PhD in Biotechnology
Ghent University – Faculty of Sciences, Lab of Genetics (present VIB- Dept Plant Systems Biology)
Thesis dissertation: January 10, 2002
Promotor: Prof. dr. Marc Zabeau
Title PhD thesis: “Monitoring cell cycle modulated gene expression in plants by means of a whole-genome-based approach”.
PhD Training Course in Biotechnology
Ghent University – Faculty of Sciences, June 2001
Teachers Degree in Agricultural and Applied Biological Sciences
Ghent University – Faculty of Bioscience Engineering
Diploma achieved with “Cum laude”, September 1997
Engineer in Applied Biological Sciences, option Biotechnology
Ghent University – Faculty of Bioscience Engineering
Qualification of “Candidate Bio-engineer” achieved with “Cum laude”, July 1993
Qualification of “Bio-engineer” achieved with “Cum laude”, July 1996
Promotor graduate thesis: Prof. dr. Godelieve Gheysen
February 2010 – Present
Senior Study Manager / Senior Scientist
Bayer CropScience N.V., Seed & Trait Safety (STSa), Zwijnaarde, Belgium. STSa is the global expert function body within R&D for the safety assessment of developed traits and GM seeds with sites in Zwijnaarde (Belgium) and Morrisville, RTP (USA). Within this department, I function as a Study Manager/Senior Scientist and was promoted to a senior level in 2015.
To perform regulatory studies, Bayer CropScience STSa Zwijnaarde works within a OECD Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) environment. Within this GLP facility, my function is Study Director.
Responsibilities and areas of expertise
Management of assigned studies within a project regulatory package to meet agreed time lines. Experience in internal and external resource planning and budget preparation.
Responsible for communication with internal stakeholders and representing STSa activities in global communities (project teams, scientific standing teams and multidisciplinary workstreams). Expert in regulatory requirements to assist internal clients with interpretation and mitigation strategies. Preparing of scientific and position papers and policy documents.
Full responsibility for the direction and execution of molecular and protein characterization studies for regulatory purposes. Functional management of 3-5 technicians.
Responsible for consistency and efficiency across projects, by responding rapidly to existing and emerging regulatory changes. Active participation in the GLP facility by implementing novel experimental setups, validation of methods and reviewing of SOPs.
Responsible for the coaching of junior study directors and scientists.
Strongly developed leadership, organizational, communication and coaching skills
Experienced in scientific report writing
Experienced in decision-making. Advanced troubleshooting skills
Capable of maintaining competitive time lines and working under stress
Successful in collaborations involving people from different cultural backgrounds
Experienced in DNA sequencing and expression analysis, Southern and northern blot, bio-informatics, characterization of recombinantly-produced and plant-purified protein.
Regulatory validations of DNA-based detection assays
Hands-on experience in validation of plate-based protein characterization techniques e.g. enzymatic assays, concentration determinations. Experience in validation of tailor-made ELISA assays.
October 2002 – January 2010
Senior researcher apple functional genomics
Better3Fruit N.V. / Lab for Fruit Breeding and Biotechnology, KULeuven, Belgium
Supervision and execution of research projects focusing on applied molecular research in apple
Period May 2004 - April 2006 was funded by a personal IWT-Research Fellowship type III (IWT/OZM/040288).
