Short CV/Education and training


  • 1994
    Bachelor in Mathematics, University of Leuven, Belgium (summa cum laude)

  • 1996
    Teacher Diploma for secondary school, Mathematics, University of Leuven, Belgium (cum laude)

  • 1996
    Master in Mathematics, University of Leuven, Belgium (magna cum laude)

  • 2000
    PhD Studies: 01/10/1996–30/09/2000: 4 hours teaching assistance/week, Public Defence on 30/05/2000 at the University of Leuven, Belgium. Title: “Synthetic spectra of cool stars observed with the Short-Wavelength Spectrometer: improving the models and the calibration of the instrument”. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. C. Waelkens


  • Since 2004
    20% position as external staff member at Sterrenkundig Instituut ‘Anton Pannekoek’,Amsterdam, the Netherlands (secondment’s agreement)

  • Since 2010
    Professor, University of Leuven, Belgium


  • 2000 – 2010
    3 Post-doctoral Fellowships at the Fund for Scientific Research, Belgium

  • 2009
    Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Membership in scientific bodies/juries


  • Member METIS science team, 2014 – now

  • Member UV mag science team, 2013 – now

  • Belgian Science co-I for SPICA/SAFARI (JAXA/ESA), 2012 – now

  • Co-I of the FINESSE NASA Explorer (exoplanet) mission, 2012 – now

  • Member of science working group of EChO (Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory), 2010 – now

  • Member of the European science team of the JWST/MIRI, the ‘Mid-Infrared Instrument’ of ‘James Webb Space Telescope’ (ESA, NASA), coordinating the topic on ’Evolved stars in Nearby Galaxies’, 2009 – now

  • Member phase-A consortium for SPICA/SAFARI (JAXA/ESA), 2008 – now

  • Co-Investigator of Herschel/PACS (ESA): coordinating the Belgian team working on evolved stars. Responsible for the scientific coherence between the PACS and HIFI observations on evolved stars, 2004 – now

  • Co-Investigator of Herschel/HIFI (ESA): coordinating Dutch team working on evolved stars, 2004 – now

  • Member of the European calibration working group (consisting of 8 members) of the JWST/MIRI, the ‘Mid-Infrared Instrument’ of ‘James Webb Space Telescope’ (ESA, NASA), 2004 – now

  • Co-Investigator of PACS and HIFI instruments on board the Herschel satellite (ESA). Member of the PACS calibration group, 2004 – now

  • Member of the calibration group of the ‘Mid-infrared Instrument (MIDI)’ of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the ESO, 2002 – 2004

  • Member of the calibration group of the ‘InfraRed Spectrometer (IRS)’ on board the Spitzer-satellite of the NASA, 2002 – 2006

  • Member of the calibration group of the ‘Short Wavelength Spectrometer (SWS)’ on board the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO)-satellite of the ESA, 1996–2002


  • Member Expert panel of Flemish Fund of Scientific Research, 2014 – now

  • Referee for international journals, 2014 – now

  • Referee for funding agencies: ERC-StG, France Agence Nationale de la Recherche, Swedish, National Space Board, Dutch Scientific Organisation (NWO), STFC-UK, etc., 2014 – now

  • Member of Herschel User Group (HUG, ESA), 2012 – now

  • Member of Time Allocation Committee of ALMA (ESO), 2011 – now

Additional qualifications


  • Supervisor of 8 PhD students, co-supervisor of 9 PhD students. Currently (April 2014) su- pervising 4 PhD students (1 end of contract in 2014) and 5 post-docs (4 end of contract in 2014-2015). The requested ERC budget aims to ensure a European world-leading group in the field of astrochemistry and evolved stars.


  • Teaching several courses at bachelor and master level. Currently teaching courses for a total of 15 ECTS.


  • Member of the Scientific Organising Committee (SOC) of 7 international conferences

  • Chairwoman of 1 international workshop


  • Sectretary of the POC (Permanent Education commission) of the Master of Astronomy & Astrophysics

  • Member of the Departmenetal board, board Young ZAP, board of the faculty of sciences, metaforum Leuven, board of the Institute of Astronomy


  • Collaborations with partners from Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Spain. US, France, Italy, Austria, UK, Mexico, etc.

Soft Skills/Other activities and achievements

Other activities and achievements/family

  • Married with Kristof Dessein since 08/08/1998

  • 3 children: Vere Dessein (2002), Rhune Dessein (2004), Noore Dessein (2006)


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