Executive Team

Michel GoldmanPresident and founding Director
Michel Goldman, MD, PhD, is the founder and the President of the I³h Institute and Professor of Immunology and Pharmacotherapy at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). He was the Executive Director of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) from 2009 to 2014. Previously, he served as Head of the Department of Immunology at Erasme Hospital and was the first Director of the Institute for Medical Immunology (ULB).

Michel Goldman’s scientific achievements resulted in an ISI Highly Cited Scientist nomination in 2006 by the Thomson Institute for Scientific Information. In 1992, Michel Goldman received the Medical Prize Lucien Steinberg (shared with Pr. Peter Piot) and in 2000 the Quinquiennal Prize of the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research for Clinical Sciences. He held the Francqui Chair at the University of Namur in 1999, at the University of Liège in 2003, and the Spinoza chair at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands in 2001. In 2007, Michel Goldman was awarded the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Lille, France.

Mathias DewatripontCo-director
Mathias Dewatripont holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University (1986). Since 1990, he has been Professor of Economics at ULB affiliated with its Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (SBS-EM) and ECARES.
Between 1998 and 2011, he was part-time Visiting Professor at MIT and Research Director of CEPR. Laureate of the 1998 Francqui Prize and of the 2003 Yrjo Jahnsson Prize for Economics, he was a founding member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council (2007-2012). He is a member of the Académie Royale De Belgique and Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Science. He is also Honorary Vice-Governor of the National Bank of Belgium, where he served between 2011 and 2017.

He has widely published in the areas of contract theory, organization economics, innovation, and banking and finance. Between April 2020 and March 2022, he was involved in expert groups advising the Belgian authorities on its covid management strategy. In 2023, he was elected Foreign Honorary Member of the American Economic Association.

Hilde StevensCo-director and Professor of Health Innovation & Society
Hilde Stevens, PhD, senior researcher and lecturer at the I³h Institute, holds the Interfaculty Chair in Health Innovation & Society, supported by the ULB’s Faculty of Medicine and the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (SBS-EM). She coordinates the Interdisciplinary Program in Healthcare Innovation, organized for Master students, PhD students and postdocs from all (Belgian) universities as well as for professionals. She focuses her research on collaborative innovation models, intellectual property (IP) and mechanisms governing access to medicines in the least developed countries (LDCs). Hilde particularly focuses on the governance and performance of public-private partnerships and their added value in the acceleration of innovative therapy development.

Hilde has been Academic Coordinator, Treasurer and Vice-chair in ENP Belgium (2016-2020), the Belgian Patient Platform, supported by EUPATI (European Patients’ Academy on Therapeutic Innovation). There she laid the foundation for her work on patient-centricity.

She holds a Master Degree in Biomedical Science (Ghent University, Belgium), a Master Degree in General Management (Vlerick Business School, Belgium), Master Degree in Intellectual Property (IP) Law (Brussels University, Belgium) and a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Leuven (Belgium). Hilde worked as a science consultant (Altran) and was a patent engineer for several years (BiIP).

Micael CastanheiraLead Investigator
Micael Castanheira is Research Director at the Belgian National Science Foundation. He obtained his Ph.D. in Economics from the ULB. He was a post-doctoral fellow at Bocconi University and a visiting fellow at NYU.

His research focuses mainly on political economics and economic policy, one application of the latter being competition in the pharmaceutical market. He also worked on economic reforms (tax, pensions, institution building). Previously, he acted as an economic expert for a multinational enterprise, for the OECD, and for the World Bank. He sits on the scientific board of the National Bank of Belgium and of the Belgian Price Observatory.

Philip VergauwenLead Investigator
Mr. Philip Vergauwen was the Dean of the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (SBS-EM), Université libre de Bruxelles. Previously, he chaired the University Council in Maastricht and was the Dean of Hasselt and Maastricht University. He has a significant international experience in accreditation (Equis and AACSB), was AACSB Board member. He has a clear vision of internationalisation and a solid international network.
Caroline Van SwietenEducational Program - Communication and External Relations Manager
Caroline joined the Institute as Coordinator of the Educational Program. She started her career in Microfinance and Banking in Africa and Belgium. Most recently, she worked as a project and account manager in a communication agency. Then she gained experience in European Affairs and events management as Partnership Manager for the European Business Summit.

Caroline holds a Master’s degree in International Management with a specialization in Economics of Developing Countries from Ichec Brussels Management School. She is currently enrolled in an second Master’s degree in Population and Development Sciences at ULB.

Naomi Friedlaender Communication and Administrative Assistant
Naomi joined the Institute in September 2022 as Communication and Administrative Assistant.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy (New York University). As a student, she held several internships in the public and non-profit sectors. Prior to joining I3h, she worked as an Assistant Restaurant Manager, as well as in the philanthropic sector as Grant Manager.