Areas of expertise
Development of PCR-based gene-specific molecular marker assays for breeding purposes, genetic diversity studies and phenotype/genotype associations studies
Transgenic technology in apple to study self-fertility by S-RNase gene silencing
Transcriptional expression during fruit set, maturation and ripening
Experienced in negotiating, planning, budgeting, coordinating and performing experiments for scientific projects and contract research. Experience in managing research projects involving different industrial and academic partners
Responsible for the introduction of new molecular biological techniques and related equipment in the laboratory
Leading a team of lab technicians and graduate/PhD students
Experienced in writing of projects and communication of scientific results
Networking skills both with internal and external stakeholders and partners
Statistic analysis of research data, use of bio-informatics tools, gene marker technologies, genetic mapping, sequencing and sequence analysis, qRT-PCR, apple breeding strategies, genetic engineering
October 1996 - January 2002
Lab of Genetics (present VIB- Dept Plant Systems Biology), Ghent University, Gent, Belgium
Partially funded by a personal IWT Pre-doctoral fellowship (1996-2000)
Areas of expertise
Molecular aspects of plant-pathogen interactions (Rhodococcus fascians – Arabidopsis thaliana)
Optimizing of the cDNA-AFLP technique for “whole-genome” transcript profiling studies
Study of transcriptional expression during cell division in tobacco BY2 cells
Molecular-biological techniques: RNA and DNA characterization techniques, (RT)-PCR, cloning, gel electrophoresis technologies, cDNA-AFLP technology
Complex result interpretation and troubleshooting skills
Scientific and Professional curriculum
Scientific publications in international peer-reviewed journals
Van de Poel, B., Bulens, I., Markoula, A., Hertog, M., Dreesen, R., Wirtz, M., Vandoninck, S., Oppermann, Y., Keulemans, W., Hell, R., Waelkens, E., De Proft, M.P., Sauter, M., Nicolai, B.M., and Geeraerd, A. (2012) Targeted systems biology profiling of tomato fruit reveals coordination of the Yang cycle and a distinct regulation of ethylene biosynthesis during post-climacteric ripening. Plant Physiology 160, 1498-1514
Daniëls, B., De Landtsheer, A., Dreesen, R., Davey, M.W., and Keulemans, J. (2012) Real-time PCR as a promising tool to monitor growth of Venturia spp. In scab-susceptible and –resistant apple leaves. European Journal of Plant Pathology 134, 821-833
Dreesen, R., Davey, M. W. and Keulemans, J. (2012) Genetic engineering of the self-incompatibility mechanism in “Elstar” apple leads to distinct levels of self-fertility. ISHS Acta Horticulturae 967, 157-166
Dreesen, R., Davey, M. W., Peeters, K., N.-J. Van der Veken and Keulemans, J. (2012) Development and Mapping of Molecular Markers for Candidate Genes Involved in Apple Fruit Texture. ISHS Acta Horticulturae 934, 829-835
Dreesen, R., Keulemans, W., Prinsen, E., Denruyter, L., Gomand, A. and Vercammen, J. (2012) A Multidisciplinary Approach to Study the Influence of Pollination and Plant Growth Regulators on Fruit Set and Early Fruit Development in Apple. ISHS Acta Horticulturae 932, 91-99
Dreesen, R.S.G., Vanholme, B.T.M., Luyten, K., Van Wynsberghe, L., Fazio, G., Roldán-Ruiz, I., and Keulemans, J. (2010) Analysis of Malus S-RNase gene diversity based on a comparative study of old and modern apple cultivars (Malus x domestica) and European wild apple (Malus sylvestris). Molecular Breeding, 26, 693-709
Dreesen, R., Prinsen, E., Vercammen, J., Denruyter, L., Gomand, A., and Keulemans, J. (2009) Fruit set regulating genes are differently expressed after cross pollination, self pollination and treatment with plant growth regulators in Malus x domestica cv. Jonagold. ISHS Acta Horticulturae 839, 707-716
Dreesen, R. and Keulemans J. (2007). Monitoring differential expression during fruit maturation, ripening and storage as an identification tool for gene candidates for superior apple fruit quality. ISHS Acta Horticulturae, 738, 293-300
Breyne, P., Dreesen, R., Cannoot, B., Rombaut, D., Vandepoele, K., Rombauts, S., and Zabeau, M. (2003). Quantitative cDNA-AFLP analysis for genome-wide expression studies. Molecular Genetics and Genomics, 269, 173-179
Dreesen, R.*, Breyne, P.*, Vandepoele, K., De Veylder, L., Van Breusegem F., Callewaert L., Rombauts S., Raes J., Cannoot, B., Engler G., Inzé D., and Zabeau M. (2002). Functional analysis of the transcriptome during cell division in plants. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99, 14825-14830 * both authors contributed equally to this publication
Temmerman, W., Vereecke, D., Dreesen, R., Van Montagu, M., Holsters, M., and Goethals, K. (2000). Leafy gall formation is controlled by FasR, an AraC-type regulatory gene in Rhodococcus fascians. Journal of Bacteriology 182, 5832-5840
Goethals, K., Vereecke, D., Ritsema, T., Temmerman, W., Maes, T., Cornelis, K., Dreesen, R., Cnudde, F., de Oliveira-Manes, C.-L., and Van Montagu, M. (1999). Rhodococcus fascians and its interaction with plants. Biology of plant-microbe interactions, volume 2. De Wit P.G.M., Bisseling T., and Stiekema W.J. eds., p309-313.
