The HELICON consortium constitutes a complementary and interdisciplinary group of researchers, some of them pioneers in their field of research. The consortium covers the different scientific disciplines of the project. Indeed, considering the surge of corona patients and fatalities, a broad clinical, epidemiological, socio-economic and demographic perspective is imperative to fully grasp the indirect and long-term impact of COVID-19 on the health status of the Belgian population.

Project partners

Koen Blot
Koen Blot | Sciensano, Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases

Koen Blot is a general internal medicine physician with an interest in critical care and infectious diseases. He holds a PhD in Medicine on healthcare-associated infections. Currently, he is coordinating the surveillance of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Lisa Cavillot
Lisa Cavillot | UCLouvain, Institute of Health and Society

Lisa Cavillot is a PhD student at the Institute of Health and Society (IRSS) of the Université catholique de Louvain, and Sciensano. She has a bachelor degree's in occupational therapy and a master's degree in Epidemiology and health economics from the Faculty of Public Health of the University of Liège.

Robby De Pauw
Robby De Pauw | Sciensano, Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases

Robby De Pauw is a scientist at Sciensano since 2020, and a post-doctoral researcher at Ghent University since 2019. He achieved an MSc in Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation sciences, an MSc in Statistical Data analysis, and a PhD in Health Sciences. At Sciensano, he is currently involved in the surveillance of immunity in blood donors, and in the hospital clinical surveillance and surge capacity team. He is also involved in different data linkage projects. His main topics of interest are COVID-19, chronic pain, and applied statistical models of disease dynamics. In that context, his favorite quote is "Life is a sexually transmitted disease, of which the mortality rate is one hundred percent." by R. D. Laing.

Delphine De Smedt
Delphine De Smedt | UGent, Department of Public Health and Primary Care

Delphine De Smedt is assistant professor at Ghent University, experienced in health economics and epidemiology. Her main research interest are related to health-related quality of life, chronic disease burden and health economic evaluations. Delphine De Smedt is national coordinator of the EUROASPIRE V survey, which has the aim to assess whether the guidelines on cardiovascular prevention are being followed in clinical practice. In addition, she is the main supervisor of the QAPICHE study, which has the aim to investigate the health-related quality of life in adults with chronic diseases. Furthermore, she is actively involved in the research activities of the European Society of Cardiology. Delphine holds a PhD degree in Medical Sciences, and MSc degrees in Business Economics and Biomedical Sciences.

Brecht Devleesschauwer
Brecht Devleesschauwer | Sciensano, Lifestyle and Chronic Diseases

Brecht Devleesschauwer is senior epidemiologist at Sciensano and visiting professor in Risk Analysis at Ghent University. He conducts policy-driven public health research in the domain of composite measures of population health and health inequalities. Currently, he is coordinator of the Belgian National Burden of Disease Study and Chair of the European Burden of Disease Network (COST Action CA18218). Brecht holds PhD degrees in Public Health and Veterinary Sciences, and MSc degrees in Biostatistics and Veterinary Medicine.

Jinane Ghattas
Jinane Ghattas | UCLouvain, Institute of Health and Society

Jinane Ghattas is a PhD student and teaching assistant at the Institute of Health and Society (IRSS) and the Faculty of Public Health at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain). She holds a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy (Lebanese International Univesity) and a master’s degree in public health with a focus on advanced statistical methods and health policy (UCLouvain). Her main topics of interest are health inequalities, social determinants of health and knowledge translation.

Sylvie Gadeyne
Sylvie Gadeyne | VUB, Interface Demography

Sylvie Gadeyne is an associate professor Demography, Social Epidemiology and Methodology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Her main research domain relates to socio-economic (SE) inequalities in health and mortality in Belgium and Europe. Currently, she is promotor of an FWO-funded project on SE differences in cancer incidence and survival in Belgium (2018-2021) and of the Innoviris-funded Green&Quiet project concerning the association between environmental quality and health within an intersectional approach. Lately, she also has became involved in research on residential segregation, African migration, fertility in sub-Saharan Africa and estimation of non-registered populations.

