Being agriculture engineer specialized in Hydrobiology (University of Ghent, Belgium) and Rural Economics (ENSA-Montpellier, France), she started her career as manager of freshwater-related projects in several East- and West-African countries, going from pond culture of Tilapia (Mali) to ecological studies on Lake Victoria (Kenya). In the late nineties, she focused on the reproduction and larviculture of scallops in Chili and since then has never left the mollusk world.
After her research work in Chili, she worked for a private feed company in Belgium that is specialized in larval feeds. She developed formulated feeds for broodstock mussels and young mussel spat that replaced to a great extent live micro-algae. In 2009, she started a new chapter as lecturer and scientific staff member of the Laboratory for Aquaculture & Artemia Reference Center (ARC-lab), University of Ghent, Belgium (www.aquaculture.ugent.be).
She is responsible for setting-up a research unit on bivalves that focusses on the host-microbe interactions in the larval stages. This involves a better understanding of the innate immune system of bivalves of commercial importance, the exploration of the possibilities to prime animals through heat-shock proteins, the use of quorum quenching to control pathogens, the promotion of integrated aquaculture system to stabilize the microbial community. She is active internationally as co-promotor of the Vlir-OI project in Vietnam that enhances the production of oyster seed by building a state-of-the-art hatchery and as consultant to set-up a Master of Aquaculture at SEKU University in Kenya. Together with Prof. Patrick Sorgeloos, she laid the foundations of the Flemish Aquaculture Platform (Vlaams Aquacultuur Platform) of which she is steering committee-member. She is coordinating the participation of the ARC-lab in the European funded Interreg-projects AquaVlan 1 & 2.
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