The driving forces behind the UGent spin-off are Ruben Props (30), Frederiek-Maarten Kerckhof (32) and Nico Boon (46). With KYTOS, they are among the first new residents of Capture, a research center and business incubator located in Zwijnaarde (Flanders) that focuses on the circular use of CO₂, plastic and water. Ruben and Frederiek-Maarten both earned their doctorates from Nico Boon, professor of microbial ecology at the University of Ghent (UGent), one of Flanders’ main universities.
“For 15 years, we have been researching ways to analyze the health of microbial systems,” Nico Boon explains. “Every natural environment – the human body, a plant, a puddle of water, a glass of kombucha – contains an ecosystem of microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and yeasts that keep each other in balance. However, in case of disease or infection, the proportions of microorganisms change. By using microbiome technology, we can monitor these changes – just like a thermometer measures body temperature – and estimate whether there’s an impending problem.”