Marie NeunezPh.D. Student
Marie Neunez, Ir, is a PhD student at the Faculty of Medicine thanks to the Belgian Kids’ Fund for Pediatric Research and a Master student in medicine at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Previously she was a part-time research assistant for 3 years at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Innovation in healthcare (I3h). She was a Clinical Research Coordinator for 2 years in the departments of Nuclear Medicine & Radiotherapy at the Institut Jules Bordet (IJB). She also performed a 5-months internship at BASF SE (Mannheim, Germany) in the Human Health & Nutrition department.

Marie holds a MSc degree in bioengineering with a specialization in Science, Technology and Quality of Food (UCL, Belgium), a Postgraduate degree in Management (ICHEC Business Management School, Belgium) and a certificate in Clinical Studies (Cefochim, Belgium).

Ilaria NataliPh.D. Student
Ilaria Natali is a Ph.D. student at i3health and ECARES (Université Libre de Bruxelles). She holds a bachelor and master’s degree in Economics from the University of Florence and a Research Master’s degree in Economics from the ULB.

Her research interests lie at the intersection of Health Economics and Industrial Organization. Her current research agenda focuses on the socioeconomic and regulatory determinants of opioid analgesic consumption in France and on the role of pharmaceutical advertising. Her latest research project, for instance, studies how the impact of regulatory levers intended to limit opioid use differs across geographical areas depending on their local economic environment. Her future research will assess how pharmaceutical companies’ marketing strategies are modified in response to such regulatory shocks.

Sanae AkodadPh.D. Student
Sanae Akodad holds a Master’s Degree in Biomedical and specialised during her studies in neurosciences.
She is a research fellow at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Innovation in healthcare where she is achieving a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences.
She works as an assistant at the Faculty of Medicine of the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Prior to this, she was a science teacher at the College Saint Pierre.
Her research focuses on health economics and cognitive neurosciences in the field of rare diseases.
Shiri MermelsteinPh.D. Student
Shiri Mermelstein is a PhD candidate at I3h and the Solvay School of Economics and Management. She completed her graduate studies in Global Health at Trinity College Dublin and her undergraduate studies in Cognitive Sciences and Amirim Interdisciplinary Programme in the Humanities at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Prior to her position at I3h, she was a research and teaching assistant at the Centre for Global Health at Trinity College and worked as an analyst for a small consultancy firm in Israel, conducting research for med-tech startups and assisting them in securing innovation and knowledge transfer grants from local and international governmental sources. Previously, she was a clinical research assistant and coordinator for 3 years at the Sagol Brain Institute at Tel Aviv Medical Center. Her current research explores the relationship between innovation policies, alternative IP models and global diffusion and affordability of new and existing health technologies.
Atul SangithPh.D. Student
Atul Sangith is a PhD candidate at I3h and the Solvay School of Economics and Management. Atul has a background in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani, India and Global Health from Maastricht University, the Netherlands.
Prior to joining I3h, Atul worked as a Program Associate with the global health NGO – PATH, in program planning and implementation of Covid-19 and Digital Health projects in India. He also has research experience in digital health and health promotion through eHealth projects with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, working on projects in designing healthcare apps and work experience in market research in oncology and antibiotic markets. He has been involved with voluntary health organizations in Tanzania and Nepal in telemedicine and health systems strengthening.
With research interests in access to medicines and healthcare program implementation, Atul’s present research focuses on collaborative models in healthcare to improve access to vaccines in Low-and-Middle Income Countries, particularly in Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Xixian NiuPh.D. Student
Xixian Niu is a PhD student at I3h and ECARES (Université libre de Bruxelles). He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematical statistics from Xiamen University, a joint master’s degree from Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University and UCLouvain, and is in the process of obtaining a research master’s degree from ECARES.

His research interest lies in the intersection of health economics and industrial organization. He is currently involved in the Hi-Prix project (Health innovation next generation pricing models: Balancing sustainability of innovation with sustainability of health care). His current research focuses on policy analysis on orphan regulation in the EU, orphan drugs’ market and innovation in pharmaceutical industry, e.g., the role of academia, biotech and big pharma companies in the whole development process of medicine.

Gaël LibertPh.D. Student
Gaël Libert holds a Master’s Degree in Medicine (ULB) and a Specialized Master in General Medicine (ULB).
He started his research in 2018 and focuses on the “Development of an interdisciplinary model of prescription management in the elderly”. His work is based on field practice, with a predominant use of qualitative studies. The research topics are: improving the quality of prescribing in the elderly, interdisciplinary collaboration around their medication and defining the roles of health care providers in this context.
He also has a Interuniversity Certificate in sports medicine and physiotherapy (ULG/UCL).
His current activities combine general practice and sports medicine, medical research and family planning consulting.