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I am an all-round virologist and vaccinologist with extensive (~ 20 years) international experience in the pharmaceutical industry and academia and currently involved in various high priority vaccine projects within GSK. I already successfully transitioned several HIV-1, malaria, and thHBV vaccine candidates/biologicals from discovery, preclinical research up to proof-of-principle clinical studies. Previously, I acquired extensive experience in developing novel anti-viral (poliovirus, cocksackie virus enterovirus 71, HIV-1) and anti-bacterial (TB) agents. My intra- en entrepreneurial mindset, pro-activeness and problem solving capabilities were essential factors in me being successful in the positions I held before and still currently hold.
On top of my scientific career, I am currently involved as volunteer in different educational and social efforts. This is reflected by the role that I play as independent advisor in building virology research capacity at the University of Ghana, by acting as jobcoach for Vluchtelingen Werk Vlaanderen (NGO involved in providing help to refugees in Belgium) and by tutoring several kids with a migration background.

Specialties: vaccine design and development, viral immunology and molecular virology & biology
Work experience in academic as well as industry setting

Job expertise :
Drug discovery (biologicals and small molecules)
Preclinical (in vivo and in vitro pharmacology) expertise
Translational science with deep knowledge of clinical FTIH trials up to Phase 2b
Molecular Virology-Vaccinology-Viral immunology
External R&D and innovation

Assets/capabilities :

Strategic insights and vision
People management skills
Project management skills
Negotiating skills
Analytical skills
Social skills
Curiosity, passion, creativity and imagination
Knowledge of different languages (Dutch, French, English and Italian)


Current Experience

  • preclinical lab head

    Since November 2013
    Business Development
    • - Led successfully a very complex preclinical therapeutic vaccine program for HBV from
      discovery through preclinical assessment up to proof-of-principle clinical studies
      - Identified, led and (co-) managed successfully very large international preclinical and
      clinical collaborations/programs with principal investigators of world-renown HIV-1 and
      malaria research institutes (WRAIR, Harvard Medical School, Duke University, John Hop-
      kins University, Oxford University, NIH etc.)
      - Managed a large portfolio of vaccine programs with the largest non-profit private foun-
      dation (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and/or other industrial partners/big Pharma
      (Sanofi, Novartis and GSK Pharma) and biotech.
      - Identified, evaluated, selected and managed several external and internal disruptive trans-
      formative technologies to enhance our vaccine technology platform
      - Led successfully a team of scientists, associate scientists and technicians (9 people)
      for preclinical and clinical studies in the thHBV, HIV-1 and malaria vaccine field.
      - provided scientific leadership to several internal and external vaccine projects from re-
      search to life cycle stage
      - As preclinical leader I supported research and early projects by providing preclinical scientific expertise in terms of immunology, microbiology, preclinical models to eg project
      teams, Global Patents, Business development, Legal or clinical Dept.
      - I was responsible for allocating resources taking into account R&D priorities and constrains
      - Ensured successful scientific interactions with other groups within and outside Vaccine
      Discovery and Development Department.
      - Ensured timely delivery of high quality of immunological or microbiological data for Regulatory files and Governing bodies


Past Experience

  • senior scientist/Picornavirology Group Leader

    June 2013 --- October 2013
    Drug Discovery

  • Senior Scientist

    January 2012 --- January 2013

  • Research fellow

    July 2006 --- December 2011
    Clinical trials

  • research support specialist and PhD student

    January 2001 --- January 2006


Self Assessment :
Analytical thinkingAdaptabilityApproachabilityAttention to detailCollaborationCommunicativeCoordinationCreative thinkingCritical thinkingCuriosityEfficiencyFlexibilityIndependenceInnovative thinkingIndividualityInterest in knowledgeKindnessOptimismPerspectiveProactivityProblem solvingResult OrientedSelf-disciplineSociabilityStrategic thinkingWillingness to compromise


LinkedIn Assessment :
molecular biologyVirologyVaccinesImmunologypicornavirologyretrovirologyflavivirologyBiochemistryMonoclonal AntibodiesBioengineeringProtein Expressionprotein modelingCellIn VitroIn VivoDrug DiscoveryProtein chemistryELISAAssay developmentInfectious diseasesHigh Throughput ScreeningAntibodiesDNAFACSBiotechnologyCell biologyLifesciencesRT-PCRPCRFlow CytometryCell CultureAnimal ModelsProtein PurificationDrug DeliveryBiomarker DiscoveryTransfectionWestern BlottingBiomarkersImmunoassaysqPCRDrug DevelopmentTissue CultureImmunohistochemistryPurificationpharmacologyElispotSDS-PAGETranslational ResearchMolecular CloningRNA isolation

Skills and Expertise

Self Assessment :
Analytical skills Interpret data Receptor Pharmacology Technology research Use a confocal microscopy Write papers Write protocolsAttend steering committee Analyze dataAdvise on strategyAttend investigator meetingAttend seminars, courses and meetings within and outside the companyAttend seminarsbudgeting of R&D activitiescollaborate in research projects at universitiesCollaborate with medical teamCollaborate with PI and institution to respond to any audit findings and implement-approved recommendations.Communicate effectively on different company levelsCommunicate with investigatorCommunicate with sponsorCommunicationConduct literature searchesConduct research at universitiesCoordinate projectsCoordinate with the ethics commiteecoordinating research projectsCreates a collaborative team environmentDesign protocolsDesign scientific experimentsDesign scientific projects (in biology)Design studyDirect co-workersEstablish professional relationships with partnersEthics committee submissionsExecute scientific projectsFollow up projectsFollow up training programsGuide students


  • Certificate for Maitre d'experience (FELASA C level) in Biomedical Sciences from Utrecht University in 2015
  • Certificate Program (post-graduate study) in Clinical and Translational Science in Biomedical Sciences from Rockefeller University in 2012
  • PhD in Microbiology from Stony Brook University in 2006
  • Bachelor and Master's degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 2000
  • Bachelor's degree in Clinical Chemistry from Katholieke Hogeschool Leuven in 1995

Training and Certification

  • Business Development Foundations in 2018 Certification
  • Developing Executive Presence Certification
  • Leadership Fundamentals Certification


BrightOwl Assessment:
Self Assessment:
Full Proficiency
Elementary Proficiency

Work Preferences

  • Positions I am interested in:
    R&D Director Study director Associate Director - Head of Preclinical Immunology - Bacterial Vaccines Associate Director Clinical Operations Project Manager Scientific Officer Scientific Associate Scientific consultant Management Consultant Program Officer Director Pharmacology Preclinical Scientist Scientist Pharmacology Scientific Researcher scientific collaborator R&D Scientist Biomedical Scientist Principal Scientist scientific translator
  • Work From Home:
    Yes, 0 to 2 days per week
  • Work Regime:
    Permanent position :    100% FTE
    BrightOwl employee :    100% FTE
  • International:


    Expert has 31 publications (Will be avalible with full profile)

Area / Region

Leuven, Belgium


Driving License
  • Yes

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