omics and dietary data. He was involved in the FP7 MetaHIT and NIH Human Microbiome Project (the latter as only European partner), which laid the foundations for the human microbiome field as it is today. Finally, his lab is performing a wide range of disease-related projects in a.o. IBD, diabetes, cancer, IBS and depression and develops novel approaches and tools for microbiome research. Jeroen Raes coordinates the Flemish Gut Flora project, a large-scale microbiome- focused population cohort in Belgium, and is bioinformatics coordinator in the Tara Oceans project performing large-scale meta-omics analysis of plankton communities. He has received multiple awards and recognitions, among which a selection as FWO Oddysseus Fellow, a Francqui Chair and selection for Cell journal’s “40 under 40” promising young scientists. His 2011 paper in Nature was selected by Science as part of their “Top 10 breakthroughs of the year 2011”.

Dirk Elewaut is a Full Professor of Rheumatology and Immunology and Chair of the Department of Rheumatology and Immunology at Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium, a European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) and Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS) centre of excellence. He received his medical degree at Ghent University in 1991 and his PhD in 1997 at the same institution. Following his postdoctoral research at the University of California San Diego and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, CA, USA, he joined the faculty of the Department of Rheumatology at Ghent University Hospital in 2001.
He has published more than 250 scientific publications and is Principal Investigator of the Unit of Molecular Immunology and Inflammation of the VIB Inflammation Research Centre. He has received several awards including the 2020 Carol Nachman Award, considered the most prestigious international research award in rheumatology. His research interests are centred around translational aspects of immune regulation to combat inflammatory arthritis and associated joint damage, with a special focus on the link between gut and joint disease in spondyloarthritis.

Séverine Vermeire obtained her MD degree at the KU Leuven in 1995 and a PhD at the same University in 2001 on “Genetic Polymorphisms and Serologic Markers in Inflammatory Bowel Disease”. 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. Since 2016, she is Head of the Department of Chronic Diseases, Metabolism & Ageing (CHROMETA) at the KU Leuven. She 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 500 peer-reviewed articles so far and focusses on the role of the microbiome and genetic susceptibility in IBD and on identifying 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 (2016-2021) and a VIB Grand Challenges project on microbiota modulation strategies in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases together with Professor Jeroen Raes (2018) 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 Van de Wiele is an Associate Professor from the Center for Microbial Ecology and Technology at Ghent University in Belgium. His primary research interests deal with the study of the gut microbiome, its metabolic potency, the interactions with the host and the development of methods to steer the gut microbiome in a health-promoting direction. Besides the microbial analysis of the gastrointestinal environment from animal models or human intervention trials, his group is broadly expertised in the in vitro simulation of gastrointestinal digestive processes and the mucosal microenvironment. Using dynamic human gut models such as SHIME®, a wide variety of candidate drugs, functional foods and/or feeds can be screened before a more narrow selection enters the stage of in vivo trials. In addition, SHIME reactor technology is now expanded with mucosal contact surfaces (M-SHIME) and epithelial cell cultures (Host Microbe Interaction module), which allows the study of microbe-host interactions, which are relevant in the field of oral and gastrointestinal mucositis, inflammatory bowel disease or obesity. The research of Tom Van de Wiele has resulted in a scientific output of more than 230 peer-reviewed international publications and the participation as invited speaker in many international conferences.