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 teaches 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-UCL/Defense Laboratories Department-Biological Threats-BEMOD), hosting joined 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 later became 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 a major, married to a military veterinarian and father of twin boys.

Marc Dillembourg

Marc Dillembourg is a Bachelor of Law (1998). Intership at LOVELL WHITE DURRANT. Graduated from a special 6-months course in management & business administration (SOLVAY PME - 2004). Trained in QC & QM at EFMQ (2006). Highlights : Three years at the European Commission (DG INFSO, Future and Emerging Technologies unit) in charge of legal issues. Three years as Administrative Coordinator & Quality Coordinator at EFPME, a vocational training center (60 professions, 500 teachers & 5000 students). Three years as 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...). 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 his Master of Science in Chemical Engineering in 2006 and his Master of Advanced Studies in Statistics, Biostatistics and Epidemiology in 2007. He performed his Ph.D thesis of Engineering from 2007 to 2011 in the Institute of Information and Communication Technologies, Electronics and Applied Mathematics (ICTEAM) and in Center for Applied Molecular Technologies (CTMA), Institut de Recherche Expérimentale et Clinique (IREC) at Université catholique de Louvain. Since 2012, he is working as researcher logistician within IREC and his research  focuses 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 works with Center for Applied Molecular Technologies (CTMA), Institut de Recherche Expérimentale et Clinique (IREC) at Université catholique de Louvain. His work focuses on research methods in molecular biology.

Mostafa Bentahir, PhD

Dr. Mostafa Bentahir holds a Ph.D in biological sciences since Mai 2000. He joined afterwards much known academic research institutions in Leuven and Ghent 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 is working has 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, B Bearzatto develops and manages the next-generation sequencing platform at CTMA.

Michèle Bouyer

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

Antoine Cartier

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

Nawfal Chibani

Nawfal graduated in medical biology in 2012 after 3 years at the High School Francisco Ferrer. He started working in routine laboratory in microbiology, hematology and hemostasis. He then did a formation in biotechnology at the GIGA tower with the forem. Immediately after, he worked for 5 years at the University Clinic Saint Luc in the hepatocyte bank’s clean rooms.

Dennys Cruz-Mitjans

Graduated in 2013 from ESBU Antonio Guiteras (Cuba) & then served in the cuban military. Became a member of CTMA’s mycology unit technical staff in october 2015.
Preparing culture media, cleaning labware, helping with the plowing & harvesting of environmental Fungi. Fluent in Spanish & French. Computer-literate. Received in-house training..

Olga Cruz-Mitjans

Olga Maria Cruz-Mitjans is a laboratory technician who's graduated in 1984, Cuba, where she worked as a laboratory technician for the Ministry of Public Health until she moved to Belgium in 2002. 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. In 2015, she received training in protein extraction & dosage.

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 Brussels) focussing 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 joined the Belgian Army and is working for CTMA/DLD-Bio.

Cathy Delcorps

Cathy Delcorps received her bachelor in clinical chemistry in 1998.
From 1998 to 2009 she worked as researcher for UCL at the CTMA.
Since 2009 she has worked as researcher for Royal Military Academy of Belgium, at the CTMA. Her work has focused 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). He then worked 4 years as Lab technician for the HIV Laboratory Center(UCLouvain) and 5 years as Responsible of the sector Yersinia In the Pole of Medical Microbiology(UCLouvain). During the same time, he worked with the Top school Léonard de Vinci as external professor(2014-2019). From 2019 to 2020, he worked for a DNA vaccine spin-off mainly for in-vivo experiences. He is working for CTMA/DLD-Bio as Lab technician since 2021.


Catherine Dumont

Catherine Dumont received his MSc in Biology Sciences (Molecular, cellular and human biology) in 2006.
Since 2007 she is working as a researcher at the Center for Applied Molecular Technologies (CTMA) through a military funding and her work has focused 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.

Jean-François Durant

Jean-Francois Durant is a molecular biologist (Masters in Biomedical Experimental Sciences, Specialization in Medical and Veterinary Mycology), with 16-years’ 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 author and co-author of 9 publications in medical and environmental microbiology journals. He is currently a researcher in the Centre of Applied Molecular Technologies of Jean-Luc Gala at the UCL 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.

Adjudant COC 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 working 1 year as researcher for Procter and Gamble and 6 month as teacher in chemistry/biology, he then joined the Belgian Defense in 2015. He first completed 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 is since October 2019 technical manager for the DLD-Bio. He is member of the Federal Orientation Laboratory and of B-FAST. His work mainly focus on the adaptation of identification and detection protocols for the operational activities.

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 is a senior researcher at CTMA (platform Université catholique de Louvain and the Defense Laboratories Department) where he coordinates 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 her master Bioengineer in Agricultural Sciences in 2011, and an advanced master in Biotechnology and Applied Biology in 2014. After filling short-term functions as a laboratory technician, she's working as a technical expert for Defense Laboratories (DLD) since 2017. 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. Than 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.
In June 2012, he retired from the Belgian Defense with the rank of Captain Navy (Colonel) and started at CTMA a second life, as civilian, first as project manager of the ESA B-LiFE project. Since july 2013, he occupies the position of CTMA Platform Manager.

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 senior researcher until 2011. In 2012 she was post-doc at UGent and in 2016 she joined the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain) as 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 Ph.D. at Leuven University in Alzheimer’s disease field. Then, as postdoc, he enhanced his skills in transgenic mice generation in Ghent University. Afterwards, he moved to the beta cell therapy center in Diabetes at VUB.
Last but not least, he worked as 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. 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 military (ERM) 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 is a laboratory technician. He studied for 3 years in Institute Paul Lambin in Brussels then got his Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Pathology. Since late 2014 he has been working at the CTMA as lab technician on a BioWin research project based on immunology, ELISAs and rapid tests.
Moreover, Benjamin is also part of the B-Life Team, leading and operating a light fieldable laboratory that was deployed in Guinea for three months during the last Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

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. In 1997 he graduated from Moscow Technical University of Communications and Informatics with a Master of Sciences degree in Radioengineering.
Main professional interests: mobile radio and wireless access networks design, optimization of the designed and existing communication networks, digital communication systems: PMR systems, cellular networks, microwave systems.
Since 2017 he joined CTMA as an expert in telecommunication systems for B-LIFE - Biological Light Fieldable Laboratory for Emergencies – Phase II /Demonstration Phase/ESA IAP/ARTES20.

Olga Vybornova, PhD

Olga Vybornova, PhD, is a senior researcher at UCL-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.


Pierre Vandenberghe, PhD

I obtained my PhD in Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences in June 2019 (ULB). My 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. My findings led to the initiation of a Phase I clinical study in collaboration with the Erasmus Hospital. In June 2020, I joined the B-Life team for a 1-month mission in Turin and I am now working as a research assistant providing scientific support for CTMA various projects.