Prof. dr. ir. Tom Van de Wiele

Telephone number: 
+32 9 264 59 76
Faculty staff

Tom Van de Wiele obtained an MSc degree in Bioscience Engineering from Ghent University in 2000 and a PhD degree in Applied Biological Sciences with Willy Verstraete - Ghent University - and Steven Siciliano - University of Saskatchewan - as supervisors. The FWO Flemish Science Foundation provided a postdoc fellowship and he started research work at LabMET (Laboratory Microbial Ecology and Technology) on host-microbe interactions with particular focus on microbial metabolic potency towards a.o. alimentary pollutants and plant bioactives. He was a visiting scientist at Ohio State University and worked together with dr. Nick Basta (OSU), dr. Jack Creed (EPA) and dr. Karen Bradham (EPA) on arsenic metabolism by human gut microbiota. In 2010, he became assistant professor at Ghent University where he started the Host-Microbe Interaction Technology research group, developing mucosal in vitro technology. He was tenured in 2015 and currently holds a position as associate professor at the Center for Microbial Ecology and Technology from the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University. 

Tom Van de Wiele 

Full Professor

Host-Microbe Interaction Technology group

cmet Center for Microbial Ecology and Technology - Faculty of Bioscience Engineering - Ghent University

Coupure Links 653, B-9000 Gent, Belgium

Phone: +32 9 264 59 76, Cell: +32 477 60 54 55 - UGent e-mail disclaimer


Research focus

Tom's primary research interests deal with the study of the intestinal microbiota, its metabolic potency, the interactions with the host and the development of methods to steer the gut microbiome in a health-promoting direction. Besides the microbial analysis of the gastrointestinal environment from animal models or human intervention trials, his group has broad expertise in the in vitro simulation of gastrointestinal digestive processes and mucosal microenvironment. Using dynamic human gut models, such as the Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem SHIME®, a wide variety of candidate drugs, functional foods and/or dietary factors can be screened for their direct effect on human-derived intestinal microbiota.

In addition, SHIME reactor technology is now expanded with mucosal contact surfaces (M-SHIME) and epithelial cell cultures (Host Microbe Interaction module), which allows for the study of microbe-host interactions, highly relevant in the field of inflammatory bowel disease. Our research team has produced a scientific output of more than 160 peer-reviewed international publications and the participation as invited speaker in several international conferences.


Current research projects

1. GOA chronic inflammation: concerted research action with the UGent rheumatology and gastroenterology departments. 

Mechanistic understanding of mucosal microbial dynamics, epithelial barrier functioning and immune modulation

Researcher: Rosemarie De Weirdt

2. SBO ProCure: national project with University of Antwerp (@SarahLebeer) and University of Leuven

Microbial involvement in the etiology of chronic rhinosinusitis

Researcher: ir. Charlotte de Rudder

3. SBO BRANDING: national project with University of Leuven (Christophe Courtin), University of Brussels (Luc De Vuyst) and Université de Louvain (Nathalie Delzenne)

Researcher: ir. Kim De Paepe

Health modulatory potential of modified wheat bran structures

4. SBO Glycoprofit: national project of Ghent University (Tom Desmet) 

Health effects from novel biotechnological disaccharides

5. TRAIN: R&D project with Janssen Pharmaceutica (@JnJnews) (PI: Jan Snoeys), University of Leuven (PI: Patrick Augustijns) and Hubreghts Institute

Translational Model systems for intestinal microbial metabolic potency

Researcher: Emma Sanabria Hernandez

6. Collaborome: IOF project with ProDigest (@Pro_SHIME) and Faculty of Veterinary Sciences (PI: Filip Van Immerseel)

Novel biotherapeutic strategies to curb antibiotic associated infections

Researcher: Stanley Omondi Onyango

7. ETN Bibafoods: H2020 Marie Curie project with University of Copenhagen (PI: Jens Risbo) and colleagues from U Heidelberg, U Alcala, U Barcelona, U Lorraine and ProDigest, Avonture, Christian Hanssen

Novel microbiome-based products to support propionate production in metabolic syndrome

Researcher: Racha El Hage


Current fellowships and scholarships

1. Massimo Marzorati: FWO postdoc fellowship. Fundaments of gut microbiome ecosystem dynamics

2. Marta Calatayud: FWO postdoc fellowship. Development of novel enabling technologies mimicking the gut epithelial architecture

3. Florence Van Herreweghen: IWT PhD scholarship. Ecological behavior of Akkermansia muciniphila in the human gut

4. Eline Van Lancker: BOF PhD scholarship. Interaction of the human microbiome with the development and healing of chemotherapy-induced mucositis

5. Laeticia Toe: VLIR PhD scholarship. Prebiotic modulation of the gut microbiota from the malnourished child

6. Chris Callewaert: FWO postdoc fellowship. Modulation of the skin microbiome

7. Ioanna Chiatzigiannidou: UGent research assistant. Ecosystemic control of the oral microbiome

8. Lisa Miclotte: CMET PhD scholarship. Impact of dietary emulsifiers on gut health

9. Céline Mortier: FWO PhD scholarship. Microbiome-based therapeutics for modulating chronic inflammation

10. Robin Vanluchene: IWT PhD scholarship

Selected key publications: 
Chassaing B, Van de WIele T, De Bodt J, Marzorati M, Gewirtz AT. 2017. Dietary emulsifiers directly alter human microbiota composition and gene expression ex vivo potentiating intestinal inflammation. Gut. 10.1136/gutjnl- 2016-313099
De Weirdt R, Hernandez-Sanabria E, Fievez V , Mees E, Geirnaert A, Van Herreweghen F, Vilchez-Vargas R, Van den Abbeele P, Jauregui R, Pieper DH, Vlaeminck B, Van de Wiele T. 2017. Mucosa-associated biohydrogenating microbes protect the simulated colon microbiome from stress associated with high concentrations of poly-unsaturated fat. Environmental Microbiology. 19: 722-739
Van de Wiele T, Van Praet J, Marzorati M, Drennan M, Elewaut D. 2016. How the microbiota shapes rheumatic disease. Nature Reviews Rheumatology 12: 398-411
Rubin S, Alava P, Zekker I, Du Laing G, Van de Wiele T. 2014. Arsenic Thiolation and the Role of Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria from the Human Intestinal Tract. Environ. Health Perspect. 122:817-822, 2014.
Van den Abbeele P., Belzer C., Goossens M., Kleerebezem M., De Vos W., Thas O., De Weirdt R., Kerckhof F.M., Van de Wiele T. 2013. Butyrate-producing Clostridium cluster XIVa species specifically colonise mucins in an in vitro gut model. The ISME Journal 7:949-961.
van Duynhoven J, Vaughan E, Jacobs D, Kemperman R, van Velzen E, Gross G, Roger L, Possemiers S, Smilde A, Dore J, Westerhuis J, Van de Wiele T. 2011. The metabolic fate of polyphenols in the human superorganism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United State of America. 108: S 4531-4538.
Van de Wiele T, Gallawa C, Creed J, Kubachka K, Basta N, Dayton E, Whitacre S, Du Laing G, Bradham K. 2010. Arsenic Metabolism by Human Gut Microbiota upon In Vitro Digestion of Contaminated Soils. Environmental Health Perspectives. 118: 1004-1009
Cani PD, Possemiers S, Van de Wiele T, Guiot Y, Everard A, Rottier O, Geurts L, Naslain D, Neyrinck A, Lambert DM, Muccioli GG, Delzenne NM. 2009. Changes in gut microbiota control inflammation in obese mice through a mechanism involving GLP-2-driven improvement of gut permeability. Gut. 58: 1091-1103