- Users of research expertise:
Leen Rigouts graduated as a Master in Biological Science in 1987, and successfully completed a postgraduate course on Tropical Medicine (ITM) in 1988.
In 1989 she joined the Unit of Mycobacteriology at ITM, and executed various studies on serological diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB), identification of mycobacteria by fatty-acid analyses, and molecular epidemiology of bovine and human TB. The latter was the subject of her PhD thesis defended in 2000.
Since then she supervised and accomplished studies covering various aspects of human and bovine TB:
Molecular epidemiology studies on reinfection versus reactivation, prevalence of multiple M. tuberculosis infections, and transmission rates among MDR and non-MDR TB
Drug-resistance studies on its prevalence and incidence various geographic regions, rapid detection of drug resistance by molecular tools, development of drug-resistance, resistance to second-line drugs, and alternative ways for TB treatment
Studies on the zoonotic aspect of bovine TB
Studies investigating social aspects of TB
These projects were conducted in collaboration with Belgian and international universities and research centers, as well as some non-governmental organizations. Research activities are currently conducted in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Georgia, Ethiopia and Peru, with a strong focus on drug resistance mechanisms.
In 2004, the Unit of Mycobacteriology obtained the ISO15189 accreditation for clinical laboratories and successfully maintained it thereafter under Leen Rigout’s leadership. Leen was actively involved in designing the new L2/L3 facilities for TB, and writing the respective biosafety guidelines. This expertise is now frequently consulted by international collaborating centers. She is member of various scientific expert committees like BELTA-TBnet and the New Diagnostic Working Group of the StopTB Partnership.
In 2011, part of the unit’s research collection became publically available through the ISO9001-certified BCCM/ITM mycobacterial culture collection, managed by Leen Rigouts.
Since 2008 she is professor in tropical infectious diseases at the University of Antwerp (UA), and from the start at ITM she was mentor of many bachelor and master student. Under her promotorship, two students have graduated as PhD, and about 6 are currently being supervised and guided.