Prof Vinny Naidoo

Vinny qualified as a veterinarian (Cum Laude) from the Medical University of Southern Africa (MEDUNSA) in 2001 and finished his post-graduate training (MSc and PhD) at the Faculty of Veterinary Science of the University of Pretoria (UP). Vinny was awarded specialist status in Veterinary Pharmacology with the SAVC in 2008. He is currently a Professor in Veterinary Pharmacology within the Department of Paraclinical Sciences and Director of the University of Pretoria Biomedical Research Centre (UPBRC). He is also actively involved in the regulatory veterinary activities and holds the positions of: member of the Medicines Control Council (MCC) of South Africa; Chair of the veterinary clinical committee of the MCC; Technical advisor to the Registrar of Stock Remedies; Member of the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC); Chair of the Education Committee of the SAVC; and chair of the Medicines Committee of the South African Veterinary Association. 

Dr Marc-Alain Widdowson

I am a 20+ year experienced global public health professional with focus on infectious disease surveillance, epidemiology and control via vaccines. I have worked and lived in 5 countries in Europe, US, Africa and Latin America and developed a wide global network of public health collaborations. Much of my focus has been on surveillance, detection, transmission, burden and prevention of emerging or remerging threats, usually viral, and supporting in-country capacity by working with national partners to improve health security and conduct of policy-relevant science. This work has been wide ranging, including outbreak first response in Mexico for the H1N1 pandemic, in China for the H7N9 epidemic, but also planning and conducting vaccine trials and epidemiology studies in a variety field sites globally to better understand burden and prevention of infectious disease threats in different settings. I have managed large and expert groups of public health specialists and physicians and large annual budgets of more than 15 million USD, while visioning, constructing and directing complex public health scientific capacity-building programs. In my current position I am responsible for the management and direction of the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp supporting the interlinked aims to conduct research, educate scientists and build sustainable scientific capacity worldwide. I have published more than 260 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, the majority as collaborations with international partners.


Dr Veronique Dermauw

Veronique Dermauw is a scientific fellow (postdoc) at the Department of Biomedical Sciences (Unit of Veterinary Helminthology) of the Institute of Tropical Medicine.

She completed her PhD (IWT scholarship) and Master in Veterinary Science at Ghent University. After holding a postdoc position at KULeuven, she joined the team of professor Dorny at ITM in March 2015. During her PhD research, she has investigated trace element deficiencies in Ethiopian zebu (Bos indicus) cattle and their effect on veterinary and public health. More recently, her work focusses on zoonotic helminth and foodborne infections of veterinary and public health importance (e.g., taeniasis/cysticercosis, echinococcosis). She’s involved in the epidemiology, diagnostics and data management/analysis of several projects in the South (e.g. Burkina Faso, DR Congo, South Africa, Ethiopia, Vietnam).

She is a team member of the IUC-JU project of VLIR-UOS and has organized various workshops and information sessions during her missions abroad. She has supervised several students (MSc/PhD) during their thesis work and research. Veronique Dermauw has authored and co-authored several publications in international journals, has presented her work at international conferences and is a reviewer for various international journals. 

Her research interests include tropical (veterinary) medicine, public health, zoonoses and diagnostic methods.

Prof Mieke Stevens

Mieke Stevens graduated from Ghent University with a Doctoral Degree in Veterinary Sciences in 2012. She is an Education Coordinator for the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp with 4 years experience as an Education Coordinator. She is responsible for student’s admission, curriculum, counseling and guidance. Mieke has numerous publications in scientific journals. She was prompted to enter this profession because of her passion for teaching and helping students reach their goals. In the next 3-5 years, she would like to work further on the policy component and academic management. She feels the key to her success is due to being open minded, having a good network, and being creative. She feels her greatest professional accomplishment or achievement is the collaborative degree program she negotiated with a partner in South Africa. In her spare time, Mieke enjoys traveling.


Dr Leen Rigouts

Leen Rigouts graduated as a Master in Biological Science in 1987, and successfully completed a postgraduate course on Tropical Medicine (ITM) in 1988. In 1989 she joined the Unit of Mycobacteriology at ITM, and executed various studies on serological diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB), identification of mycobacteria by fatty-acid analyses, and molecular epidemiology of bovine and human TB. The latter was the subject of her PhD thesis defended in 2000. 

