Staff Members

CTMA Bruxelles Woluwe

Prof Jean-Luc Gala, MD, PhD

Jean-Luc Gala (MD, PhD, Col Rtd) is Full Professor at Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain) where he has taught molecular genetics, and Chief Resident (Chef de Clinique) in St-Luc Academic Hospital.  He is the founder and the chairman of the mixed military-academic technological platform CTMA/DLD-Bio (Center of Applied Molecular Technologies-UCLouvain/Defense Laboratories Department-Biological Threats-BEMOD), hosting joint military, academic and industrial R&D projects.  His work focuses on developing and validating innovative new DNA-based diagnostic and prognostic tools for genetic-based diseases and infectious diseases.

Marc Dillembourg

Marc Dillembourg is a Bachelor of Law (1998). He did his intership at LOVELL WHITE DURRANT, a British law firm. Graduated from a special 6-month course in Management & Business Administration (SOLVAY PME - 2004). He trained in QC & QM at EFMQ (2006).  He spent three years at the European Commission (DG INFSO, Future and Emerging Technologies unit) in charge of legal issues. He then had the opportunity to be appointed as Administrative Coordinator & Quality Coordinator at EFPME, a vocational training center (60 professions, 500 teachers & 5000 students) where he spent three years before becoming Administrative Coordinator at IMPACT COOREMANS (training, research & study centre offering postgraduate cycles & lifelong learning courses in company auditing, accounting, logistics, human resources management, international trade, etc...) again for three years. In March 2010, he joined CTMA’s mycology unit, which focuses on environmental fungi and developped production of freeze dried, gamma inactivated, fungal raw material for use in allergy research & treatment. Currently operational manager of the unit.

Jérôme Ambroise, Ir, PhD

Jérôme Ambroise received in 2006 his Master of Science in Chemical Engineering and in 2007 his Master of Advanced Studies in Statistics, Biostatistics and Epidemiology. He performed his Ph.D thesis of Engineering from 2007 to 2011 in theUCLouvain Institute of Information and Communication Technologies, Electronics and Applied Mathematics (ICTEAM) and in CTMA.  Since 2012, he has been working as a researcher logistician within IREC/CTMA and his research has been focusing on bioinformatics analysis of Next Generation Sequencing data in different applications including bacterial genomics, genomics, metagenomics (shotgun and targetted), and transcriptomic.


Mostafa Bentahir, PhD

Dr. Mostafa Bentahir has hold a Ph.D in biological sciences since Mai 2000. He joined afterwards much known academic research institutions in KULeuven and UGent where he managed several scientific research projects in the field of infectious diseases and contributed significantly in their success.
Within CTM/DLD-BIO infrastructure, Dr. Mostafa Bentahir is currently using his background and expertise acquired during the last ten years to generate bacterial and viral models mimicking biological warfare pathogens. These models are mandatory to study and simulate security break that could arise from intentional release of a biological warfare agent in the nature.

Bertrand Bearzatto, PhD

Bertrand Bearzatto obtained a PhD degree in Biomedical Sciences from the laboratory of neurophysiology of Professor Schiffmann at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. During his thesis he developed different population of transgenic mice to study of the role of calcium binding protein in cerebellar physiology.
Since January 2006 he has worked as a researcher logistician at the CTMA where he gained an extensive experience in sample processing of precious clinical tissue specimens for diagnostic. The aims of his research are the development of new diagnostic test based on high throughput molecular biology technologies (Microarrays and Next Generation Sequencing). Since 2014, Bertrand Bearzatto has developed and managed the next-generation sequencing platform at CTMA.  Since September 2020 he has also been involved in the implementation of the federal diagnostic platform COVID-19 within the CTMA.

Maxime Bonjean

Maxime Bonjean graduated in civil engineering in biomedical from UCLouvain (2021). He did a 3-month internship in bioinformatics at the CTMA. He wrote a master thesis on the "use of supervised classification and pattern matching tools for the chromosomal and plasmid discrimination of bacterial DNA sequences". He is currently working at the CTMA on the PANDEM2 project.


Nawfal Chibani

Nawfal graduated in 2012 in medical biology at the High School Francisco Ferrer. He started working in routine laboratory in microbiology, hematology and hemostasis. Then he performed a FOREM formation in biotechnology at the GIGA tower. Immediately after, he worked for five years at St-Luc Academic Hospital in the hepatocyte bank’s clean rooms.  In 2020 he joined CTMA where he is working as a lab technician.

