PROMISE is a collaboration between the University of Antwerp (Department Sociology, Centre for Population, Family and Health) and the Institute of Tropical Medicine (Research Group: Sexual & Reproductive Health).

Institute of Tropical Medicine

Marie Laga

Marie Laga (MD, MSc Epidemiology and PhD) conducts research on HIV and other STIs since the early eighties, in the areas of  sexual transmission, prevention programs for vulnerable groups such as female sex workers, youth, men who have sex with men, and linkages of sexual and reproductive health.

Marie Laga has become a leading expert in HIV prevention, advocating for intensifying HIV prevention worldwide.

Marie is the promoter of PROMISE.

Bea Vuylsteke is an epidemiologist (PhD) with a medical background.

Bea works on HIV prevention methods, including PrEP, among populations with an increased risk for HIV (sex workers, men who have sex with men) in Europe and low-income countries, mainly in West Africa.

Bea is the scientific coordinator of PROMISE.

Christiana Nostlinger is a health psychologist and behavioral scientist. Her areas of expertise include sexual health behavior and its contextual components, as well as the systematic development of health promotion interventions for key affected populations such as young people, men having sex with men, and migrants. Christiana is the supervisor of work package 2.

Thijs Reyniers

Thijs Reyniers is a sociologist with a PhD in health sciences.

As a FWO postdoctoral researcher Thijs mainly works in the domain of HIV prevention and sexual health. His research is mainly focused on the implementation of PrEP in Belgium and West Africa, in particular on the perspective of users and care providers, cultural and social aspects of health and healthcare and mixed methods.

Thijs is the supervisor of WP3 and 4.

Anke Rotsaert has a background in pharmaceutical sciences and is currently being trained in public health. She worked in low-and middle income countries for Doctors without Borders and is now working on HIV prevention, with a particular focus on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

Anke is the junior researcher for WP3.

Jef Vanhamel was trained as a medical doctor at KU Leuven and received a postgraduate diploma in Tropical Medicine and International Health at ITM.

Jef focuses on PrEP care options and is mainly interested in how the position of PrEP within the Belgian health system could be optimized.

Jef works as the junior researcher for WP4.

Ella Van Landeghem has a background in sociology and health promotion (MSc). Her research interests include social inequalities in health, SRHR and migration as a social determinant of health. Right now she mainly focuses on hiv-prevention in vulnerable migrant groups and qualitative methods.

Ella works as the junior researcher for WP2.

Thibaut Vanbaelen is a general practitioner by training and later obtained a certificate ‘Tropical Medicine and International Health Care’ at ITM. He has worked in the STD clinic and travel clinic of the CHU Saint-Pierre in Brussels.

Thibaut is now working as a junior researcher with a focus on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and sexually transmitted diseases.

Thibaut works as junior researcher for WP3.

Heleen Van Mieghem is a general practitioner and graduated in ‘International Health Care and Tropical Medicine’ at ITM and later at the Dutch Training Institute IGT. For years she worked as a doctor in various hospitals in Africa. Back in Belgium, she started working for Violett, a non-profit organisation that provides medical assistance to sex workers. 

As a junior researcher for PROMISE, Heleen will focus on PrEP for the specific target group of sex workers.

Gert Scheerder has a background in health psychology with a PhD in medical sciences.

He started at the Flemish Institute of Health Promotion, then made a PhD at LUCAS center for care research (Catholic University of Leuven). The last few years he worked at Sensoa (Flemish Expertise Center for Sexual Health).

Gert is the project and valorisation manager of PROMISE.

University of Antwerp

Edwin Wouters is a medical sociologist (PhD) and professor at the University of Antwerp, with a local and international research focus on the social aspects of health.

Specific research interests are HIV, tuberculosis, chronic diseases, sexual and mental health.

Edwin is the co-promoter of PROMISE and in charge of WP1.

Veerle Buffel is a health sociologist and works as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Antwerp.

Methodologically Veerle has mainly expertise in quantitative research methods and on the theoretical side her interests lie mainly in sexual and mental health, care and medicine use, medicalisation, health economics and primary care.

Veerle is also a researcher for WP1 and works on the quantitative part of the research.

Caroline Masquillier (PhD) works as a FWO postdoctoral researcher at the University of Antwerp.

Her research focuses on the social aspects of the HIV epidemic in South Africa, children with a disability in Uganda and PrEP use by men who have sex with men  in Belgium.

Caroline works as researcher for WP1 and is mainly focused on the qualitative part.

Estrelle Thunnissen is a cultural sociologist (PhD student at the University of Antwerp) with a research focus on sexual culture and gender.

Current research interests are the Flemish nightlife culture of men who have sex with men and the process of signification of sex and prevention. For PROMISE Estrelle analyses the impact of PrEP on sex of men who have sex with men.

Estrelle is the junior researcher for WP1 and focuses both on the qualitative and the quantitative part.