Veerle Versteirt

Veerle Versteirt

Entomologist
Bio: 

Belgian – PhD – Medical entomologist. Veerle studied biology at Ghent University, Belgium (1995-1999) and has over 12 years of experience in several entomology domains including pest species in forestry, sound management practices in nature conservation and restoration and mosquito monitoring and surveillance. From 1999 till 2006 she worked at the Royal Belgian Institute, gathering experience on the monitoring, ecology and taxonomy/systematics of several insect groups. She started her PhD in 2007 at the Institute of Tropical Medicine on the functional and taxonomic biodiversity of native and invasive mosquitoes in Belgium. She was the daily coordinator of the Belgian mosquito monitoring survey MODIRISK (2007-2011). Main topics included the implementation of a spatial monitoring campaign, the ecology (distribution, seasonal abundance…) and taxonomy of several important invasive and native mosquito species. Field information was used to develop data driven space-time information systems, and thus the prediction of species distribution. This project was the basis for the widely applicable VECMAP information system. In the framework of a national project VIRORISK, she developed risk assessments on the outbreak potential of different vector-borne diseases. She is the contact person for invasive mosquitoes in Belgium and provides input on vector related topics on national level. In 2012 she joined Avia-GIS as Chief Operation Officer of the Precision Pest Management Business Unit. In this function she is in charge of all projects related to the distribution, occurrence and abundance of different vector groups and pest species. She is part of the expert consultancy group on risk of introduction of arboviruses in animals for the Belgian Food Safety Agency and of the invasive mosquito-working group of the Belgian Government.