The Biomedical Congress is an annual event organized by the student union of the faculty of medicine together with the master students themselves. This event is organized to welcome predominantly master students, but Bachelor and PhD students and other interested guests are more than welcome to attend the congress. The congress has become a really important part in the education of the students. The Faculty of Medicine gives us full support every year to organize this important event. As the past two years the congress was not able to take place we are very much looking forward to organizing this 10th edition of the congress.
The ambition of the Biomedical Congress is to interest students and broaden their view beyond textbooks and exams. We provide a look at life after graduation, this with a broad perspective focussing on both academic research as well as the biomedical industry. We hope to see many students with different backgrounds and interests and companies that complement them.
For the companies, The Biomedical congress will be a great place to meet their future employees and present themselves as an established value in the biomedical field.
The Biomedical Congress
The congress consists of two important parts. First of all we have lots of very interesting and educating speakers. These people are professors but can also be people from companies or institutes, so it does not feel like the students are listening to lectures the whole afternoon. We want a mixture of speakers so the students are as informed as possible.
The academic part of the congress consists of 2 head speakers: one to start the congress with and the second one to end the congress. Between the head speakers there will be a panel and a sort of interview. This all to make the congress as engaging as possible, so the students can also interact with the speakers and feel involved.
Secondly we organise a job fair. The job fair will consist of different stands with lots of diverse companies for the different minors of the biomedical students. Big and smaller companies, so the students can have a feeling of both worlds big and small within the biomedical work field after they graduate.
The Job fair will be after the series of speakers, and is a way to put all the students in contact with possible companies and the industry in general. All the companies at the job fair will receive a table and a booklet containing the résumés of the students. During the job fair everybody can enjoy a drink and a bite and talk to the companies of their interest.
For our congress we provide the students with nice goodiebags with lots of goodies. Aside from a notebook, a deck of cards and lots of other cool goodies we will be giving nice keychains that definitely suit the subject of Biomedisch Sciences and our congress. https://www.mymitella.nl/c-2956278/sleutelhangers/
The ultimate goal of the biomedical congress is to educate the students and broaden their view and knowledge beyond the textbooks and exams. This year we will organize a special edition dedicated to the COVID-19 virus and what life in the biomedical industry will look like after the pandemic. So the students can prepare themselves as well as possible for their life after graduation. With the congress they have a preview of both the academic research as well as the biomedical industry. By having the coronavirus as a subject and the influence on our biomedical future we hope to not only attract all the students (Bachelor, master’s and PhD’s), but also professors and companies that would be interested. Predominantly for the companies this will be a great opportunity to meet their future employees.
We are organising an interview between Prof Van Ranst and Prof Lewandowsky. This interview will be about the mis- and disinformation that has happened during the pandemic, and what we should be doing in the future to try and prevent this from happening.
Professor Stephan Lewandowsky is a cognitive scientist at the University of Bristol with an interest in how people update their memories if information they believe turns out to be false. This has led him to examine the persistence of misinformation and spread of “fake news” in society, including conspiracy theories. He has become particularly interested in the variables that determine whether or not people accept scientific evidence, for example surrounding vaccinations or climate science. Because his research speaks to important contemporary events, he regularly contributes to public debate through opinion pieces in the media and public engagement. More information is available here: https://www.cogsciwa.com/
Professor Van Ranst is head of laboratory medicine in the university hospitals of Leuven. He is the director of Clinical and epidemiological virology unit at the rega institute for medical research at KU Leuven. He graduated as a medical doctor from the University of Leuven in 1990. From 1985 on, he trained at the Rega Institute for Medical Research in Leuven. From 1990 to 1993, he worked at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, where he received his Ph.D. degree in virology in 1994. In 1998, he became board-licensed as a specialist in clinical biology. Since 1999, he is a professor at the University of Leuven in Belgium.
Professor Van Ranst teaches virology, epidemiology, and bioinformatics at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Leuven and at the University Colleges Leuven-Limburg in Belgium. Since 1995, he holds an affiliate academic position at the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, where he teaches Bioinformatics.
Samuel Robson is a reader in genomics and bioinformatics, and the bioinformatics lead at the centre for enzyme innovation (cei) at the university of portsmouth. Our focus is to develop enzymatic solutions to solve global environmental problems, such as management of the prevalance of waste plastic in the environment. I also collaborate with researchers across the faculty on a number of different projects, in particular those utilising high-throughput next generation sequencing methods
Since 2020, i have led the south coast sequencing hub for the covid-19 genomics uk (cog-uk) consortium. This is a network of research institutes, public health agencies and nhs trusts, working together to understand the spread of the virus across the uk. Through the use of whole genome sequencing of virus samples, we are able to further understand how the virus spreads, identify direct transmission chains in hospitals and other settings, and identify potential variants of concern.
