Prof. dr. G Houben

Infection & Immunity

Geert Houben is Principal Scientist Food Allergy and Immunotoxicology at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO, a public law-regulated research and technology organization in the Netherlands. Additionally, he is Professor Food-borne Risk Factors for Allergic and Inflammatory Diseases at the University Medical Center Utrecht and the Faculty of Medicine of the Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Prior to his current positions, he has had various research and management positions at TNO and various research positions at the Utrecht University and the University Medical Center Utrecht. Geert has had the managerial and scientific responsibility for the TNO Food Safety research and services for many years prior to choosing to focus on his scientific career since 2014. Geert was trained as a Biologist and Toxicologist and did his PhD in food immunotoxicology.

Geert’s major scientific specializations are food allergy, food and feed toxicology and immunotoxicology, and particularly risk assessment in these areas. In the early years of this century, he was the first to pioneer in the development and application of probabilistic risk assessment principles in food allergy and his team has been world leading in this area since then. His team hosts the world-wide most complete database with over 3500 threshold datapoints from individual food allergy patients (database jointly owned with the Food Allergy Research and Resources Program (FARRP) of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA) and has been developing and validating food intake databases specifically attuned to the application to food allergy risk assessment. TNO also led the risk assessment and risk management work package of the EU iFAAM project. Another research topic is on the assessment of allergenicity of (novel) food proteins. TNO initiated and chaired the EU Cost Action ImpARAS on this topic and developed a strategy and a machine learning algorithm to assess the allergenicity of (novel) food proteins. A last focus area is on the role of the exposome in inflammatory processes, in particular the development and application of approaches to identify and characterize food-borne risk factors for allergic and inflammatory diseases.

Geert Houben is or was a member of tens of expert groups, advisory boards and committees in the area of toxicology, food safety, immunotoxicology and food allergy. Among others, he was a member of the WHO/IPCS Expert Group for the harmonized guidance development for Immunotoxicity Risk Assessment and the 2020-2023 Ad hoc Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Risk Assessment of Food Allergens. Geert Houben is dedicated to further support the development, application and international harmonization of quantitative approaches in food allergy risk assessment and management and the development of diet-derived interventions in inflammatory diseases.

Risicofactoren in Voeding voor Allergische ziekten en Ontstekingsziekten