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.

Since 2009, Maarten is working as Poultry Consultant for Vetworks, covering all continents.

Filip Van Immerseel, Prof. Dr.

filip van immerseel vetworks guest speaker gut healthFilip 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.

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

  • 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.

Jaap Obdam, Ir.

In 1967 Jaap obtained his degree of Master in Food Technology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He started his career in processing of fishery products in Tanzania and Brasil.
In 1975 he made a switch to meat- and poultry processing in Brasil, and in 1980 he joined Plukon Royal Poultry Industries in the Netherlands.
Ir. J. Obdam was in charge of product development, processing,  quality and food safety programs.
Since 2005 he is working as consultant for the Poultry industry all over the world: Europe, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Marocco, South Africa and Thailand.
His life experience in assessing and improving processing-yields and control of quality and food-safety in different integrations makes him an expert in setting up audits, tracing contamination routes for food pathogens and finding solutions to improve poultry production from farm to fork.
He organises workshops for the whole production chain from breeders to broiler processing, through hatchery, feed-mill and production farm, on Salmonella control and other food-safety related issues.

Hilde Van Meirhaeghe, DVM

Hilde ok 2Born 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.

Joined DGZ-Flanders (Animal Health Services- Flanders) in 2007 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.

Currently Hilde is working as Poultry Consultant for Vetworks, a team of poultry veterinarians giving technical support to the pharmaceutical and poultry industry in poultry health worldwide.

Academic adviser Faculty of Veterinary Medicine – University of Ghent, Department of Virology, Parasitology and Immunology.

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.

Hannes Meyns, DVM

 Hannes is born in 1992, in Ostend, Belgium and grew up on a Belgian broiler farm, where he learned at a very young age the problems and needs of poultry farming business.

Before graduating in 2016 as Master of Veterinary Medicine, specialization ‘Swine, Poultry & Rabbits’ at Ghent University, he had already gained a huge amount of practical knowledge in the sector.

In 2016 he joined Vetworks as a young talent giving consultancy, technical support and trainings to the pharmaceutical and poultry industry worldwide. Additionally, Hannes is working as poultry veterinarian in a major poultry veterinary practice in Belgium.

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.

Anna Schwarz, DVM, PhD


Born in Sankt-Petersburg, Russia 1973, graduated in 2007 Doctor in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Hannover, Germany.

From 2007 to 2011 worked as Academic Assistant in Institute for Physiology, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany. At this period she has completed her PhD studies with a research topic: The influence of non-starch-polysaccharides on experimental infections with Ascaridia galli and Heterakis gallinarum in layer chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus). The main research area of interest was investigation of local and systemic immune responses and electro-physiological intestinal epithelial functions in chickens following nematode infection.

Since 2011 till now Anna is working as a Poultry Consultant for Vetworks, giving technical support as a specialist for Gut Health to the pharmaceutical and poultry industry.

Narendra Gattu, BVSc & A.H

Born in India 1963, graduated as veterinarian from Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University, India in 1985.

Worked in India and Middle East as a Poultry Veterinarian. Possess more than 30 years of on-hands experience in the areas of Poultry Health, Farm Management, Food safety & Team Management in the Poultry farming sector

From 2001 to 2009 worked in Poultry Health Department of Al Watania Poultry, Saudi Arabia. At this period, he was involved with Broiler Breeders, Broilers and Commercial layers in Disease Diagnosis, Health Management, and Salmonella Monitoring & Control programs.

In 2009 Joined IFFCO Poultry Business – United Arab Emirates.  As Head – Farms he directed and coordinated the activities of Broiler breeder, Broiler & Layer farms.

Currently Narendra is working as Poultry Consultant for Vetworks, a team of poultry veterinarians giving technical support to the pharmaceutical and poultry industry in poultry health worldwide.