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Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

KU Leuven – Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

KU Leuven is the largest university in Belgium and most innovative one in Europe (Reuters ranking, past 4 years). It accommodates more than 62,000 students. In the HealthFerm project, two research groups are engaged in the experimental work.

The Laboratory of Food Chemistry and Biochemistry (LFCB) is led by Prof. Christophe Courtin, Prof. Arno Wouters and Em. Prof. Jan Delcour and Innovation Managers Drs. Kristof Brijs and Kurt Gebruers. The LFCB consists of a team of 10 post-doctoral researchers and 25 PhD and 15 MSc students. The research missions are (i) to generate basic insights into starch, non-starch polysaccharides, proteins and lipids of grains and (ii) to apply such insights to understand and improve processing, final product and/or health-related functionality in grain-based biotechnological processes.

The Laboratory for Digestion and Absorption (DigALab) is part of the Translational Research Centre for Gastrointestinal Disorders (TARGID) within the department of Chronic Diseases and Metabolism of the faculty of Medicine. The lab is led by Prof. Kristin Verbeke and involves one postdoc, four PhD students, three lab technicians and a part-time clinical trial nurse. The mission of the lab is to measure the bacterial metabolism in healthy and diseased people, to modify it by dietary interventions and to evaluate its impact on human health.

Furthermore, KU Leuven Research & Development (LRD, Tech Transfer Office KU Leuven) will be involved in the HealthFerm project. LRD has launched a myriad of innovative technologies over the past 5 decades allowing companies to create products that improve people's lives. LRD helps researchers to best leverage the societal and economic potential of their research and has developed a solid tradition of creating spin-off companies, securing and licensing intellectual property, and collaborating with industry (149 spin-offs, 130 M€ license income).

Finally, the EU-office of KU Leuven R&D will assist with the coordination of HealthFerm. The EU-office has gained top level expertise in administrative, financial and legal management of EU projects. During FP7 over 500 research projects relied on their services, of which 95 coordinated by KU Leuven. Over 450 Horizon 2020 projects were approved by the European Commission, of which around 350 collaborative actions.

Role in Healthferm

Prof. Christophe Courtin will coordinate the HealthFerm project together with his team from the Laboratory of Food Chemistry and Biochemistry (LFCB) at KU Leuven. The experimental work of the LFCB is mainly located in work package 2. An analytical toolbox to characterise chemical changes during fermentation will be developed in collaboration with other partners. The effect of fermentation of wheat and oat raw materials with existing and new strains will be studied from a technofunctional and health perspective. Finally, obtained knowledge will be applied in liquid, semi-liquid and bread systems. Prof. Kristin Verbeke is work package leader of work package 3 on the health and microbiome-related impact of fermented foods. The Laboratory for Digestion and Absorption (DigALab) will lead two intervention studies on the impact of fermentation metabolites on cardiometabolic health.

Team members

Photo of Prof. Christophe Courtin
Prof. Christophe Courtin
Professor, Coordinator of HealthFerm (LFCB)
Photo of Dr Yamina De Bondt
Dr Yamina De Bondt
Postdoctoral researcher, Scientific secretary of HealthFerm (LFCB)
Photo of Prof. Arno Wouters
Prof. Arno Wouters
Professor (LFCB)
Photo of Dr Kristof Brijs
Dr Kristof Brijs
Innovation manager (LFCB)
Photo of Dr Kurt Gebruers
Dr Kurt Gebruers
Innovation manager (LFCB)
Photo of Dr Frederik Janssen
Dr Frederik Janssen
Postdoctoral researcher (LFCB)
Photo of Ir. Eline Lambrechts
Ir. Eline Lambrechts
PhD researcher (LFCB)
Photo of Ir. Ewoud Blontrock
Ir. Ewoud Blontrock
PhD researcher (LFCB)
Photo of Prof. Kristin Verbeke
Prof. Kristin Verbeke
Professor, WP3 leader of HealthFerm (DigALab)
Photo of Riet Rosseel
Riet Rosseel
PhD researcher (DigALab)