prof. Tom Van de Wiele (PhD)

CRIG group leader
Tom Van de Wiele

Principal investigator - Host microbe Interaction Technology group, Center for Microbial Ecology and Technology (UGent)
Associate professor (Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, UGent)


Research focus

My research group is studying host-microbe interactions and works on the development of innovative in vitro technology to mimic host mucosal surfaces. It is at the mucosal interphase that host-microbe interactions are most intense and that a mechanistic understanding of the host-microbe interplay is often lacking. Especially in the context of cancer therapy induced mucositis, the contribution of the microbiome to the etiology and aggravation of mucositis and in the restoration of mucosal barrier integrity is unknown. With its enabling technologies our group facilitates mechanistic research that may help in the diagnosis of mucositis with microbial markers and in the development of novel biostrategies to curb the severity of mucositis.


Tom Van de Wiele is an Associate Professor from the Laboratory of Microbial Ecology and Technology at Ghent University in Belgium.In 2010, he was appointed professor in the domain of gastrointestinal microbial ecology and technology at Ghent University and he became tenured in November 2014. His primary research interests deal with the study of the gut microbiome, 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 is broadly expertised in the in vitro simulation of gastrointestinal digestive processes and the mucosal microenvironment. Using dynamic human gut models such as SHIME®, a wide variety of candidate drugs, functional foods and/or feeds can be screened before a more narrow selection enters the stage of in vivo trials. In addition, SHIME reactor technology is now expanded with mucosal contact surfaces (M-SHIME) and epithelial cell cultures (Host Microbe Interaction module), which allows the study of microbe-host interactions, which are relevant in the field of oral and gastrointestinal mucositis, inflammatory bowel disease or obesity. The research of Tom Van de Wiele has resulted in a scientific output of more than 150 peer-reviewed international publications and the participation as invited speaker in many international conferences. 

Research team

  • prof. Tom Van de Wiele - principal investigator
  • dr. Ludovica Marinelli (PhD) - post-doctoral researcher
  • dr. Marta Calatayud (PhD) - voluntary post-doctoral researcher
  • Pieter De Clercq - doctoral fellow

Key publications

  • Oral microbiota reduce wound healing capacity of epithelial monolayers, irrespective of the presence of 5-fluorouracil. EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE2018. PMID: 29338309
  • 5-Fluorouracil and irinotecan (SN-38) have limited impact on colon microbial functionality and composition in vitro. PEERJ. 2017
  • 5-Fluorouracil sensitivity varies among oral micro-organisms. JOURNAL OF MEDICAL MICROBIOLOGY. 2016
  • Low-dose irradiation affects the functional behavior of oral microbiota in the context of mucositis. EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE , 2016. PMID 26202372
  • Microbiota and their role in the pathogenesis of oral mucositis. ORAL DISEASES   , 2015. PMID 24456144
  • Development of an oral mucosa model to study host-microbiome interactions during wound healing. APPLIED MICROBIOLOGY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY. 2014 PMID  24917376

Contact & links

  • Center of Microbial Ecology and Technology, Room A0.092, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Gent
  • Ghent Gut Inflammation Group
  • Food2Know
  • prof. Van de Wiele is interested to receive invitations for presentations or talks