Maarten De Gussem, DVM

Maarten is born in 1975 and graduated as veterinarian from Ghent University, Belgium in 2000. After working as poultry veterinarian in a major poultry practice dealing with layers, breeders, broilers, turkeys and hatcheries in Belgium, he joined Janssen Animal Health in 2001 as Global Technical Manager for Poultry Products (Clinafarm, Clinacox, Flubenol, Solubenol,…). After 4 years, he was hired by Alpharma Animal Health as Technical and Business Development Manager for the poultry portfolio, including ionophore and chemical anticoccidials, growth promotors, alternative growth promotors and therapeutic antibiotics for poultry and rabbits.

In 2009, Vetworks was founded by Maarten, servicing the poultry industry with a global team of specialists and providing support on poultry health topics all over the world, with focus on mycoplasmosis, general gut health and coccidiosis. Besides his work at Vetworks, Maarten is also an academic adviser at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Ghent University. And a member of scientific committees of Poultry Mycoplasma Conference and of IHSIG Conference on Poultry Intestinal Health.

Maarten De Gussem is also author of Broiler Signals, a leading broiler management book in more than 12 languages.

Filip Van Immerseel, Prof. Dr.

Filip Van Immerseel received a Master in Bio-engineering Sciences at the Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) in 1999, and a Master in Laboratory Animal Sciences at Ghent University in 2004. He received a PhD in Veterinary Medical Sciences at Ghent University in 2004, studying intestinal immune cell infiltration after Salmonella infection of chickens, and environmental triggers in the gut that influence Salmonella invasion. After a post-doc period, he was appointed as Research Professor by Ghent University in 2008. Currently he is Professor at the Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Avian Diseases of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Ghent University in Belgium and is head of a research group that studies host-bacterium interactions. Filip Van Immerseel currently has more than 170 scientific papers in international peer-reviewed journals, has written book chapters and edited books on Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens and is a well-known speaker at international events. He is editor of the journal Avian Pathology and involved in many international collaborative research networks.

The research group of Filip Van Immerseel currently focuses on different topics:

  • Mechanisms of oviduct colonization and egg contamination by Salmonella Enteritidis
  • Pathogenesis of diseases caused by Clostridium perfringens in cattle, poultry and pigs
  • Anti-inflammatory potential of butyrate-producing strains to counterbalance chronic inflammatory intestinal diseases in animals and humans
  • Dysbiosis in production animals and effects of dietary factors to steer the gut microbiota composition

The general approach is always to study host-pathogen or host-bacterium interactions and to collect scientific data on mechanisms of a) the pathogenesis of diseases or b) the protective effects of bacterial strains and bacterial metabolites on gut homeostasis. These data can then be used for rational development of control measures to control pathogen colonization or intestinal disease. Filip Van Immerseel currently has more than 125 scientific papers in international peer-reviewed journals, has written book chapters and edited books on Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens and is a well-known speaker at international events. He is editor of the journal Avian Pathology and involved in many international collaborative research networks.

Hilde Van Meirhaeghe, DVM

Born in Ghent Belgium 1958, graduated in 1982 Doctor in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Ghent, Belgium. Worked in several European and African Countries as a Veterinarian.

Since 1998 working mainly with layers and guinea fowl: breeding, meat production and veterinary responsibility for the hatchery at Derco International. In 2007, she joined DGZ-Flanders (Animal Health Services- Flanders) as Program Officer for Poultry Health in Flanders. Involved in study projects on hygiene, food safety and health issues. Involved in research with layers in alternative housing systems in partnership with the Faculty of Veterinary Medecine in Ghent and other specialised institutes.

Hilde is a global Poultry Consultant for Vetworks, a group of poultry veterinarians giving technical support  in poultry health worldwide to the poultry integrations and the pharmaceutical industry. She is currently contributing as adviser and trainer in the African Livestock Productivity & Health Advancement  ALPHA initiative funded by Bill & Melinda Gates foundation in Nigeria and Uganda.

She is also President of the Belgian Hatcheries Association and Academic Adviser Faculty of Veterinary Medicine – University of Ghent, Department of Virology, Parasitology and Immunology. And course master  WVEPAH – World Veterinary Education in Production Animal Health- training in Broilers and Layers.

Hilde has worked on behalf of Vetworks on several research projects: European Commission funded EFFORT (reduction of antimicrobial resistance in poultry) and a project on defining innovative tools to grade gut health issues in poultry. The latest EU project is Phagovet: research on bacteriophages to control Salmonella and E. coli in poultry.

