Symposium "Health challenges of the 21st century"

Last updated on 14-11-2022 by Daisy Tysmans

Thu, 08/12/2022 - 09:00 to 17:30

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Through this new Symposium “Health challenges of the 21st century”, Sciensano aims to highlight different areas of its research, and encourage you to interact with us.

The themes selected for this first edition are:

  • Crisis preparedness/Innovation
  • One Health
  • Food security and health

You can attend the event onsite or online via Webex. Participants registering for online participation will receive a link a few days before the symposium.  If you register for onsite participation, and realize later that you will not be able to attend on site, we expect you to notify this as soon as possible via mail at, in order to avoid that you take the place of another participant that would like to be present. Online participation will still be possible in that case.

A limited number of parking places are available on site. Those who would like to reserve one, please contact

We’re looking forward to meeting you at this symposium!


09h00-09h15    Welcome coffee     
09h15-09h20    Opening of the symposium by the president | Sofie De Broe
09h20-09h50    Welcome by the general director Christian Leonard
09h50-10h00    Opening speeches by the responsible ministers | Frank Vandenbroucke and David Clarinval
10h00-11h00    Exposome: Where chemistry meets biology | Roel Vermeulen
11h00-11h30    Coffee break     
11h30-12h30    SESSION I: Crisis preparedness / innovation     

  • New monitoring systems and data
    • Never waste a good crisis, the impact of COVID-19 on infectious disease surveillance in Belgium | Dieter Van Cauteren
    • Wastewater surveillance of COVID-19, and future application | Raphaël Janssens 
    • The collection and management of real world data for public health policy: past, present and future of the platform | Johan Van Bussel     
  • Emerging diseases
    • Preparedness for emerging vector-borne diseases: Japanese encephalitis virus interactions with indigenous mosquitoes and pigs | Nick De Regge
    • Zoonotic potential of the circulating highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza viruses | Mieke Steensels

12h30-12h45    Questions and Answers (moderated by scientific board)     
12h45-14h00    Walking LUNCH/Demonstrations Technology@sciensano
14h00-14h45    Session II: One Health

  • Biodiversity in the OH programme: (un)healthy nature? | Raf Aerts | Steven Van Gucht
  • Combining virus genomes and epidemiological tracing to understand an unexpectedly severe outbreak of avian influenza in poultry | Steven van Borm
  • Vaccines: major contributors to global health which improve the quality of life | Koen Brusselmans

14h45-15h00    Questions and Answers (moderated by scientific board)     
15h00-15h30    Coffee break     
    Session III: Food safety and Health

  • Presence of PFASs in the food chain: Role of Sciensano in the recent crisis | Laure Joly
  • Susceptibility of vulnerable populations to foodborne illness | Koenraad Van Hoorde
  • Healthy ageing and the food environment: Current evidence and future directions | Stefanie Vandevijvere

16h15-16h30    Questions and Answers 

  • Q&A Session 1 : Francoise Vanbambeke and Niko Speybroeck
  • Q&A Session 2: Kris Vanhaecht and Geert Leroux-Roels
  • Q&A Session 3: Laurent Gillet and Eric Cox   

16h30-16h35    Closing remarks     
16h35-17h30    Drinks and networking

All the powerpoint presentation will be available online after the event.



BEL Brussels, 86C Avenue du Port
1000 Bruxelles


Free but registration mandatory (both for on site and for online participation)

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Deadline: 25-11-2022
Registrations are closed

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