FURARN Members

1. Marc De Loose
Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Belgium
Marc De LooseMarc De Loose is Scientific Director of the research group on product quality and innovation in the Technology and Food Unit of the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Belgium. He has been working for more than 10 years in the domain of GMO detection, characterization, identification, and quantification. He has been a member of the EFSA GMO Panel and is currently involved in discussions on the safety of GMOs within the Belgian Biosafety Council. He is a member of the European Network for GMO Laboratories and is a partner of the NRL for GMO testing in Belgium.

2. Bruno Mezzetti
Marche Polytechnic University, Ancona, Italy
Bruno Mezetti
  • Full Professor in Fruit Crop Breeding and Biotechnology (AGR03), Department of Environmental and Crop Science (SAPROV), Marche Polytechnic University, Ancona (IT)
  • Director of the Department of Environmental and Crop Science, Marche Polytechnic University>
  • Chairman of the first and second level degree courses in Agricultural Science and Technology
  • Local Coordinator of the UNIDO Long Distance Second Level GMO Biosafety
  • Responsible of the teaching courses on Fruticulture breeding and biotechnology
  • Responsible for field trials with GM plants of strawberry, raspberry and table grape, authorised by the National Biotechnology Committee Minister of Health
  • Member of working group on GMO organized by the National Committee for Biosafety and Biotechnology
  • Member of the National commission of the Minister of Health for the evaluation of risk assessment trials with genetic manipulated plants

3. Dirk Iserentant
VIB, Belgium
Dirk IserentantDirk Iserentant has a long standing experience in the field of molecular biology and fermentation technology, with a special focus on regulatory and biosafety aspects.

He is professor at the university of Ghent, teaching "Biotechnology: ethics, regulations and biosafety" at the Faculty of Sciences and the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, and "Environmental safety" in the IBPO/UNIDO e-biosafety course. He is further connected as professor to the Erasmus mundi Seotech nut program (European Msc Degree in food science, technology and nutrition) where he teaches GMO biosafety and fermentation technology.

Iserentant received his training in the lab of Prof. Fiers, where he obtained his PhD and in the lab of Prof. Van Montagu. He worked for several years as head of Biotechnology and head of brewing research at Artois breweries / Interbrew, but returned to the university in 1991, to teach fermentation technology at the University of Louvain (till 1998). He joined VIB in 1996, to become invention analyst. In 2001, besides his position at the VIB, he was appointed as guest professor at the University of Ghent.

Iserentant was co-organisator of several meetings and congresses, and has been active in several national and international organizations, such as the European Brewery Convention, the Yeast Industry Platform and the Public Research and Regulation Initiative.

4. Godelieve Gheysen
University of Ghent, Belgium

Godelieve_GheysenGodelieve Gheysen is the director of IPBO. She takes care of the daily government of the institute and is responsible for all biodiversity related projects.

Godelieve Gheysen is professor of molecular genetics at the Department of Molecular Biotechnology - Faculty of Bioscience Engineering of Ghent University. She teaches the courses Molecular Biology and Genetics, Gene Technology and Plant Biotechnology. G. Gheysen is a member of the scientific comittee for transgenic plants, advising the Belgian biosafety council.

G. Gheysen has studied biology and did her Phd at the Laboratory of Genetics on the mechanism of T-DNA integration in plant chromosomes. Her current research is focused on the molecular interaction between plants and endoparasitic nematodes and on the use of DNA markers for the analysis of plant breeding and biodiversity.

5. Harry A. Kuiper
Institute of Food Safety, Wageningen University & Research Centre, The Netherlands

Harry Kuiper

Harry A. Kuiper is a retired scientist and was till November 2006 employed as Head of the Deparetment Food Safety & Health and subsequently asInternational Account Manager and Programme Leader at RIKILT – Institute of Food Safety, Wageningen University & Research Centre, The Netherlands.