Oral presentations on International Scientific Congresses
August 2010 - IHC 2010, Lisbon, Portugal
Dreesen, R., Davey, M. W. Peeters, K., N.-J. Van der Veken and Keulemans, J. (2012) Development and Mapping of Molecular Markers for Candidate Genes Involved in Apple Fruit Texture.
September 2008 - Biotechfruit 2008, Dresden, Germany
“Differential expression of fruit set regulating genes after cross pollination, self pollination and treatment with plant growth regulators in apple”
November 2006 -KULeuven mini-symposium “Functional Biodiversity”
“Functional Biodiversity and Genetics in Apple”
March 2006 - 3rd International Rosaceae Genomics Conference, Napier, New-Zealand
“Transcriptomics of ripening in apple as a tool to improve apple quality traits”
October 2005 - ISHS International Meeting on Biotechnology for Temperate Fruit Crops and Tropical Species, Daytona Beach, US
“Monitoring differential expression during fruit maturation, ripening and storage as an identification tool for gene candidates for superior apple fruit quality”
November 2004 - Workshop DWTC (PODOII)-Project “Studie van de Biodiversiteit van appel: Behoud en Duurzaam gebruik van genetische Bronnen”, Brussels, Belgium
“Studie van functionele biodiversiteit in appel”
January 2001, PAG-IX meeting, San Diego, US
Co-author (equal contribution) oral presentation
Breyne, P., Dreesen, R., Callewaert, L., Cannoot, B., Rombaut, D., and Zabeau, M. - “Expression profiling of cell cycle modulated genes in tobacco BY-2 using cDNA-AFLP”
March 2001 - VIB-Seminar, Blankenberge, Belgium
“Use of cDNA-AFLP to monitor cell cycle gene expression in tobacco BY-2 cells”
July 2000 – 6th IS-PMB, Quebec, Canada
Co-author (equal contribution) oral presentation
Breyne, P., Dreesen, R., Cannoot, B., Rombaut, D., and Zabeau, M. - “AFLP-based genome-wide expression analysis of tobacco BY2 cell cycle modulated genes”
February 1999 - VIB-Seminar, Mol, Belgium
“cDNA-AFLP as a tool to study genes involved in the interaction between Arabidopsis thaliana and the fytopathogen Rhodoccus fascians”
June 1998 - FWO-Onderzoeksgemeenschap Plant-Microbe Interactions, Bilzen, Belgium
“Discovery of genes involved in the interaction between Arabidopsis thaliana and Rhodoccus fascians by means of the cDNA-AFLP-technique”
Attended International Workshops and Courses
Resilience in Change Management, May 2016, Bedburg, Germany. Internal Bayer CropScience Project Management Excellence training program
Soy and Cotton Breeding Course, August 2015, Memphis, USA. Internal Bayer CropScience Academy training program
US Legal Environment training. September 2014, Gent, Belgium. Internal Bayer CropScience training.
