KU Leuven is the largest university in Belgium in terms of research funding and expenditure, and is a charter member of League of European Research Universities (LERU). KU Leuven conducts fundamental and applied research in all academic disciplines with a clear international orientation. To strengthen international collaboration, KU Leuven has its own international research fellowship programme and supports international scholars in international funding applications. The Centre for Environment and Health (CEH) (coordinating department), part of the Faculty of Medicine KU Leuven, studies the impact of the environment on health and the reverse, how health can affect individuals’ interaction with the environment. CEH has extensive experience in the field of occupational medicine, disability management and Return-To-Work (RTW). The Centre works closely together with the professional and scientific societies in the field of occupational and environmental medicine, toxicology and hygiene.
Lode Godderis is occupational health physician and full professor at CEH of the KU Leuven. The Environment and Health Center is part of KU Leuven Department of Public Health and Primary Care, a multidisciplinary department with a focus on community health, best practice and health policy. He investigates the impact of work on health in workers by unravelling the underlying epigenetic mechanism and the reverse, how health can affect work (dis)ability. Lode Godderis is also the CEO at IDEWE (External Service for Prevention and Protection at Work), a company with over 900 employees; and he is coordinator of several cohorts, such as PRECUBE (occupational and mental health data of workers).
Anke Boone is a Phd researcher working on ‘healthy and work-engaged medical doctors’ at the Centre for Environment and Health at KU Leuven since 2019, under supervision of Prof. Lode Godderis. Her research focuses on burnout prevention among medical students and residents; including the development of preventive interventions to reduce burnout and increase work-engagement through continuous stakeholder involvement. In addition, she is involved in other projects focusing on mental health, wellbeing and burnout in relation with labour market participation; often with a particular focus on health care workers or people with disabilities.
Jelena Bakusic is a medical doctor and a researcher in the CEH of KU Leuven since 2015. She holds a PhD on “Epigenetic changes in burnout”, under supervision of Prof. Lode Godderis, Prof. Wilmar Schaufeli and Prof. Stephan Claes. Apart from that, she was involved in several research projects, including EU-OSHA project “Methodologies to identify work-related diseases – review on sentinel and alert systems”, involving extensive systematic literature review, stakeholder interviews and workshops. She has expertise in both quantitative and qualitative research. Her main research interests are burnout and work-related psychosocial risks.
Marie-Claire Lambrechts After obtaining her bachelor in social work (then called A1 degree) at the Sociale Hogeschool in Leuven, Marie-Claire started working at VAD, the Flemish expertise centre for Alcohol and other Drugs in Brussels. In September 1998, she went to the University of Maastricht, where she obtained her master degree in Health Education and Promotion in January 2003. Meanwhile, she has more than 30 years of experience in advising companies and stakeholders to implement an alcohol and drug policy. Marie-Claire acts as an expert for (inter)national associations with respect to work-related alcohol and drug use. Since 2012, she works part time (initially 20%; 40% since 2016) at the Centre Environment and Health (Department of Public Health and Primary Care) at KU Leuven. In December 2020, she obtained her PhD-degree ‘Substance abuse among the working population in Belgium or should we say: work-related alcohol and drug use?’, under supervision of prof. dr. Lode Godderis.
Olivia Lavreysen obtained her master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at KU Leuven. Since 2022, she has been doing PhD research at the university’s Centre for Environment and Health, under the supervision of Prof. Lode Godderis. Her areas of interest encompass mental health, job retention, and return-to-work, with a focus on the biological mechanisms. Olivia investigates the association between different biological correlates (e.g. stress, epigenetics, inflammation) and burnout risk in medical students and residents. In addition, she is collaborating with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel on the FWO-funded project ‘OPERA’, investigating return-to-work after a biopsychosocial rehabilitation programme for chronic lower back pain.