Dennys Cruz-Mitjans

Graduated in 2013 from ESBU Antonio Guiteras (Cuba).  Then he served in the Cuban army. In October 2015 he became a member of the technical staff of the CTMA's mycology unit.  He is currently
Preparing culture media, cleaning labware, helping with the plowing & harvesting of environmental Fungi.

Olga Cruz-Mitjans

Olga Maria Cruz-Mitjans graduate in Cuba as a laboratory technician.  She worked there as a laboratory technician for the Ministry of Public Health until she moved in 2002 to Belgium. She spent three years at Johnson Mattey (preparing metal based catalyst solutions used in the automotive industry to control harmful emissions - preparation of controls & standards, pH-metry, densitometry, etc...). In 2009 she underwent additional training in biotechnologies (cell culture, agarose gel analysis, blood analysis, chemical & serological analysis). She joined CTMA’s mycology unit shortly after and received training in environmental fungi. She received training in protein extraction and dosage in 2015.

Christelle Demaret

Christelle Demaret graduated in translation from the Institut Cooremans where she studied English and Russian.
After having worked for Digital Equipment from 1988 to 1990 she joined Erasme Hospital in 1990 and a few years later the Université Libre de Bruxelles where she was the director’s personal assistant in the Institute for Medical Immunology in Charleroi. She joined the Université catholique de Louvain and the Center for Applied Molecular Technologies as management assistant in 2014.


Jean-François Durant

Jean-Francois Durant is a molecular biologist (Masters in Biomedical Experimental Sciences, Specialization in Medical and Veterinary Mycology), with a 20-year experience in the development and validation of methods for rapid medical diagnostics. His experience covers the fields of molecular techniques (PCR, real-time PCR, cloning, sequencing, pyrosequencing and NGS), scientific writing, teaching and training post-graduates. He is the author and co-author of forteen publications in medical and environmental microbiology journals. He is currently a researcher in CTMA where he is in charge of projects aiming at (1) the molecular detection and identification of bacteria, fungi, helminths involved in human and animal diseases; (2) the establishment and the continuous improvement of a light fieldable laboratory and (3) the daily management of a service activities dedicated to the design of qPCR assays.

Julie Hurel , Mc, PhD

Julie HUREL obtained in 2016 a master degree in Physiology, Biotechnology and Bioinformatics at University of Poitiers (France). From 2017 to 2020 she carried out her PhD thesis of Bioinformatics at University of Rennes 1 (France) in the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES), Ploufragan (France). Her research project led to the development of tools for detecting unknown genetically modified pure bacteria by statistical analysis of high-throughput sequencing data. Since 2021, she has been working as postdoctoral researcher in CTMA focused on bioinformatics analysis of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) data.


Axelle Loriot

Axelle Loriot holds a PhD in Biomedical Sciences since 2005. She has then been working for many years as a researcher in the field of cancer epigenetics at the de Duve Institute (UCLouvain), in the laboratory of Professor Charles De Smet. In 2016 she began to train in bioinformatics, a new field she was particularly interested in. In 2018, She joined the CBIO lab (Computational Biology and Bioinformatics) headed by Professor Laurent Gatto. She is involved in the development of a Bioinformatics service platform, aiming to offer technical and methodological bioinformatics support to the scientific community at the UCLouvain. Since October 2021, she is also member of the CTMA group, working on the PANDEM project.

Anandi Martin, PhD

Anandi Martin received her Master of Science in 1992 from the University of Liège (ULg). She then gained international experience through “Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and other international organizations.  She worked on various aspects of tuberculosis (TB) diagnostics in the field.  In 2000 she joined the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp and specialized in Mycobacteriology and TB research. Her TB research activities have been conducted in many countries in Latin America, in Africa, in Asia and in Europe, including high burden settings in Russia. Additionally she provided technical support to several TB endemic countries as an expert for WHO. She obtained her PhD degree in Sciences from the laboratory of Microbiology at Gent University (UGent) in 2006 and continued to work as a senior researcher until 2011. In 2012 she was post-doc at UGent and in 2016 she joined the UCLouvain as an operational manager at the laboratory of medical microbiology. In 2020 she joined the CTMA as an “invited researcher” of Syngulon a synthetic biology “start-up in the labs” developing genetic technologies using bacteriocins. She mainly focuses on the exploration of the use of bacteriocins in the fight against Mycobacterium and Vibrio cholerae infections as a new alternative to antibiotics to find new treatment for infectious disease.