He received his training at the Agricultural University Wageningen in food science, and completed in 1976 a PhD-study at the State University of Groningen, on the structure and function of hemocyanins and hemoglobins, and worked from 1976-1980 at the University of Rome at the Faculty of Medicine as a postdoc fellow.

Expertise: food toxicology, biochemistry, molecular biology, biotechnology, risk assessment of foods/feed

He is involved in safety assessment of residues of agrochemicals in food, of health protecting compounds and of genetically modified foods. He was leader of various national and EU-financed projects concerning food safety.

He served as member of the EU Scientific Committee on Plants from 1997- 2003, chairs the Scientific Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) since 2003 and is member of the EFSA Scientific Committee.

He has been co-ordinator of the European Network on the Safety Assessment, Detection and Traceability, and Societal Aspects of Genetically Modified Foods (ENTRANSFOOD), 2000 -2004, and was co-ordinator of the EU Integrated Project ‘Promoting Food Safety through a New Integrated Risk Analysis Approach for Foods’ (SAFE FOODS), funded under the EU 6-th Framework Programme.

He chaired various FAO/WHO Expert Consultations on the Safety of Foods produced by modern biotechnology.

He is (co) author of approximately 250 contributions in scientific journals, proceedings and scientific reports.

6. Howard Davies
Scottish Crop Research Institute, UK
Howard Davies

Howard Davies obtained a fist class honours degree in Botany from the University of Bristol and a PhD in Plant Biochemistry from the same University. After a 4 year post doctoral fellowship in the University of London he joined the Scottish Crop Research Institute in 1981. Since then his positions have evolved through Head of Physiology, Head of Division of Plant Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Head of Genes to Products Research Theme through to his current position of Director of Science Co-ordination. He is currently responsible for co-ordinating the Scottish Governments Programme on “Profitable and Sustainable Agriculture-Plants”.

Davies’ research interests over the past 20 years have focused on crop plants linking “traditional” biochemistry with transgenic biology to understand the roles of specific genes. Current research involves the integration of outputs from metabolomics, proteomics and transcriptomics platforms to understand functional diversity with regard to quality traits and to provide benchmark data for food safety evaluations. He has considerable experience in working with transgenic plants and for the last 12 years has been heavily involved with European Commission and European Food Safety Authority GMO Panels assessing potential risks to human health and the environment associated with commercial releases of GM crops. He has spoken widely on these issues at International Science and Policy Conferences. He has been involved in several EU and UK Government funded projects related to GM risk assessment and recently co-ordinated a work package on “omics and food safety” in the EU FP6 funded project SAFE FOODS- Promoting Food Safety through a New Integrated Risk Analysis Approach for Foods.

7. Ine Pertry
IPBO, University of Ghent, Belgium
Ine Pertry

Ine Pertry joined IPBO in 2009 and is responsible for the coordination of the Flanders UNIDO Risk Assessment Research Network (FURARN) and the coordination of an e-postgraduate course Biosafety in Plant Biotechnology.

She obtained a Ph.D in Sciences at Ghent University in 2009 by performing research on the plant pathogenic bacterium Rhodococcus fascians.

8. Jeremy Sweet
Jeremy SweetJeremy Sweet  has spent the last 22 years conducting research on the risk assessment of GMOs. Much of this work has been studying environmental and agronomic impacts and gene flow to crops and wild relatives. He was coordinator of the UK BRIGHT project which studied herbicide tolerance, and he was also coordinator of the ESF programme “Assessing the Impact of GMOs” that brought together all the major research groups in this area in Europe. He was a coordinator of the EU SIGMEA project bringing together data on gene flow and gene impacts and was a participant in the EU CO-EXTRA programme.

He currently operates his own environmental consultancy and is a vice-chairman of the EFSA GMO panel. He is a consultant and advisor on GMOs to the European Commission, FAO and scientific organisations and academies of several countries.