Yasmine Khan
Yasmine Khan | UGent, Department of Public Health and Primary Care

Yasmine Khan is a PhD student in epidemiology at Ghent University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and a master’s degree in public health from UCLouvain where she studied advanced statistical methods. Her master’s thesis consisted of a scientific article assessing the determinants of risk of burnout among nurses during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Belgium. She is now publishing it in the Journal of Clinical Nursing as well as the Belgian Nursing Association (ACN) journal.

Niko Speybroeck
Niko Speybroeck | UCLouvain, Institute of Health and Society

Niko Speybroeck is Professor of epidemiology at the Institute of Health and Society (IRSS) and the Faculty of Public Health at the Université catholique de Louvain where he is teaching epidemiology and medical statistics. The main research interests of Prof. Speybroeck are quantitative epidemiology and the study of infectious diseases. The expertise can be summarized with following key words: Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Modelling, Health and economic burden, Global Health, and Infectious diseases. Niko holds a PhD degree (UGent) and MSc degrees in Biostatistics (UHasselt) and Bioengineering (UGent).

Laura Van den Borre
Laura Van den Borre | VUB, Interface Demography

Laura Van den Borre is a postdoctoral researcher at Interface Demography (Vrije Universiteit Brussel). Laura holds a MSc and PhD degree in Sociology. In her doctoral dissertation, she investigated occupational health and mortality risks for a large number of occupations including asbestos workers, cleaners and teachers. As a post-doctoral researcher, Laura gained experience in labor force mobility, demographic projections and research data infrastructures. Her research interests include population health, social inequality and occupational epidemiology.

Sophie Vandepitte
Sophie Vandepitte | UGent, Department of Public Health and Primary Care

Sophie Vandepitte works as a doctor-assistant at Ghent University at the department of Public Health and Primary Care. She holds a PhD degree in Health Sciences and a MSc degree in Health Promotion. During her PhD trajectory she focused on informal care in dementia from a health economic perspective. Currently she works on several projects in the domain of health and well-being economics that are mainly focused on health economic evaluations, subjective well-being, well-being at work and the societal impact of COVID-19.

Wim Van Lancker
Wim Van Lancker | KU Leuven, Centre for Sociological Research

Wim Van Lancker is an assistant professor of social work and social policy, affiliated with the Centre for Sociological Research (CESO) at the University of Leuven. His research agenda is focused on social and family policies, poverty and social inequality, the design and effectiveness of social policy measures, and the effectiveness of social work interventions. Currently, he is co-PI of the COVIVAT research consortium ( in which empirical research is conducted to estimate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on incomes and the income distribution. He holds a PhD in the social sciences from the University of Antwerp. More information at

Christophe Vanroelen
Christophe Vanroelen | VUB, Interface Demography

Christophe Vanroelen is associate professor and the director of Interface Demography, a research centre connected to the Department of Sociology of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He holds a Phd in social health sciences and master degrees in sociology and applied social science statistics. He collaborated in several scientific research projects regarding socio-economic health inequalities, work-related health and job quality. His current research focuses predominantly on the quality of work and employment as determinants of health and well-being among workers.

Katrien Vanthomme
Katrien Vanthomme | UGent, Department of Public Health and Primary Care

Katrien Vanthomme is currently working as a guest professor at the Department of Public Health and Primary Care of Ghent University and as a postdoctoral researcher at the Sociology Department of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She has a strong research expertise in the area of social inequalities in health and mortality, with an important focus on cancer as an outcome.

Nick Verhaeghe
Nick Verhaeghe | UGent, Department of Public Health and Primary Care

Nick Verhaeghe is assistant professor in health economics at the Health Economics Unit at Ghent University and research manager ‘Health Economics’ at the Research Institute for Work and Society (HIVA) at KU Leuven. He holds a PhD degree in Social Health Sciences and a MSc degree in Health Care Management and Policy. He conducts research in the field of health economics including health economic evaluation studies, social cost studies and studies related to the financing of health care in a national and international context.


HELICON is funded by the Belgian Federal Science Policy (BELSPO) through the BRAIN-be 2.0 (2018-2023) programme.

BRAIN-be logoBELSPO logo

Information sheet for participants: EN • NL • FR

Project coordinator

Prof. dr. Brecht Devleesschauwer

Sciensano, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Service Health Information