Gunther Antonissen, DVM, PhD

Prof. Antonissen received a Master in Veterinary Medicine at Ghent University (Belgium) in 2011. He received a PhD in Veterinary Sciences at Ghent University in 2015, studying the predisposing effect of the mycotoxins deoxynivalenol and fumonisins on necrotic enteritis in broiler chickens.

As a postdoctoral researcher, he investigated the impact of mycotoxins and feed additives on the intestinal physiology and microbiota. Gunther Antonissen currently has more than 40 scientific papers in international peer-reviewed journals and is a well-known speaker at international events.

Since April 2019, Prof. Antonissen was appointed as chairholder of the Chair Poultry Health Sciences at Ghent University. This chair offers a unique opportunity to build bridges between academic research, education and the poultry sector.

Africa Fernández-Gutiérrez, DVM

Africa was born in 1971 and graduated from Santiago University, Spain in 1996. She completed a master’s in veterinary science in 1997 by the University of Leon. Africa worked within Aviagen internal operations in the UK and overseas as well as distributors overseas as a company Veterinarian for 10 years overseeing the day to day health and bio-security of pedigree, great grant parents and grandparent, the following 7 years she moved to a more specialized role working closely with customers in Europe, Turkey, Middle East and Asia in different facilities ( farms, hatcheries, feed mills,…) in the control of pathogens, health monitoring, disease investigation and diagnosis and performance improvements mainly with grandparents, breeders and broilers.

In 2015, she moved to Turkey to take the role of Senior Technical Operations Manager in Aviagen Anadolu where she was responsible for the Technical support into the company customer based in the country managing input covering all aspects of poultry management with emphasis on farm breeder management and where to improve to get the most benefits as well as Veterinary support in breeders and broilers, disease prevention and investigations, bio-security audits…

Since June 2019 she works as a poultry adviser for Vetworks with focus on breeder parent’s management, pathogens control, and biosecurity and health plans.

Hannes Meyns, DVM

Hannes was born in 1992, in Ostend, Belgium and grew up on a Belgian broiler farm. At a very young age, Hannes learned the problems and needs of the poultry farming business. Before graduating in 2016 with a Master in Veterinary Medicine, specialization ‘Swine, Poultry & Rabbits’ at Ghent University, he had already gained a huge amount of practical knowledge in the sector.

In 2016, Hannes started working in the field at DEGUDAP group practice, one of the major practices in Belgium, dealing with layers, breeders and broilers. Also, in 2016, Hannes joined Vetworks as a young talent giving consultancy, technical support and trainings to the pharmaceutical and poultry industry worldwide.

Hannes’ work focusses on guiding poultry companies worldwide in dealing with coccidiosis and reducing their use of antibiotics while improving their performance. Hannes has already gathered great experiences in the poultry industry worldwide, with extended knowledge of the markets in Brazil, North and East Europe, Middle East and Bangladesh.

Tiago Prucha, DVM

Tiago was born in 1991, in Porto, Portugal.  In 2017, he graduated as a Master in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Porto during which he carried out a study at a poultry farm on how the densities can affect the performance of broiler’s.

Tiago has worked at Soja De Portugal, one of the largest broiler integrations in Portugal as a poultry veterinarian and farm manager. In 2018 he joined Vetworks as a young talent giving consultancy, technical support and trainings to the pharmaceutical and poultry industry worldwide

Dennis V. Umali, DVM

Dr. Dennis V. Umali is a veterinarian specializing in livestock and poultry practice. He obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) in 2007. He graduated magna cum laude and holds the distinction of obtaining one of the highest General Weighted Average (GWA) in the 109 years history of his Alma Mater. He was the topnotcher in the 2007 Veterinary Medicine Licensure Examination and was awarded as one of the 2007 Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP). At 29, he obtained his PhD in Veterinary Science from Yamaguchi University, Japan.

rom 2014 to present, Dr. Umali is based in the Philippines and works as an independent veterinary consultant of various poultry farms and veterinary companies. He is also an Assistant Professor and UP Scientist at the College of Veterinary Medicine, UPLB; Director of International Operations of the Japan Poultry Industry Science and Technology Research Association (JPISTRA) and Visiting Researcher at the Osaka Prefecture University. Dr. Umali was awarded with the Outstanding Young Scientists of the Philippines Award by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) in 2015 and the Young Poultry Veterinarian of the Year.

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