About

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

Board of directors

Eveline Peeters
president

Prof. Dr. ir. Eveline Peeters, Microbiology Lab, Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB)

Nico Boon
vice-president

Prof. Dr. ir Nico Boon, Center for Microbial Ecology and Technology (CMET), Universiteit Gent (UGent)

Xavier De Bolle
secretary

Prof. Dr. Xavier De Bolle, Research Unit in Biology of Microorganisms (URBM), Université de Namur (UNamur)(©UNamur – B. Maindiaux)

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Xavier Saelens
treasurer

Prof. Dr. Xavier Saelens, VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology (UGent)

Jan Michiels
FEMS delegate

Prof. Dr. Jan Michiels, Centre of Microbial and Plant Genetics, KU Leuven

Rob Van Houdt
webmaster

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

Laurence Van Melderen

Prof. Dr. Laurence Van Melderen, Bacterial Genetics and Physiology, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

Sarah Lebeer

Prof. Dr. Sarah Lebeer, Microbiology & Biotechnology, Universiteit Antwerpen (UAntwerpen)

Françoise Van Bambeke

Prof. Dr. Françoise Van Bambeke, Directrice de Recherche FNRS, Faculté de pharmacie et des sciences biomédicales, Louvain Drug Research Institute, UC Louvain

Frank Delvigne

Prof. Dr. Frank Delvigne, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Liège University

Anne Oop de Beeck

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

Jean-Claude Dujardin

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

Karoline Faust

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

Pieter-Jan Ceyssens

Dr. Pieter-Jan Ceyssens, Sciensano

Géraldine Laloux

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

Sections

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. Dr. Laurence Van Melderen

Vice-Chairperson:  Prof. Dr. Jan Michiels

Members: Karoline Faust, Pascal Hols, Géraldine Laloux and Eveline Peeters


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: Prof. Dr. ir Nico Boon

Vice- Chairperson: Prof. Frank Delvigne

Members: Sarah Lebeer, Rob Van Houdt and Pieter-Jan Ceyssens


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. Dr. Françoise Van Bambeke

Vice-Chairperson: Prof. Dr. Xavier Saelens

Members: Xavier De Bolle, Françoise Van Bambeke, Jean-Claude Dujardin and Anne Op de Beeck

History

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 (see Table).

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)