Anne A.M.J. Becker, DVM, MSc, PhD
Originally from Belgium, Dr. Anne Becker studied veterinary medicine at Ghent University, specializing in research with field projects in Ethiopia focusing on Zebu cattle health in eroded habitats. She completed thereafter a PhD in Microbial Ecology, with research on the diversity and dynamics of the gut microbiome of cheetahs and its implications for cheetah health and conservation.
Dr. Becker joined RUSVM in 2016 and continued studying diverse animal microbiomes and their role in animal health and conservation. She has a passion for coral disease ecology and studies coral health and disease dynamics on the reefs off St Kitts and Nevis. She systematically investigates the diversity and function of coral microbiomes using large-scale DNA sequencing techniques, thereby spearheading microbiome research at RUSVM.
Whenever she is not out in the ocean or in the laboratory studying coral-associated microscopic life-forms, she can be found teaching the courses ‘Introduction to Microbiology’, ‘Principles of Infectious Diseases’, and ‘Bacteriology & Mycology’.
Her interests further encompass science communication and outreach. She developed a course on Scientific Writing and Communication tailored to the students in the RUSVM program MSc One Health and is regularly involved in different science outreach projects.
Doctor in Veterinary sciences (PhD)
Laboratory of Microbiology, Faculty of Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium
Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Belgium
Master in Veterinary Sciences (DVM, MSc)
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Belgium
Qualified Teachers Training for Higher Education (MSc)
Faculty of Psychology and Pedagogic Science, Ghent University, Belgium
- Scientific Advisor for the Caribaea Initiative
- Member of the Caribaea Initiative (caribaea.org)
- Member of the Association of Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean (AMLC) (amlc-carib.org)
- PADI Rescue Diver
- PLoS Early Career Travel Award (2017)
- Postdoctoral fellowship (2016-2017, One Health Center for Zoonoses and Tropical Medicine, RUSVM)
- ESVN-Waltham Research Grant (2013-2014, UK)
- Fellowship Training Grant for wildlife studies (2011-2013, Morris Animal Foundation, US)
My main research interest is coral microbial ecology and coral disease dynamics. Unraveling the relationship of coral-associated microorganisms to each other, the coral host, and to their environment will help us tackle a broad range of challenges in coral disease ecology as well as improve strategies for safeguarding coral reef ecosystems.
- Coral microbiomes
- Coral diseases
- Microbial diversity and dynamics
- Host-microbe interactions
- Conservation biology and ecosystem functioning
- Microbiome of invasive species on St Kitts (vervet monkeys, mongooses)
- Coral microbial communities associated with diverse pathological macroscopic and microscopic lesions
- Nutritional modulation of the vulture gut microbiome in captivity
Whitehouse-Tedd K, Dierenfeld ES, Becker AAMJ, Huys G, Depauw S, Kerr KR, Williams J, Janssens GPJ (2017). Nutritional Considerations for Captive Cheetahs. In: Cheetahs: Biology and Conservation. Editors: Laurie Marker, Lorraine Boast, Anne Schmidt-Kuentzel. ISBN: 978-01-2804-088-1
Short-list of articles:
Becker AAMJ, Hill KC, Butaye P (2021). Unraveling the gut microbiome of the invasive small Indian mongoose (Urva auropunctata) in the Caribbean. Microorganisms 9, 465.
Dennis MM, Becker AAMJ, Freeman MA (2020). Pathology of multifocal purple spots, a nonspecific lesion morphology of Caribbean sea fans Gorgonia spp. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 141, 79-89.
Becker AAMJ, Harrison SWR, Whitehouse-Tedd G, Budd JA, Whitehouse-Tedd KM (2020). Integrating gut bacterial diversity and captive husbandry to optimize vulture conservation. Frontiers in Microbiology 11:1025.
Conan A, Becker AAMJ, Alva V, Chapwanya A, Carter J, Roman K, Avsaroglu H, Gallagher C (2020). Detection of Coxiella burnetiid antibodies in sheep and cattle on a veterinary campus in St Kitts: implications for one health in the Caribbean region
Becker AAMJ, Rajeev S, Freeman MA, Beierschmitt A, Savinon V, Wulcan JM & Bolfa P. (2019). Extraintestinal Acanthocephalan Oncicola venezuelensis (Oligacanthorhynchidae) in Small Indian Mongooses (Herpestes auropunctatus) and African Green Monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus). Veterinary Pathology
Becker AAMJ, Janssens GPJ, Snauwaert C, Hesta M, Huys G (2015) Integrated community profiling indicates long-term temporal stability of the predominant faecal microbiota in captive cheetahs. PloS One 10 e:0123933
Becker AAMJ, Hesta M, Hollants J, Janssens GPJ, Huys G (2014) Phylogenetic analysis of faecal microbiota from captive cheetahs reveals underrepresentation of Bacteroidetes and Bifidobacteriaceae. BMC Microbiology 14:43
Brinkman B, Becker A, Ayiseh R, Hildebrand F, Raes J, Huys G, Vandenabeele P (2013) Gut microbiota affects sensitivity to acute DSS-induced colitis independently of host genotype. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases 19, 2560-2567.
Music, science or both? Being the daughter of a pianist and growing up in a house that was steeped in music, Dr. Becker often felt torn between both. Although her fascination for science won out, her passion for music remained and she is an enthusiast pianist, cellist and flautist. During her studies veterinary medicine, she founded the Ghent University Wind Ensemble and is proud this orchestra nowadays provides over 80 students the opportunity to have a musical outlet throughout their studies.