Protein Mass Spectrometry Technologies, September 2014, Gent, Belgium. Training by Dr. Koen Sandra (RIC Kortrijk).
Decision Making workshop, September 2013, Lyon, France. Internal Bayer CropScience training.
Project Management, May 2013, Lyon, France. Internal Bayer CropScience Academy training program.
Basics of GAMP 5 (Good Automated Manufacturing Practice - Risk-based approach of compliant GxP computerized systems). Internal training Bayer CropScience, January 2013.
Situational leadership II, February 2011, Gent, Belgium. Training by Mailleux & Associates.
Workshop “The making of a fruit: from genes to molecules to phenotype”, March 2004, Centro Juan March, Madrid, Spain
Experienced in using MS-Office and MS-Outlook. Daily use of the Sharepoint team collaboration software and Lync Professional for global meetings and presentations.
Experienced in using application software for budgeting and planning, statistics, bio-informatics, genetic analyses, expression research.
Speaking Writing Reading
Dutch mother tongue mother tongue mother tongue
English fluent fluent fluent
French good good very good
Spanish basic knowledge basic knowledge basic knowledge
Hobbies en Interests
Going to theatre, dance and music
Staying up-to-date on politics and actuality
Drawing and painting
Cooking and organizing parties with friends and family
Quizzing with a team
Senior Study Manager / Senior Protein & Product Characterization Scientist Ghent, Belgium
Since July 2015
As a Study Manager/Protein and Product Characterization Scientist, I work at the R&D Department of "Seed and Trait Safety" (STSa), which harbours the expert functions within the evaluation of the safety and registrability profile of Bayer CropScience's GMO Seeds and Traits. STSa is a global department, which works in very close interaction on the different studies which constitute a given regulator data package. STSa Gent specifically works on the molecular characterization at DNA, RNA and protein level under GLP accreditation. Moreover, the facility is responsible for the protein production and certification of all internal end users within Bayer CropScience. My tasks comprise the following: Scientific responsability for assigned studies as a GLP Study Director leading teams of 3-5 people. All-round senior specialist for the portfolio of regulatory studies among which DNA studies (Southern blot, Sanger sequencing, transcriptional expression by RT-PCR and Northern blot) and protein production and certification, purification and characterization of plant-produced proteins and regulatory DNA detection tools. Management of given regulatory projects to set time lines, budgets, develop mitigation strategies and keep close communication with our internal customer (Regulatory Affairs) and stakeholders (eg toxicology dept), Senior expert function to discuss and design studies for specific regulatory needs together with the different global STSa teams. Representative for STSa interacting with different Bayer CropScience departments to provide expertise on registrability of candidate elite events/traits. Writing of position papers and scientific publications to support Bayer CropScience's regulatory strategy for different accepting authorities.
Study Manager / Protein & Product Characterization Scientist
February 2010 --- June 2015
As a Study Manager/Protein and Product Characterization Scientist, I worked at the R&D Department of "Seed and Trait Safety" (STSa), which harbours the expert functions within the evaluation of the safety and registrability profile of Bayer CropScience's GMO Seeds and Traits. STSa is a global department, which works in very close interaction on the different studies which constitute a given regulator data package. STSa Gent specifically works on the molecular characterization at DNA, RNA and protein level under GLP accreditation. Moreover, the facility is responsible for the protein production and certification of all internal end users within Bayer CropScience. My tasks included the following: scientific responsability for assigned studies as a GLP Study Director, responsability for given projects to set time lines and budgets and keep close communication with our internal customer (Regulatory Affairs), junior expert function to design studies for specific regulatory needs, setup and validation of molecular methods and experimental under GLP accreditation. Overall expertise in DNA studies (Southern blot, Sanger sequencing, transcriptional expression by RT-PCR and Northern blot) and protein production and certification.
