Prof. Dr. em. Karel Kersters

Prof. Dr. em. Karel Kersters's picture
Research activities: 

Emeritus Prof. Dr. Karel Kersters was born in Antwerpen, Belgium, the 18th of January 1938. He studied zoological sciences and obtained in 1964 a PhD degree at the University of Gent. The subject of his PhD thesis concerned the enzymology of the oxidation of polyhydroxyalcohols by acetic acid bacteria. He performed part of this research at the Department of Biochemistry, Michigan State University, East Lansing (USA). His career at the Laboratory of Microbiology (Faculty of Sciences, University of Gent) started in 1959, first as assistant, later as associate professor and finally as full professor (1990 – 1998).

The research of K. Kersters focused first on comparative biochemistry and enzymology of various bacteria and later on polyphasic taxonomy and phylogeny of prokaryotes such as plant pathogenic bacteria, pseudomonads, various Proteobacteria of clinical and veterinary interest and lactic acid bacteria. He introduced techniques of numerical taxonomy in the Laboratory of Microbiology and his research group developed and applied computer-assisted techniques for the comparison of protein electrophoretic fingerprints in bacterial classification, identification and typing.

Prof. K. Kersters teached several courses in microbiology at the Faculty of Sciences and was also Director of the BCCMTM/LMG Bacteria Collection (1989 – 1998). He has been invited to participate in many congresses, symposia and international workshops. In 1996 he obtained the Bergey Award (Bergey’s Manual Trust, USA) in recognition of outstanding contributions to bacterial taxonomy.

During his academic career Prof. K. Kersters was supervisor of some 20 PhD theses, published more than 250 papers in peer reviewed journals and books, and participated in various national and European research projects. He was member of the editorial board of some microbiological journals and is member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and Arts.