Team:KU Leuven/Team/Students



Secret garden

Congratulations! You've found our secret garden! Follow the instructions below and win a great prize at the World jamboree!

  • A video shows that two of our team members are having great fun at our favourite company. Do you know the name of the second member that appears in the video?
  • For one of our models we had to do very extensive computations. To prevent our own computers from overheating and to keep the temperature in our iGEM room at a normal level, we used a supercomputer. Which centre maintains this supercomputer? (Dutch abbreviation)
  • We organised a symposium with a debate, some seminars and 2 iGEM project presentations. An iGEM team came all the way from the Netherlands to present their project. What is the name of their city?

Now put all of these in this URL:, (loose the brackets and put everything in lowercase) and follow the very last instruction to get your special jamboree prize!

tree ladybugcartoon


A lot of thank yous!


Working with other teams.


Meet our most generous sponsors!

16 enthusiastic KU Leuven students who don’t mind working the whole summer join hands to kick some ass, iGEM style. It’s a very diverse team consisting of students with different backgrounds. There are 10 guys and 6 girls present with studies in biochemistry, (bio-)engineering, medicine, philosophy and others. The team is supported by former iGEMers and employees from all levels of the KU Leuven.

Group picture

Aurelie picture

Aurelie Lenaerts

Biomedical sciences - Sponsoring & Wiki

Hell’s to the no if it isn’t Aurelie hopping up and down the stairs to get things done. This energetic member of our team will help with anything as long as it’s not taking care of insects. Between seducing sponsors and sparking the interest of young students for synthetic biology she almost made us walk 100 kilometers just to sponsor our iGEM adventure.

Bert Mortier

Chemical Engineering - Modelling & Human Practices

Bert is one tough critic! Everything a KU Leuven iGEMer does/makes/says will be inspected, scrutinised and commented on by Bert. Luckily then, that he is on the Ethics team so that synthetic biology cannot slip by without being inspected in every way possible. Bert is a chemical engineer who is fascinated by biochemistry and microbial life. You can find him working hard at our iGEM office, on his beloved oscillator model.

Bert picture
Flore picture

Flore De Wit

Biochemistry & Biotechnology - Sponsoring & Outreach

With a strong female presence in the KU Leuven iGEM team, Flore is power woman number 1. Flore is studying a Master of Biochemistry and Biotechnology. When she is not busy finding sponsors for the team, she will be busy in the lab and when she has tackled that, you could find her helping the education team out or doing a literature study. On top of that, Flore finds the time to enjoy running, travelling and baking! Showing you the power of Women in Science.

Frederik Meynen

Biochemistry & Biotechnology - Wiki & Outreach

Besides focusing on his Biochemistry and Biotechnology studies, Frederik likes to get lost in the woods and find his way back using a map and a compass. Other hobbies are bragging about the fact that he lives in the same city (read: village) as cyclist Tom Boonen, taking his Gene Technology exam for yet another time and working on our wiki since he loves informatics as well. Actually, in retrospect, we don’t really know why we hang out with him. Oh yeah, probably because he has the most contagious laugh ever known to mankind and he’s a really nice guy to be around.

Frederik picture
Laurens picture

Laurens De Backer

Biochemistry & Biotechnology - Wetlab

This guitar playing rock star is, yes you guessed it, also a Master student in Biochemistry and Biotechnology! Laurens likes to keep us entertained by singing and dancing iGEM medley versions of classics (if you would like to see him in action, join us on facebook or youtube for video uploads!) and in his spare time he likes to come to the lab and help out by singing to some pipets instead. Besides the common Belgian hobby of beer drinking, Laurens is also very interested in signal transduction and cell regulation.

Lukas Marcelis

Medicine - Wetlab & Human Practices

Lukas is for sure the most energetic one of our team! Coordinating the wetlab and discussing (especially ethics) is one of his top favourite occupations this summer. Next to iGEM, this future doctor is also vice-president of the Leuven student-researchers association (LVSO). Next to his 24h science job, he also likes to have fun with his friends and enjoys sausages at the BBQ, combined with some booze. In September, he is planning to go scouting in the Amazon forest.

Lukas picture
Michael picture

Michael Poorthuis

Philosophy - Human Practices

Michael Poorthuis is graduate student in philosophy at the KU Leuven and graduate student in medicine at Utrecht University. He provided an ethical review of our iGEM project of which the leading question was: Are ethics related to technological progress, viz synthetic biology, or is it like a sermon on Sunday, totally separated from everyday reality?

Pieter De Bruyn

Bio-engineering - Wetlab & Communication

Pieter is one of the wetlab boys whose main occupation is to run from one freezer to another. If this student Bio-engineering (Cell and gene technology) is not busy in the wetlab cloning 20 different genes at once, he’s probably sitting quiet in a corner in the iGEM room, making some new memes. When Pieter’s around, you always feel at ease. He is fan of rock music, a good movie and a cooled beer. Combine the last with any of the first two and he’s good to go.

Pieter picture
Robbert picture

Robbert Boudewijns

Biochemistry & Biotechnology - Outreach & Wetlab

Meet Robbert, he will be your guide to the internet. Also, to cats. And funny videos. Next, this Biochemistry & Biotechnology lover also likes to play volleyball, is active in the student movement and often writes texts for the Leuven student newspaper. Oh, and sorry Ke$ha, but the party don't start 'till Robbert walks in.

