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 (UCL) 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.

Major Steven Verberckmoes, Ir

Steven Verberckmoes received his MSc in Bioscience Engineering in 2002 and his postgraduate in Management and Communication in 2003. He joined the Belgian Army that same year. As a staff officer, he was responsible for the lifecycle management of a wide portfolio of equipment, ranging from food to capital goods for the medical branch. He became later project officer for several large turnkey medico/military infrastructure projects and logistics manager at the Royal Military Hospital Queen Astrid. Steven joined CTMA in 2015.  He is the father of twin boys.

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.

Jamal Badir

Jamal Badir's work focuses on research methods in molecular biology.

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.

Michèle Bouyer

Michèle Bouyer received her Bachelor in 1986. She has worked  since 1987 as a technician for Defense Laboratories (DLD).
Until 1996, she worked in the Toxicology Laboratory where she performed animal cell cultures, biochemical and toxicity tests.
She joined the CTMA in1996.  Her work focuses on detection and identification of pathogens micro-organisms using molecular methods and characterization of antimicrobal resistance.

Antoine Cartier

antoine cartierAntoine Cartier graduated in 2017 in agro-industry and biotechnology. After working for a short-time as a production technician he has been working since September 2018 as a technical expert for the Defense Laboratories (DLD).

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.

Second Lieutenant Lina De Borger, MSc

Lina De Borger received her MSc in Biology (Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences) in June 2019 at VUB. She performed her master thesis at Follicle Biology (VUB) and Centre for Reproductive Medicine (UZ Brussel) focusing on in vitro maturation and vitrification of human oocytes, which are important applications for oncofertility preservation. She mainly developed skills in cellular biology and microbiology. Since September 2019 she has joined the Belgian Army and has worked at CTMA/DLD-Bio.

Cathy Delcorps

Cathy Delcorps received her bachelor in clinical chemistry in 1998.  She has worked since 1998 as a lab technician at CTMA, first from 1998 to 2009 as an IREC employee and since 2009 as a Royal Military Academy of Belgium employee.  Her work is focusing on the detection of pathogens by molecular biology technics.

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.


Philippe de Sany

Philippe de Sany completed a bachelor degree in Medical Biology (2007-2010).  Then he worked four years as a lab technician for the HIV Laboratory Center (UCLouvain) and five years as responsible for the Yersinia sector in the Pole of Medical Microbiology (UCLouvain). During the same time, he worked with the Top school Léonard de Vinci as an external professor (2014-2019). From 2019 to 2020, he worked for a DNA vaccine spin-off mainly for in-vivo experiences. He joined the Belgian Defense in 2020 and since 2021 he has worked for CTMA/DLD-Bio as a lab technician.


Catherine Dumont

Catherine Dumont received in 2006 her MSc in Biology Sciences (Molecular, cellular and human biology).  Since 2007 she has worked as a researcher at the CTMA through a military funding and her work is focusing on assays development for the detection and/or identification of bacterial and viral pathogens mostly by molecular technologies.  She is also involved in the “Ligh Fieldable Laboratory” project and she was a member of the B-Fast/B-Life Team for the strike against Ebola in Guinea.

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.

Second Lieutenant Gilles Fastré, MSc. Ing.

Gilles Fastré completed a bachelor degree in biotechnology (2007-2010) followed by a master degree in sciences of industrial engineering in biochemistry (2010-2013). After having worked one year as a  researcher for Procter and Gamble and six month as a teacher in chemistry/biology, he joined in 2015 the Belgian Defense. He completed first a non-commissioned officer formation (2015-2016) then an Air Traffic Controller formation in the Royal Military Academy (2016-2017) and finally a formation of CBRNe specialist at the Military Engineering School (2017-2018). He joined the CTMA/DLD-Bio in 2018 and has been since October 2019 a technical manager for the DLD-Bio. He is a member of the Federal Orientation Laboratory, of B-FAST and a licensed member of the Belgian SIBCRA team.  His work mainly focuses on the adaptation of identification and detection protocols for the operational activities.


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.


Léonid Irenge Mwana Wa Bene, MD, MSc, PhD

Leonid Irenge is a scientist with extensive experience in medical, biological and microbiology research, gained from a background in Medicine (Medical Doctor) and Biological Sciences (Master in Biomedical Sciences, PhD in Biomedical Sciences). He has experience in management of outbreaks of infectious diseases (Ebola Virus Disease, cholera and monkeypox).
Since 2003 he has been a senior researcher at CTMA/DLD-Bio where he has coordinated research on harmful biological His main research fields include development of methods for rapid identification of biological agents in whatever samples, antimicrobial resistance and characterization of waterborne pathogens.

Oumaïma Lakcher

Oumaïma Lakcher received in 2011 her master Bioengineer in Agricultural Sciences and in 2014 an advanced master in Biotechnology and Applied Biology. After filling short-term functions as a laboratory technician, she has been working since 2017 as a technical expert for Defense Laboratories (DLD). Her work focuses on assays development for the detection and/or identification of bacterial and viral pathogens by molecular technologies.

Jean-Paul Marcel, Ir

Jean-Paul MARCEL graduated in 1982 from the Royal Military Academy (Brussels) as MSc Eng. (Ir) in Mechanical Systems and Engineering and in 1988 from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Techniques Avancées (ENSTA) – Paris (France) as Naval Architect in 1988.
Its first operational appointment was at sea for two years as technical officer on board of a frigate. Then he occupied different positions from naval shipbuilding projects manager up to Director of Naval project Division, Head of naval material resources section. Its last position was R&T Director of the Belgian Ministry of Defense.
From 1988 up to 2015 he was Associated Professor at the Royal Military Academy, teaching Ship Theory and Architecture.
He retired from the Belgian Defense in June 2012 with the rank of Captain Navy (Colonel) and started at CTMA a second life, as a civilian, first as project manager of the ESA B-LiFE project. He has occupied  the position of Platform Manager since July 2013.

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.

Zacharie Paquet

Zacharie Paquet received his MSc in Biotechnology (Cellular and Molecular) in April 2020 at Wageningen University and Research (The Netherlands). He completed his Master Thesis at the Microbiology Laboratory, where he worked on the construction and assembly of synthetic modules using varied genetic engineering methods, in the scope of the BaSyC (Building a Synthetic Cell) consortium.He also carried out a research internship at the University of Otago in New Zealand (2019), where he developed novel high-throughput techniques to investigate the regulation of CRISPR-Cas systems in bacteria. He joined the CTMA/DLD-Bio in September 2020 through Defense (Royal Military Academy) funding. His current work as a researcher focuses on the development of detection and identification strategies for biological toxins, in the context of CBRN hazards.

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.

Captain Béatrice Sulka, PhD

Béatrice Sulka obtained her PhD degree in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology in France (2005-2008). During her international scientific mobility post-doctoral position in Belgium (2009-2011), she gained a broad experience on applied molecular and cellular epigenetics. She joined the Belgian Army in 2011. As a staff officer, she was in charge of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment acquisition according to public procurement related legislation and guidelines. In 2016, she joined CTMA/DLD-Bio where her research projects focus on man-made, natural, accidental or deliberate biological threats within the framework of CBRN hazard.

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.