Since then she supervised and accomplished studies covering various aspects of human and bovine TB: 
Molecular epidemiology studies on reinfection versus reactivation, prevalence of multiple M. tuberculosis infections, and transmission rates among MDR and non-MDR TB

Drug-resistance studies on its prevalence and incidence various geographic regions, rapid detection of drug resistance by molecular tools, development of drug-resistance, resistance to second-line drugs, and alternative ways for TB treatment

Studies on the zoonotic aspect of bovine TB
Studies investigating social aspects of TB


Dr Wim Van Bortel 

Wim Van Bortel is a medical entomologist, PhD, with more than 25 years of experience in research on vectors and vector-borne diseases in Europe, Africa and Asia. He obtained his Master degree in Biology at the University of Antwerp Belgium in 1990 after which he specialised in Medical Entomology at the Institut Pasteur Paris. In 2002, he obtained his PhD at the University of Antwerp Belgium. From 2010 till 2016 he was Senior Expert vector-borne diseases at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control where he was Deputy Head of ECDC’s Emerging and Vector-borne Diseases Programme. Since 2017 he works at the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp (ITM) as senior Researcher in the Unit of Entomology and in the Outbreak Research Team. His research focuses on disentangling the role of arthropod vectors in transmission systems in order to improve vector-borne diseases prevention and control in a public health context. As member of the ITM outbreak Research team he aims to enhance the understanding of what drives the transmission and spread of outbreak-prone diseases, as well as to assess different outbreak prevention and control strategies.


Prof Marianne van der Sande

Marianne van der Sande is professor of Public Health Epidemiology at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp where she heads the Departement of Public Health. She is a medical epidemiologist, registered as Consultant Public Health (M&G), and since 2009 also works as part time associate professor at the Julius Centre. Before moving to Antwerp, she was the head of the department of Epidemiology and Surveillance of Infectious Diseases of the Dutch National Centre Infectious Disease Control at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). Previously, she worked as clinician in the Netherlands, Sudan, Uganda and Zambia and then obtained her MPH from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore USA. Next, she worked for nearly 10 years at the MRC Laboratories in The Gambia, first on the epidemiology of non-communicable diseases in sub-Sahara Africa (also the topic of her PhD), and later on the epidemiology of infectious diseases. She has been PI on a range of infectious disease research grants (eg on hepatitis B, hiv, mumps, influenza, hpv) and is currently active in several national and international infectious diseases organisations.


Prof Pierre Domy

I hold a DVM (1980) and PhD (1990) degree from Ghent University (UGent), Belgium and have followed a postgraduate course (1981) in tropical animal health and husbandry at the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM), Antwerp. I am a European Veterinary Specialist in Parasitology certified by the European Board of Veterinary Specialisation.

After working one year in private practice, I joined the faculty of Veterinary Medicine, UGent from 1983-1990 where I worked as a research assistant in the laboratory of Parasitology. My PhD research was on diagnosis and control of gastrointestinal nematodes on dairy cattle farms. I defended my thesis in April 1990. From 1990-93 I worked as a parasitologist in a university collaboration research project at ‘Universiti Pertanian Malaysia’ on the control of nematodes in small ruminants. In 1994 I worked as a parasitology consultant in a USAID project on sheep production in Sumatra, Indonesia. From the end of 1994 I joined both the ITM and UGent to continue research on animal parasites. In 2000 I was appointed lecturer of veterinary helminthology at ITM and as a guest professor (20%) of tropical veterinary medicine at the UGent. I was chairman of the Department of Animal Health, ITM from 2003-2011. I was appointed full professor at ITM in 2008. Besides my teaching assignments in veterinary helminthology, helminth zoonoses and tropical veterinary medicine at ITM and UGent, I am the head of a laboratory that conducts research on helminth zoonoses and helminth control in which several post-doc and PhD students work. My lab at ITM is National Reference Centre for diagnosis of trichinellosis and other parasite zoonoses.


Prof Jan Van Den Abbeele

Jan Van Den Abbeele graduated as a zoologist and obtained a PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of Antwerp in 2001.

During this period, he was trained as a parasitologist and insect molecular biologist at the Unit of Entomology at Institute of Tropical Medicine and at the Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology (Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium) where he studied different aspects of the development of the Trypanosoma 
brucei  parasite in the tsetse fly.

Currently, he is professor at ITM and head of the Unit of Veterinary Protozoology. He is also coordinator of the Group Protozoa of the BMS department and member of the ITM Policy Commission Education.   In November 2011, he was awarded with an ERC-Starting/Consolidator Grant with the project NANOSYM: 
Symbiotic bacteria as a delivery system for Nanobodies that target the insect-parasite interplay’.

Research activities of his group focus on African trypanosomiasis aiming to understand the molecular mechanisms and evolution of drug-resistance in animal African trypanosomes and the molecular dialogue between the parasite and  the host  (tsetse fly  as well as the mammalian host)  as key component in the pathogen transmission.

His lab is FAO-Reference Centre for Animal African Trypanosomiasis  – drug resistance and diagnosis.