In 2014, Stijn Deborggraeve was appointed tenure-track professor and head of the Unit of Diagnostic Bacteriology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. This new unit conducts research on the development and lab validation of innovative diagnostic tests for bacterial diseases, with a primary focus on tropical settings. Bacterial infections and antibiotic resistance are on the rise and pose an emergent threat for public health worldwide. The Unit of Diagnostic Bacteriology investigates multiple layers of bacteria biology (genome, transcriptome and proteome) to develop new and better tests for the diagnosis of bacterial diseases and the detection of antibiotic resistance. The unit interacts closely with clinical and industrial partners for successful translation of their research output into user-friendly diagnostic test formats.
Koen Peeters Grietens was appointed tenure-track professor and head of the Unit of Medical Anthropology in the Department of Public Health. The newly created unit investigates how sociocultural factors influence infectious disease transmission dynamics, community perceptions of health and illness, and how they impact the effectiveness of disease prevention, control and elimination strategies. The unit devotes specific attention to antibiotic resistance and the use of medicines, reproductive health, malaria and methodological strengthening (namely through interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research).
The appointments of both Prof. Deborggraeve and Prof. Peeters Grietens were made possible by the generous financial support of the InBev-Baillet Latour Fund.
Kevin Ariën was appointed tenure-track professor and head of the Unit of Virology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. He has expanded his research from HIV replicative fitness, transmission and biomedical prevention strategies to arthropod-borne viruses. During the 2014 Ebola outbreak, his team co-coordinated Ebola virus diagnostics in Belgium together with the Central Laboratory of Clinical Biology. His current research focuses on new diagnostics for tropical viral infections (including Ebola), the molecular interactome of the Chikungunya virus and the discovery of new antivirals.