Speaker: Sarah Lebeer, Ph.D.
About the Speaker: Sarah Lebeer is a research professor at the Department of Bioscience Engineering of the University of Antwerp, Belgium. She has studied bioscience engineering, with a specialisation in cell and gene biotechnology and food and health and obtained her Master’s degree at KU Leuven (Belgium) in 2004. In 2008, she obtained a Ph.D. degree in Bioscience Engineering with a topic on probiotics and inflammatory bowel diseases (KU Leuven). After a postdoc on the interaction between lactobacilli, viruses and mucosal immunology, Lebeer was offered a tenure track position in applied microbiology and biotechnology at the Department of Bioscience Engineering of the University of Antwerp in Nov 2011. In 2020, Lebeer obtained an ERC StG Grant (Lacto-Be) that enables her to gain in-depth knowledge of the evolutionary history and ecology of lactobacilli. Within this ERC project, Lebeer has launched the Isala citizen-science project to gain new insights in the ecology and role of vaginal lactobacilli for women’s health, but also to actively involve women to contribute with ideas on how to improve vaginal health and break some taboos together (https://isala.be/en). This project has won the communication award from the Young Academy and Royal Academy of Science KVAB in 2021.