In addition, i collaborate across the faculty on research projects utilising powerful techniques such as high-throughput sequencing (both illumina and nanopore-based technologies), which require extensive processing and rigorous statistical analyses. I also work to build bioinformatics tools for the use of the wider research community.
“Koen Pepermans received his master degree in political and social sciences (1994) from the University of Antwerp. He is the Faculty Director of the Faculty of Social Sciences and also the Data Protection Officer at the University of Antwerp. He is chair of the VLIR working group on GDPR. Before his current position he was a teaching and research assistant in the domain of methodology at the same faculty for the master years. As part of this function he taught multivariate statistics, coordinated student research projects in a multitude of topics and was supervisor of student theses. During this time he focused mainly on mental health issues and the Minimal Psychiatric Data-system next to other projects related to social aspects of environment and use of space. As part of this function he was a member of the steering group for the Belgian Health Survey at the end of the ‘90s. He has provided survey, model and IT expertise to numerous projects both as part of his job at the university and for other universities and organisations through his company KPsoft. Together with colleagues from UAntwerp, UHasselt and KU Leuven, he is co-initiator of the Great Corona Study, an initiative that they all take on as volunteers in addition to their other tasks.”
Virology, Antiviral Drug & Vaccine Research, Rega Institute for Medical Research, Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Transplantation, Faculty of Medicine, University of Leuven, Belgium
Johan Neyts is full professor of Virology at the University of Leuven, Belgium. He teaches virology at the medical school and at the school of dentistry. The lab has a long-standing expertise in the development of antivirals strategies and drugs against emerging and neglected viral infections (such as dengue and other flaviviruses), Chikungunya and other alphaviruses, enteroviruses, noroviruses, HEV and rabies. The lab has and is intensively involved in developing antiviral strategies against SARS-CoV2. A second focus of the lab is the development of a novel vaccines including against SARS-CoV2. The approach is based on the use of the yellow fever vaccine as a vector. The laboratory also developed a platform technology, the PLLAV (Plasmid Launched Live Attenuated Virus) vaccine approach that allows to rapidly engineer highly thermostable vaccines against multiple viral pathogens. Johan is past-president of the International Society for Antiviral Research (www.isar-icar.com). Several classes of antivirals discovered in his laboratory have been licensed to major pharmaceutical companies (on HCV, dengue, rhino/enteroviruses and RSV). He is co-founder of KU Leuven spin-off Okapi Sciences (which was acquired within 5 years of incorporation). He published ~575 papers in peer reviewed journals, is inventor of an extensive patent portfolio, has given ~285 invited lectures and a large number of interviews to lay-press.
Moderator: John Creemers:
John Creemers (°1965, The Netherlands) holds an MSc degree in Chemistry from the Radboud University Nijmegen (NL) and obtained his PhD in Medical Sciences from KU Leuven (Belgium) in 1994. He has worked as postdoc at the University of Cambridge and as Visiting Professor at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes (UCHCS, Denver, USA). Currently he is Professor at the Department of Human Genetics (KU Leuven). His research interest is protein folding, maturation and sorting in the (regulated) secretory pathway, and in particular, hereditary diseases in which these processes are disturbed. An overview of his publications can be found at google scholar. He teaches two courses for 2nd and 3rd year Bachelor students of Biomedical Sciences: Scientific Communication and the Bachelor Thesis. Since 2012, he is also the Director of the Doctoral School of Biomedical Sciences, responsible for the doctoral training of approximately 1600 PhD researchers and 500 postdocs (https://gbiomed.kuleuven.be/english/phd). This training aims to prepare them for a career in frontline research, healthcare, and education or for high-level roles in professional sectors where creative, critical, independent and responsible thinking is required. He is currently chair of the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR) working group Doctoral Schools (https://vlir.be/), vice-president of the Organisation of PhD Education in Biomedicine and Health Sciences in the European System, ORPHEUS (http://www.orpheus-med.org/), steering group member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) Doctoral Studies Policy Group (https://www.leru.org/), and chair of the Steering Group of the The Flanders Training Network Life Sciences f-TALES (https://ftales.be/).