Vrije Universiteit Brussel
1050 Brussels | Belgium
Homepage of the research group IMDO
Prof. Dr. Stefan Weckx (°1973) is associate professor at the Faculty of Sciences and Bioengineering Sciences of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel since 2019. He obtained a MSc. in Biochemistry in 1996 and a PhD in Sciences in 2004, both at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. As PhD student, he stayed as a Marie-Curie training fellow at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton, Cambridge, UK. After obtaining his PhD, he was postdoctoral fellow at the MicroArray Facility of VIB in Leuven, Belgium. In 2006, he joined the Research Group IMDO of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel as postdoctoral fellow. He was IOF business developer from 2006 to 2014. In 2014, he became a tenure track lecturer. His research deals with the application of omics technologies, i.e. (meta)genomics and (meta)transcriptomics, and related bioinformatics analyses, on fermented food ecosystems and promising strains isolated thereof, to allow for an in-depth investigation of the microorganisms involved in view of the formulation of well-composed functional starter cultures. The microbial ecosystem composition and genetic potential of various food fermentation processes, mostly in a temporal way, is currently being assessed by shotgun metagenomic analysis, among which cocoa pulp-bean mass, water kefir, coffee berries, acidic beers, and Korean rice vinegar. Further, genome sequences of several potential functional starter cultures, including lactic acid bacteria, acetic acid bacteria, and yeasts, have been and are being unraveled using second- and third-generation DNA sequencing techniques to obtain a full and detailed insight into the genetic potential of these strains, thereby focusing on genes related to desired functionalities in food fermentation processes. Also, their competitiveness to the fermented food ecosystems is assessed by comparative genomic analysis, genome-scale metabolic modelling, and flux balance analysis. He teaches courses on bioinformatics, industrial biotechnology, industrial systems biology, and sequence-based omics methods. He was promotor of 2 PhD theses and currently supervises 5 PhD students. His research resulted in more than 52 peer-reviewed international publications (WoS h-index of 22) and the participation as invited speaker in several international conferences. Within the university, he is involved in policy on high-performance computing, hence he is member of the research council, academic representative in the VUB-ULB Shared ICT Services Centre, and VUB’s representative in the Flemish Supercomputer Center VSC.