May 2003 --- January 2010
In my position as a senior scientist, I was leading several projects related to transcriptomics and gene-specific marker development in apple fruit research. Line reports (approx 3-4 people) included graduate/PhD students and lab technicians. The majority of the projects were funded by IWT-Flanders which involved close interactions with the different research partners, among which ILVO, Pcfruit and the Universities of Antwerp and Hasselt. A close collaboration was maintained with Better3Fruit. Research subjects included the following: genetic map development, transcriptomics and marker development of apple fruit quality/ripening, transcriptomics of fruit development in relation to hormonal applications in horticultural practice, genetic diversity of the S-locus in cultivated and wild apple.
January 2002 --- January 2003
Better3Fruit is an apple breeding company, which has originated from the Research at the Fruitteeltcentrum (KULeuven). I started working as a freshly graduated PhD on a project which characterized GM self-compatible Elstar apple trees. I was fully responsible for the molecular part of the work to characterize a set of transgenic lines, including expression analysis of the SI-locus and genomic organization by means of Southern blot . The aim was to work with a test setup in the field. However, this was not granted by the Flemish Government, which was heavily opposed to this type of GM crops. This decision blocked the project. Consequently, the company R&D strategy switched to focus competely on classical breeding. For my carreer, this implied a position switch from the spin-off company to the University (see: "Senior Scientist KULeuven"), where I started working on the development of molecular markers for fruit quality and the transcriptomics of fruit development. This research remained very closely associated to Better3Fruit.
Junior Scientist - PhD Student
January 1996 --- January 2002
My PhD research was funded by a grant from IWT Flanders, the Flemish Government agency for Innovation by Science and Technology. The first part of the research was focused on the study of the interaction between the phytopathogen Rhodococcus fascians and it's host plant, in which the (at the time novel) cDNA-AFLP technique was applied. This technique enabled the visualization of transcriptional expression patterns (cfr micro-array technology). In a second part of the research, the cDNA-AFLP technique was further optimized and applied to the plant cell cycle. The research led to a PhD dissertation named " Monitoring cell cycle modulated gene expression in plants by means of a whole genome based approach" and some publications in top journals.
CommunicativeCritical thinkingEfficiencyFlexibilityProblem solvingAttention to detailOrganizationResiliencyResult OrientedStrategic thinking
Negotiation R&D21 CFR Part 11BiotechnologyBudgetingCharacterizationCompliance with regulationsDNAGeneticsGrant WritingGood Laboratory Practice (GLP)LeadershipmanagementMicrosoft OfficeMitigationOutsourcingPCRpeople managementPosition PaperPresentation SkillsProblem-solving methods and troubleshooting
Skills and Expertise
Create SOPs Analyze data Develop protocols Guide students Interpret data Molecular Diagnostics Report data Technology research Write papers Write protocolsAdjust methodsAct as the main line of communication between the sponsor and the investigatorAnalyze proteinbudgeting of R&D activitiesCoachcollaborate in research projects at universitiesCollaborate with principal investigatorCollaborate with project teamCommunicate effectively on different company levelsConduct limited data and/or statistical analysis.Conduct literature searches.Conduct research at universitiesConduct studiesDesign scientific experimentsDevelop study timelinesDevelop study budgetDirect co-workers to achieve resultExecute scientific projectsInteract with CROsLead studiesLead teamsMaintain strong relationshipsManage budgetsManage complexityManage projects resourcesManage multiple projectsmanaging a small teamManuscript preparation and reviewNetworkObtain grantsOral presentationpcrPeople managementPlan experimentsPrepare final reportPresent data at congressproject managementR&DReview study protocolsSolve problemsWrite documents
Ph.D. in Plant Molecular Biology from Gent University in 2002
Master’s Degree in Teachers degree in Applied Biological Sciences from Ghent University in 1997
Engineer’s Degree in Bio-engineering, option Biotechnology from Universiteit Gent in 1996
High School in Latin - Mathematics - Science from Sint-Hubertuscollege, Neerpelt in 1991