The ProCure project consist of a multidisciplinary consortium of academic partners with expertise in (micro)biology (in vitro & in vivo), fermentation processes, pharmaceutical formulation and clinical expertise.
Because industrial relevance is key for strategic basis research, the academic partners are supported by an industrial advisory board (begeleidingscommissie) from the start of te project, consisting of several partners from different sectors and fields (pharmaceutical, food, feed, hygiëne). This board includes large companies and SMEs. The multidisciplinary character of the academic partners and project promote the attraction of industrial collaborations on different aspects of the value chain of probiotics and associated fields.
Team Sarah Lebeer – project coordinator
Prof. Sarah Lebeer is a Bioscience Engineer with a PhD on Probiotics (KU Leuven). She started her own research team (Laboratory of Applied Microbiology) at UAntwerpen in 2011, where she stepwise explored the possibility of probiotics for the upper respiratory tract.
Her research is centered around probiotics and the human microbiome. In this project, besides her role as coordinator, she is responsible for the microbiome analyses (incl. the bio-informatics) and the functional characterization of probiotics in cellular assays.
Prof. Filip Kiekens coordinates the Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Technology and Biopharmacy of the University of Antwerp. This laboratory focuses on innovative dosage forms, formulations and process optimization. Within this project, prof. Kiekens is resposible for the dry and liquid formulations of innovative ENT applications of probiotics.
Prof. Peter Hellings is affiliated as rhinologist to the ENT department of the University Hospital Gasthuisberg in Leuven. Besides his clinical work, he runs the ENT research team within the Laboratory of Clinical Immunology at the KU Leuven. Within this project, prof. Hellings coordinates the sampling of the CRS patients in Leuven, as well as the development of models to explore the role of the barrier function in ENT diseases.
Tom Van de Wiele
Prof. Tom Van de Wiele is affiliated to the Centre of Microbial Ecology and Technology (CMET) of the University of Gent and leads the team on host-microbe interactions. In this project, prof. Van de Wiele coordinates the development of a polymicrobial in vitro system that allows the study of interactions between probiotics, pathogens, and host cells. The team starts from its large expertise in related models for the gastro-intestinal tract (SHIME).
Prof. Olivier Vanderveken is affiliated to the ENT department of Translational Neurosciences of the University of Antwerp and is an ENT specialist at the University Hospital Antwerpen (UZA). In this project, Prof. Vanderveken coordinates the sampling of chronic sinusitis and otitis media patients and the collaboration between the different surgeons of te ENT department.
Dr. Alex Verplaetse is affiliated to the Laboratory of Enzyme, Fermentation and BreweryTechnology (EFBT) of the KU Leuven, campus Gent. The laboratory has expertise in microbiology and biochemistry, and is specialised in the upscaling of biotechnological processes from lab scale to pilot scale ( 100 – 500 liter). In this project, Dr. Verplaetse is responsible for the upscaling of the fermentations of the ENT-isolated strains and vegetable fermentations as alternative matrices for probiotic administration.
The academic partners are supported by research managers and Tech Transfer Offices van of the universities involved for the valorization of their research.