Prof. dr. ir. Tom Defoirdt

Telephone number: 
+32 9/264 59 76
Faculty staff


  • PhD in Applied Biological Sciences (UGent, 2007)
  • Bio-engineer in cell and gene biotechnology (UGent, 2003)


Working experience

  • Associate professor at CMET (UGent, 2017-present)
  • Postdoctoral researcher at CMET (UGent, 2016-2017)
  • Postdoctoral researcher at Lab of Aquaculture (UGent, 2014-2016)
  • FWO postdoctoral fellow at Lab of Aquaculture & LabMET (UGent, 2007-2014)
  • PhD researcher (IWT grant) at LabMET & Lab of Aquaculture (UGent, 2003-2007)

Research: Bacterial Activity Management (BAM!) group

Research topics

  • Gene regulation in bacteria, bacterial signalling and detection systems (e.g. quorum sensing, sensing of host and environmental cues)
  • Bacterial pathogens, virulence, virulence factors and virulence regulation, host-pathogen interactions
  • Ecology and evolution of bacterial pathogens
  • Management of bacterial activity, antivirulence therapy
  • Aquatic (marine) microbiology, vibrios
  • Blue biotechnology

Publications discussing our work (with links)

  • Defoirdt T 2023. Indole signaling, an interesting target to control vibriosis in aquaculture. Aquaculture 574: 739692
  • Zhang S, Yang Q, Eggermont M, Defoirdt T 2023. Quorum sensing interference in vibrios. Reviews in Aquaculture 15: 1452-1466
  • Defoirdt T 2019. Amino-acid-derived quorum sensing molecules controlling the virulence of vibrios (and beyond). PLoS Pathogens 15: e1007815
  • Defoirdt T 2018. Quorum-sensing systems as targets for antivirulence therapy. Trends in Microbiology 26: 313-328
  • Defoirdt T 2016. Implications of ecological niche differentiaition in marine bacteria for microbial management in aquaculture to prevent bacterial diseases. PLoS Pathogens 12: e1005843
  • Defoirdt T 2016. Specific antivirulence activity, a new concept for reliable screening of virulence inhibitors. Trends in Biotechnology 34: 527-529
  • Defoirdt T 2014. Virulence mechanisms of bacterial aquaculture pathogens and antivirulence therapy for aquaculture. Reviews in Aquaculture 6: 100-114
  • Natrah FMI, Bossier P, Sorgeloos P, Yusoff FM, Defoirdt T 2014. Significance of microalgal-bacterial interactions for aquaculture. Reviews in Aquaculture 6: 48-61
  • Defoirdt T, Brackman G, Coenye T 2013. Quorum sensing inhibitors: how strong is the evidence? Trends in Microbiology 21: 619-624
  • Defoirdt T 2013. Antivirulence therapy for animal production: filling an arsenal with novel weapons for sustainable disease control. PLOS Pathogens 9: e1003603
  • Ruwandeepika HAD, Jayaweera TSP, Bhowmick PP, Karunasagar I, Bossier P, Defoirdt T 2012. Pathogenesis, virulence factors and virulence regulation of vibrios belonging to the Harveyi clade. Reviews in Aquaculture 4: 59-74
  • Defoirdt T, Sorgeloos P, Bossier, P 2011. Alternatives to antibiotics for the control of bacterial disease in aquaculture. Current Opinion in Microbiology 14: 251-258
  • Defoirdt T, Boon N, Bossier P 2010. Can bacteria evolve resistance to quorum sensing disruption? PLoS Pathogens 6: e100098
  • Defoirdt T, Boon N, Sorgeloos P, Verstraete W, Bossier P 2009. Short-chain fatty acids and poly-β-hydroxyalkanoates: (new) biocontrol agents for a sustainable animal production. Biotechnology advances 27: 680-685
  • Defoirdt T, Boon N, Sorgeloos P, Verstraete W, Bossier P 2008. Quorum sensing and quorum quenching in Vibrio harveyi: lessons learned from in vivo work. ISME Journal 2: 19-26
  • Defoirdt T, Boon N, Sorgeloos P, Verstraete W, Bossier P 2007. Alternatives to antibiotics to control bacterial infections - luminescent vibriosis in aquaculture as an example. Trends in Biotechnology 25: 472-479


  • Determination of antibacterial and antibiofilm activity of test compounds or organisms
  • Determination of quorum sensing inhibitory activity of test compounds or organisms (AHL, AI-2, CAI-1, indole)
  • Determination of the capability of test compounds or organisms to inhibit virulence factors (flagellar motility, hemolytic activity, proteolytic activity)
  • Toxicity tests (impact of test compounds on bacterial bioluminescence)
  • Consultancy on microbial management in aquaculture


Web presence