Prof Sofie Bekaert
Prof. Sofie Bekaert was trained as a doctor in Applied Biological Engineering. After 10 y of research, setting up a research platform on biological aging, next generation sequencing and biomarkers, she became valorization and innovation manager at Ghent University. In 2010 Sofie Bekaert has initiated Bimetra (www.bimetra.be), the Clinical Research Center of Ghent University Hospital (UZGent) in collaboration with Ghent University (UGent). As the head of Bimetra, she has the responsibility over ~ 25 coworkers in the daily management of the central point of contact for different aspects of translational biomedical research. Bimetra wants to reinforce the leading scientific position of the UZGent and UGent, by creating a solid integrated service platform where clinicians and researchers can focus on translating their research into novel (healthcare) application in optimal circumstances. As facilitating Central Point of Contact (CPOC) for translational biomedical research and in close collaboration with a central TechTransfer Office, legal and finance departments and a Research Coordination department it facilitates researchers throughout the translational process, namely in funding opportunities, IP, valorization, clinical trial management and contracts and translational data management. The Bimetra Biobank is a novel high quality controlled biobank facility, operational since 2015 and bringing together several biobank collections (~70.000 annotated sampled) and initiatives (Belgian Virtual Tumourbank, Flemish Biobank Network and local strategic collections). The last 7 years Bimetra has been closely involved in the Translational Medicine initiatives from both the Flemish and Federal governments in Belgium and within the context of the European H2020 programs. Prof. Bekaert is part-time senior lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and is co-author of over 50 peer-review articles. Prof. Bekaert is liaising to strategic translational initiatives concerning biobanking and clinical research and innovation, both at the regional and (inter)national level and in close collaboration with governmental bodies. She has become an ESBB member from the start, and participated to different workshops and initiatives. Recently, Sofie Bekaert was appointed as the president of the Board of directors of the BBMRI.be, in addition she is co-leading/involved in several working groups e.g. stakeholder involvement, ELSI, networking and valorization.