9. Kathy Messens
Ghent University College, Belgium
Kathy Messens

Kathy Messens is head of the DNA fingerprinting Laboratory AgriFing at Ghent University College (Ghent University Association). This research unit focuses on the application of different DNA fingerprinting technologies on biological materials and derived products, such as identification and quantification of GMOs and allergens, the identification of micro-organisms and mycotoxin producing moulds and several food authenticity issues. She has been involved in a number of national projects regarding these research topics.

Kathy Messens obtained the degree of bio engineer at the Faculty of Bioengineering in 1992, Ghent University, where she also got a PhD degree in Applied Biological Sciences in 1998. She became a fulltime professor in Agro and Food Biotechnology at the Department of Biosciences and Landscape Architecture, Ghent University College since 1999 where she teaches several courses e.g. nutrition, microbiology, molecular identification techniques, applied biotechnology and biochemical and enzymatic applications. She is also a guest professor at Ghent University in the field of Food and Feed Safety for the IPBO/UNIDO course on Biosafety in Plant Biotechnology since 2006.

Prior to that she has been a scientific co-worker at the Lab of Biochemistry and Molecular Cytology where she obtained her PhD in 1998. Hereafter she shortly worked as a scientific researcher at the Laboratory of Industrial Microbiology and Biocatalysis (Ghent University) and the Department of Animal Product Quality and Transformation Technology (Ministry of the Flemish Community). This was followed by the EC project “Development of methods to identify Foods by means of genetic engineering” at the Department of Food Technology and Nutrition (Ghent University) and the Department of Plant Genetics and breeding (Ministery of the Flemish Community).

10. Roger Hull
Emeritus Fellow, John Innes Centre, Little Orchard, 3 Portman Drive, Child Okeford Blandford Forum Dorset DT11 8HU UK
Roger Hull

Roger Hull obtained a BA in Botany at Cambridge University, a PhD in Plant Pathology and a DSc in Plant Virology at London University. He holds honorary professorships in Peking and Fudan Universities, China. His research at The Virus Research Unit, Cambridge and the John Innes Institute, Norwich was on the structure, molecular biology and function of plant viruses and the use of this information for their control by genetically modifying crop plants. Much of his work focussed on viruses of rice in South-East Asia and of banana (plantain) in East and West Africa.

On retirement in 1997 he was given an Emeritus Fellowship at John Innes and has been involved with teaching decision makers in developing countries about biosafety issues in the uptake of genetically modified crops. He has written two major text books on plant virology and recently co-authored a book on assessing safety and managing risk of genetically modified plants.

11. Sylvia Burssens
IPBO, University of Ghent, Belgium

Sylvia Burssens is responsible for cooperation between research organizations and institutes from Flanders and developing countries in the field of plant biotechnology and biosafety through networking with international organizations.

She joined IPBO since its foundation in 2000. She obtained a Ph.D. in Sciences with research on the cell cycle genes of Arabidopsis thaliana at the Laboratory of Genetics, Ghent University in 1999.

12. Dulce Eleonora de Oliveira
IPBO, University of Ghent, Belgium

Dulce Dulce Eleonora de Oliveira holds a M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil, and was a postdoctoral research fellow at Ghent University, in the field of Plant Molecular Biology. She was professor and head of the Laboratory of Plant Molecular Genetics (LGMV) at the Institute of Biology, UFRJ, Brazil, where she led several research projects in the field of fundamental and applied plant molecular biology, including: plant flower development; function and molecular studies of glycine-rich proteins (GRP) in plants; plant-pathogen interaction; abiotic stress in plants; development of virus resistance in transgenic plants; genetic biodiversity of Brazilian indigenous trees; transformation of Brazilian orphan corps.

Currently she has appointments at IPBO as visiting professor, where she is involved in technology transfer, training and education in scientific and biosafety issues, and in raising awareness on the potential of plant biotechnology for developing countries. She has over 60 publications in scientific journals and books and 2 patent applications.