Board of Directors & Management
Prof. Willy Verstraete - Managing Director
Willy Verstraete (1946) graduated in 1968 from the Gent University as bio-engineer. He followed a summer course on Soil Microbiology at the Pasteur Institute of Paris. In 1971, he obtained a PhD degree in the field of microbiology at the Cornell University, Ithaca (USA). Since 1971, he worked at the Gent University, first as assistant and since 1979 as professor and head of the Laboratory of Microbial Ecology and Technology (LabMET - Faculty of Bioscience Engineering). Since October 2011, he has become emeritus professor.
Willy Verstraete is an authority in the field of processes and applications of micro-organisms in soil, drinking water, waste, biofuel, water treatment and fermentation. The last years he has focused his research on the application of microbial processes in the circular economy. His research on microbial protein produced with recovered nutrients and CO2 is being cited more and more among researchers around the world.
Willy Verstraete is ranked in the list of Highly Cited Researchers since 2014, due to the fact that several of his papers belong to the top 1% most cited papers of his field . The whole of his scientific work totals at a h-index of 121 (Mendeley). The sum of his cited papers is more than 60 000 (August 2020).
W. Verstraete has been instrumental in the creation of several successful spin-offs, both in Belgium and abroad in the field of applied microbial ecology (environmental technology, health, food and feed).
Prof. Philippe Thonart - Director
Philippe Thonart (1949) is, in a way, a pre-incarnation of the recent association of the University of Liège (ULg) and the ex-University Faculty of Agronomic Sciences at Gembloux (FUSAGx), now Gembloux Agro-Biotech – University of Liège. In 1989, the ULg offered him the management of the Microbic Technology Service. At the time, this agricultural industry chemical engineer, with a degree from FUSAGx, already had available long experience in microbiology and industrial enzymology. From 1976 to 1989, he had progressively led the FUSAGx Bioindustries to specialise in the development of fermentation tanks (yeast, bacteria, lactic germs, etc.). He had also developed hundreds of micro-organism cultures for the world of industry. But Philippe Thonart could never resolve to leave the city of cutlers. He thus accepted the post of manager of the Walloon Industrial Biology Centre (CWBI), based at Sart Tilman. Since its creation the CWBI has specialised in industrial microbiology, creating numerous spin-offs producing micro-organisms for industrial use (THT SA, ARTECHNO SA). A part of CWBI’s activities is also directed towards developing countries, where it aims to encourage the promotion of agricultural products and putting household waste to good use through screening of micro-organisms and the process of fermenting. Philippe Thonart moreover presides over the Management Committee of the Mont-Saint-Guibert (Walloon Brabant) waste landfill site. He is one of the rare breed to hold the title of Professor at the University of Liège and at the FUSAGx.
Ir. Stijn Boeren - Director | Business Developer
(permanent representative Oxidaan bv)
Stijn Boeren (1978) is an experienced manager and consultant with a demonstrated history of working in different industries. Skilled with more than 15 years in Project & General Management, Business Development, Facility Management & Environmental Consulting. Graduated from KULeuven (Master of Science in Bioscience Engineering: Environmental Technology) and EHSAL Management School (Postgraduaat in Industrieel Ondernemingsbeleid).