The Belgian Society for Microbiology (BSM) is a nonprofit organization under Belgian law (NL, FR) that brings together all microbiologists in Belgium and supports scientific conferences, workshops and training courses organized in Belgium.

Board of directors

Charles Van der Henst

Prof. Charles Van der Henst, Microbial Resistance and Drug Discovery, Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB)

Géraldine Laloux
FNRS delegate

Prof. Géraldine Laloux, Bacterial Cell Biology, de Duve Institute, UC Louvain

Karoline Faust

Prof. Dr. Karoline Faust, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Transplantation, Rega Institute, KU Leuven

Pieter-Jan Ceyssens
FEMS delegate

Dr. Pieter-Jan Ceyssens, Sciensano

Rob Van Houdt

Dr. ir Rob Van Houdt, Microbiology Unit, Interdisciplinary Biosciences, Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK CEN)

Ahalieyah Anantharajah

Dr. Ahalieyah Anantharajah, Microbiology laboratory, Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc – UC Louvain

Anne Botteaux

Prof. Anne Botteaux, Laboratoire de Bactériologie moléculaire (MBL), Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

Jean-Claude Dujardin

Dr. Jean-Claude Dujardin, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp

Philippe Gabant


Ramon Ganigué

Prof. Dr. Ramon Ganigué, Center for Microbial Ecology and Technology (CMET), Universiteit Gent (UGent)

Marie Joossens

Prof. Marie Joossens, Microbial Ecosystem Pathology Unit, Lab of Microbiology (LM), Universiteit Gent (UGent)

Baptiste Leroy

Associate Prof. Baptiste Leroy,
Laboratory of Proteomic and Microbiology, UMONS

Gipsi Lima-Mendez

Dr. Gipsi Lima-Mendez, Unité de recherche en biologie des micro-organismes, Université de Namur

Rob Lavigne

Prof. Rob Lavigne, Laboratory of Gene Technology, KU Leuven

Anne Op de Beeck

Dr. Anne Op de Beeck, ULB Center for Diabetes Research, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)


A. General microbiology

Section A deals with model microorganisms like Escherichia coli, Bacillus, Caulobacter, Brucella, and Streptomyces species, as well as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and model fungal species. The research themes includes all basic questions like gene expression regulation, structure assembly and function of macromolecular complexes, evolution, and cell biology, amongst many others.

Chairperson: Prof. Géraldine Laloux


Members: Karoline Faust, Rob Lavigne

B. Applied and environmental microbiology

Section B deals with applied microbial research, basic microbial ecology, food microbiology and genetic and molecular investigations of microbial topics of practical value.

Chairperson: Dr. Rob Van Houdt

Vice- Chairperson:

Members: Philippe Gabant, Ramon Ganigué, Baptiste Leroy

C. Host-microbe interactions

Section C covers all aspects of the interactions between parasites, fungi, bacteria, viruses and their hosts. Areas of research include, but are not limited to, antimicrobial innate and adaptive immunity, immune evasion strategies, antimicrobial vaccine development, cross-kingdom interactions, entry and replication mechanisms of microbes in their host, antimicrobial drug discovery, and microbial pathogenesis.

Chairperson: Prof. Anne Botteaux

Vice-Chairperson: Prof. Anne Op de Beeck

Members: Jean-Claude Dujardin, Ahalieyah Anantharajah, Pieter-Jan Ceyssens, Marie Joossens


During a meeting of the National Committee for Microbiology (NaCoMi) on June 5th 1990 in Liège, it was decided that the committee should organize national symposia of general microbiology. At that time, the National Fund for Scientific Research (NFWO/FNRS) provided support for scientists of several disciplines to install Contact Groups aiming to meet, discuss and present research results. The application of NaCoMi members to establish a General Microbiology Contact Group was readily approved [chair: Jozef Anné (Rega Institute, KU Leuven), secretary: Etienne Thiry (University of Liège)] and this allowed for the annual organization of symposia under the umbrella of NaCoMi and the NFWO/FNRS contact group.

In 1995, following the conversion of NFWO/FNRS into separate Flemish and French entities, the Contact Group was inevitably discontinued. Because the Contact group was a success, an alternative needed to be sought. The idea was then launched (J. Anné) to establish a microbiological society. Following a discussion within NaCoMi in the course of 1995 and 1996, informal exchange of views with other established microbiologists and a general survey amongst microbiologists in the country, this proposal was accepted leading to the establishment of the Belgian Society for Microbiology (BSM). This was officialized at a meeting in the Rega Institute on November 18th 1996. During this meeting the founding document in the form of society statutes was signed by 13 microbiologists [1] including NaCoMi members as well as representatives of existing societies specialized in specific areas (clinical, nutritional, environmental, molecular) of microbiology. The new society, founded as a de facto association, aimed to address aspects of general microbiology, providing a forum for interdisciplinary exchange and to cooperate with specialized microbial/biochemical societies. Soon after its foundation, in 1998, BSM became member of the Federation of European Microbiological Societies (FEMS).

The society was first chaired by Alfons Billiau (Rega Institute – KU Leuven, 1996 – 2009), followed by Jozef Anné (Rega Institute – KU Leuven ,2009 – 2016) and Guy R. Cornelis (em. Uni.Basel CH, UNamur, 2016 – present).

From BSM’s creation in 1996 until 2017, symposia were conceived so as to focus on particular themes considered to be of special importance. In 2017, the format changed, such that the symposia now cover a wide range of topics of current importance. To facilitate the organization along this format, four thematic sections (General Microbiology, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Medical and Veterinary Microbiology, Host and Microbe interactions) were established within the Society, each being headed by one of the Board members who coordinates proposals for speakers and presentations.
In 2019, BSM was converted to a nonprofit organization under Belgian law, i.e. by its registration as an ASBL/VZW (association sans but lucratif, vereniging zonder winstoogmerk). On this occasion, the statutes were revised, confirming and clarifying the synergic link with the NaCoMi.

[1] The 13 founding members were A. Billiau (KU Leuven), J. Anné (KU Leuven), E. Thiry (ULiège), J.P. Butzler (VUB), L. Verbist (KU Leuven), P. Hoet (UCLouvain), G. Cornelis (UCLouvain), L. De Zutter (UGent), A. Naessens (VUB), M. Mergeay (SCK/CEN Mol), J. Vanderleyden (KU Leuven), A-M. Colson (UCLouvain), en P. De Vos (UGent)