Saar Vandekeere

Biomedical Sciences - Logistics

Saar is a true jack-of-all-trades. She is perfectly capable of jumping in to help out in the lab when needed, organising great barbecues, she is making sure that we have the most awesome gadgets, the best looking T-shirts and most importantly getting us to Lyon! With her high energy level, there’s no river too deep, no mountain too high and no problem she can’t handle. Thumbs up for the best logistics team member ever!

Saar picture

Sabine picture

Sabine Thieren

Medicine - Outreach & Communication

Sabine is our “education girl” of this summer, which matches perfectly with her dream of becoming a fantastic doctor. Being busy during summers as student-researcher, she still enjoys playing the bassoon in her spare time. Now, she’s keeping herself busy with giving presentations in secondary schools. With her drawing skills, she was even able to create a 3D model of our bacterium, which is now being used during the workshops in schools.

Sander Wuyts

Bio-engineering - Modelling & Logistics

This blonde, confident guy is Sander, also known as Sandieboy. Currently, he is pursuing his Masters degree in Bioscience Engineering: Cell and Gene technology, and he has a big interest in bio-informatics. Whenever he is not reading one article for three days, he is busy with modelling, and trying to create more efficient, dependent feedback mechanisms and interactions between the wetlab and the modelling teams. Sander has a really big temper, but in the weekends he dances all his troubles away, on events like Tomorrowland.

Sander picture
Su picture

Su Wang

Molecular & Cellular Biophysics - Wetlab & Wiki

Su Wang, also known as Dinox, is in his first year of the Master in Molecular and Cellular Biophysics. He is currently proving himself to be quite the animal in the lab! From dawn till dusk you can find Su in the lab, dancing with some pipets. He is one of the most sweetest Chinese we ever met, and likes to please everyone with his golden smile.

Sylvie Weckx

Bio-engineering - Sponsoring, Wetlab & Logistics

Sylvie is the one you really need to pay attention to, since she is the best in persuading you to sponsor the KULeuven iGEM team 2013. Everybody is undoubtedly charmed by her writing skills. In normal daily life, Sylvie studies Bioscience Engineering: Cell and Gene Biotechnology with a minor in Plant Production. For her Master Thesis she will be studying stress in plants. In the little spare time that’s left for her, she likes to go climbing with friends, mountainbiking and snowboarding.

Sylvie picture
Tina picture

Tina Smets

Biomedical Sciences - Modelling & Communication

Tina is, except for being a master student in Biomedical Sciences, also the only woman in our modelling group this year. Thanks to her female influence, all male modellers are doomed to follow a strict time schedule. When she’s not roaming the world of synthetic biology, she often goes swimming or is busy reading books. Interestingly, she has an incomprehensible affection for insects –even loves to eat them as well- and loves to go to metal festivals –completely dressed up.

Tomas Van Pottelbergh

Electrical Engineering - Modelling

Tomas was raised in Geetbets, but came to the big city of Leuven to study Electrical Engineering, minoring in Living Systems. He is a busy bird as he is part of the European students organisation BEST as well as iGEM. Tomas is also exploring the world of entomophagy, although aphids are still not in his every day diet. He is part of the modelling team, where he is busy trying to make a model of the ecology around the bacteria. He has developed a rather special bond with teammate Bert, of which the extent is still a mystery to us.

Tomas picture
Ingmar picture

Ingmar Claes


Ingmar is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre of Microbial and Plant Genetics. After his studies of bio-engineering, he did a PhD on the probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG. In this PhD, he studied the factors determining the probiotic effect of the L. rhamnosus GG in experimental colitis. Interdisciplinary studies were performed combining bacterial genetics and immunology. He always had and still has a profound interest in scientific research, especially linking applied microbiology, mucosal immunology and health issues. The opportunity to guide the students on this iGEM project in a rather new field of synthetic biology looked very appealing and fascinating but also challenging.

Veerle De Wever


Meet Veerle, she loves science but also values non-scientific aspects such as sponsoring, administration, logistics, ... Leuven is her hometown but she went abroad to obtain her PhD in genetics and biochemistry from the University of Vienna (Austria). While doing a postdoc in Canada, she came in contact with iGEM via the Calgary team of 2011, 2012. She was sold immediately and, upon her return to Leuven, more than happy to support the KU Leuven team. Her research interests lie with signal transduction; particularly in response to environmental changes. Currently she is working as a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Prof. Dr. Mathieu Bollen (Dept of Cellular and Molecular Medicine) on protein phosphatases and their roles as master metabolic regulators in health and disease.

Veerle picture
Johan picture

Johan Robben


Professor Dr. Johan Robben is a member of the Department of Chemistry, section Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology at the KU Leuven. He is leading the Laboratory of Molecular and Synthetic Biology which currently focusses on polymerases and artificial nucleic acids. His main expertise is in molecular biology, protein engineering, genomics and proteomics. He was scientific advisor of the KU Leuven iGEM student teams in 2008, 2009 and 2011.

Sam De Vlieger

Philosophy Student

Sam is currently doing a Master in Philosophy at the KU Leuven. As advisor of the iGEM team he hopes to gain an understanding of the scientific process in the field of synthetic biology, and more specifically, the role of ethics within this process.

Sam picture


Other Advisors

Thanks to Misha Soskine for his unending tips, tricks, suggestions, wacky stories and ideas!

The KU Leuven iGEM alumni also came out in full force again - a huge Mexican wave of "thank you hands" goes, in no particular order, to Ruben Ghillebert; Hanne Tytgat; Tom Broeckx for his help to the sponsor team; Marian Crabbe; Lyn Venken; and all others who added in a word of advice through the past months.