Jozef Anné is Honorary Full Professor in the department of Microbiology and Immunology, Rega Institute, Faculty of Medicine of KU Leuven. He was Board member of the Rega Institute and headed the laboratory of Molecular Bacteriology, where he conducted research on protein secretion focused both on fundamental and biomedical/biotechnological aspects. He was chairman (1991-1996) of the FNRS/NFWO-sponsored contact group “General Microbiology”, predecessor of the Belgian Society for Microbiology (BSM), established under his stimulus in 1996, and of which he became the first Secretary (1996-2009), and subsequently President (2009–2016). He also introduced BSM in the European Federation of Microbiological Societies (FEMS), represented BSM as delegate (1997-2014) until he was elected officer in the FEMS Board of Directors (2015-2021), responsible for Grants and Awards.
Max Mergeay is a microbiologist with a formation in Chemistry (PhD at ULB). During at least 30 years, he animated on the site of Mol (mainly at the Belgian Center for Nuclear Energy (SCK•CEN) but also in the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO)) a research group of molecular environmental microbiology and biotechnology (mainly industrial environments polluted by heavy metals and xenobiotics) and on spatial microbiology. Main attention was given to the diversity of mobile genetic elements of metal-resistant Betaproteobacteria (often located on megaplasmids) and their accessory genes (host range, resistance, stress responses, catabolic and other metabolic properties) as well as to environmental applications. In 1989, he was elected Member of the National Committee of Microbiology (CNM/NCM) (Royal Academies of Sciences of Belgium), that later gave rise to the BSM. Presently, as a consultant of ESA (European Space Agency). he is also active in the MELiSSA Foundation that selects and supports PhD students and postdocs working for life support in space flights and planetary stations. He is also HonProf.at ULB, scientific collaborator at the University of Mons and consultant of SCK•CEN.
Alfonse Billiau (1937-) is Emeritus Professor of microbiology and immunology of the Faculty of Medicine of KU Leuven. As a staff member of the Rega Institute of this university he directed a research team investigating the structure and function of interferons and other cytokines. In 1991 he took the lead in creating an FNRS/NFWO-sponsored ‘contact group’ that started to organize annual symposia bringing together microbiologists working in Belgium. This initiative led to the establishment, in 1996, of the Belgian Society for Microbiology of which he became the first president.