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Meet the team

You will be learning from academics and experts in Queens University, Belfast, KU Leuven, IMDEA and John Deere.
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Please meet the team that will be leading and facilitating on the course. They include staff from Queen’s University of Belfast, KU Leuven, IMDEA Research Institute on Food and Health Sciences and John Deere.

Lead Educator

Dr. Michaela Fox

Michaela is a Lecturer (Education) in the Institute of Global Food Security in Queen’s University, Belfast. Her work is primarily focused on supporting the development of education programmes within the EITFOOD partnership. Michaela’s research background is related to food quality, safety and nutrition and she has a history of working in the food production industry in Northern Ireland.

Prof. Ben Aernouts

Ben Aernouts obtained a PhD in Bioscience Engineering in 2014. During his PhD research, he studied the optical behaviour of raw milk and other food products. Later, he continued as a postdoctoral fellow and used the insights obtained in his PhD research to improve the design of optical sensors for food quality monitoring. The focus of this work was on the development and validation of on-farm and in-line sensors to monitor milk quality and cow health. Since October 2016, Ben Aernouts is an assistant professor in “Management in Livestock Production” at the Faculty of Engineering Technology, KU Leuven. He teaches courses on livestock production, cattle management and precision livestock farming; and leads a research group working on Livestock Technology and focusing on the development, implementation and validation of innovative sensor technology and data-processing algorithms to support the animal management in livestock production.

Dr. Alberto Davalos

Alberto obtained a PhD in Pharmacy by Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Madrid). He is group leader of the Epigenetics of Lipid Metabolism Group, IMDEA Food Institute. His research program focuses on identifying and characterizing new noncoding RNAs (miRNAs, lncRNAs and other type of regulatory RNAs) that regulate lipid metabolism and the effects of minor dietary components (micronutrients) on their expression. Alberto’s research hopes to identify new therapeutic strategies through modulating noncoding RNAs levels by the diet or other lifestyle factors to treat dyslipidemia and to prevent atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases; and (ii) understand lifestyle modification of the epigenome and personalize the health of individuals using epigenetics (particularly noncoding RNAs) for the development of Precision Nutrition.

Prof Christopher Elliott

Chris is currently Professor of Food Safety and founder of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast. He has served as Pro Vice Chancellor for the University and was responsible for the Medical and Life Sciences Faculty. He has published more than 350 peer reviewed articles, many of them relating to the detection and control of agriculture, food and environmental related contaminants. Chris has received numerous prizes and awards for his work. In 2017 he was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry Theophilus Redwood Prize and was also awarded the title of ‘Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’ (OBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Dr. Thomas Engel

Thomas has a PhD in agricultural sciences. He worked as assistant Professor Technical University Munich teaching on the use of electronics and software in agriculture and whilst carrying out work on: modeling and simulation of crop growth and the nitrogen cylce; development of hypermedia systems for crop protection; use of neural networks to solve complexe decision support issues; and creation and application of variable rate fertilizer prescriptions based on yield soil maps. Thomas is now working in John Deere as Manager of John Deere’s Technology Innovation Strategy. He has been with John Deere for over 11 years.

Prof. Bart Nicolaï

Bart obtained a PhD in Applied Biological Sciences in 1994 at the University of Leuven (Belgium) where he now is a full professor. He is also director of the Flanders Centre of Postharvest Technology, a public-private partnership which was established by the University of Leuven and the Association of Belgian Horticultural Co-operatives in 1997. Since 2005 he is head of the division Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors (MeBioS) of the Biosystems department at the University of Leuven ansalso leads the Postharvest Group of this division. His main research interests are postharvest biology and technology, refrigeration technology, heat and mass transfer, quality of fruit and vegetables, and mathematical modelling.

Prof. Bram Van De Poel

Bram is an assistant Professor in the Department of Biosystems in KU Leuven. His work is related to crop biotechnics. He has over 50 publications related to his research.

Prof. Wouter Saeys

Wouter obtained a PhD in Bioscience Engineering. Since 2010 he is assistant professor at the Biosystems Department of KU Leuven with nearly 300 publications related to his work. He is part of the KU Leuven Biophotonics group which investigate the interaction of light with biological systems to develop innovative sensors for rapid and non-destructive characterisation and monitoring of biosystems. The main application domain is agrofood.


Please also meet our course mentors who has helped prepare the course.

Nichola Donnelly

Nichola is the Programme Support Officer for the EIT Food Education Programme team at Queen’s University, Belfast and is based within the Institute for Global Food Security. Follow the work of our QUB EIT Education team on twitter to keep up to date with the latest projects and innovations in the food and feed chain here.

Tatiana Panova

Tatiana works in the Institute of Global Food Security in Queen’s University, Belfast. Her work is primarily focused on supporting the development of education programmes within the EITFOOD Education partnership. Tatiana’s research background is biochemistry of Pol I transcription, molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the regulation of rRNA synthesis, signalling pathways and other regulatory mechanisms targeting rRNA synthesis and ribosome biogenesis.

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