Omar Nyabi, PhD

Omar obtained his PhD at KULeuven in Alzheimer’s disease field. Then, as a postdoc, he enhanced his skills in transgenic mice generation in UGent. Afterwards, he moved to the beta cell therapy center in Diabetes at VUB.
Last but not least, he worked as a project manager in the laboratory of pediatric hepatology and cell therapy at UClouvain. Then smoothly sailed from academia to industry after flipping the mind-set.
Nowadays, Omar joined in CTMA where a myriad of cutting edge projects are running to add value to team efforts.

Benjamin Smits

Benjamin Smits graduated as a laboratory technician Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Pathology. at Institute Paul Lambin.  Since late 2014 he has been working at CTMA as a lab technician on diverse research projects aiming at the development of Lateral Flow Immunoassays for food safety (detection of allergens and toxins) or the detection of Arbobiruses. 
Moreover, Benjamin is also part of the B-Life Team, leading and operating a light fieldable laboratory which was deployed in Guinea for three months during the last Ebola outbreak in West Africa.  He also took part to the last deployment of the lab in Torino (Italy) in 2020 as a response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

Aleksandr Vybornov, Ir

Alexander Vybornov, Ir, M.Sci, is an Engineer in Telecommunications. Since 2017 Alexander Vybornov has joined CTMA as an expert in telecommunication systems for the projet B-Life - Biological Light Fieldable Laboratory for Emergencies - Phase II/Demonstration Phase/ESA IAP/ARTES20.
In 1997 he graduated from Moscow Technical University of Communications and Informatics with a Master of Sciences degree in Radioengineering.
His main professional interests are mobile radio and wireless access networks design, optimization of the designed and existing communication networks, digital communication systems (PMR systems, cellular networks, microwave systems).
During the past twenty years of leading engineering teams Alexander Vybornov gained versatile experience of teamwork on development projects and good communication skills dealing with colleagues and partners at all levels.  His working leadership experience helped him to develop abilities to negotiate and find agreement in conflict situations as well as to forsee and possibly to prevent difficulties between project partners.
The excellent technical background combind with a solid very practical work experience provides Alexander Vybornov with a "helicopter view" enabling him to design and develop advanced innovative engineering solutions.  The latter allows to optimize financial performance and to limit time expenses of potential end-users/stakeholders while carrying out complete technical maintenance of developed assets.  The high qualification of Alexander Vybornov allows him to solve complex technical problems efficiently and in the shortest possible time.  He was trained in the centres of training of the leading global manufacturers (e.g. Rohill and Nokia).  Alexander Vybornov hld both technician as well as high management positions.  His functional responsabilities included the organization of business processes within the unit, establishing relationships with neighbouring units and other parts of the company.  In his daily activities and in addition to his capacity to lead in-depth analysis and to find solutions to technical problems faced by the unit, he also had to pay attention to the economic aspects of the activities and make them profitable.

Olga Vybornova, PhD

Olga Vybornova, PhD, is a senior researcher at CTMA since 2012. With the PhD degree in computational semantics obtained in 2002, and the background in artificial intelligence and knowledge engineering her main research interests are in the field of ICT for crisis management and security applications, development of domain models (ontologies), definition and representation of data flows and semantic interoperability between system components, multi-source multi-format data integration, decision making support.  She is responsible for research , coordination and management of H2020 SEC-21.GM-2016-2017 project eNOTICE - European Network of CBRN Training Centres, and research in innovation management practices and support for security end-users.


Pierre Vandenberghe, PhD

Pierre obtained in June 2019 a PhD in Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences (ULB). His research project focused on finding new therapeutic targets for the treatment of unresectable or therapy resistant gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) using in vivo and in vitro approaches. His findings led to the initiation of a Phase I clinical study in collaboration with the Erasmus Hospital. In June 2020, he joined the B-Life team for a one-month mission in Torino (Italy).  He is now working as a research assistant providing scientific support for various projects.