Veerle Reumers, Ph.D., calls the Florida High Tech Corridor region “home,” but that has not always been the case.
Born and raised in Belgium, Veerle remained in her home country to attend college at the University of Leuven, earning both her master’s and doctorate degrees in biomedical sciences. She moved to the U.S. briefly while conducting postdoctoral research on molecular imaging techniques in neurosciences at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
Then, Veerle jumped at the chance to return home and start her career at the headquarters for imec, a global hub with over 4,000 employees focused on the research and development of nanoelectronics and digital technologies. Although she had always been conflicted between career paths, torn between becoming a bioengineer or medical doctor, Veerle knew immediately upon accepting the position in 2013 that she had made the right decision. Her years of dedicated study had paid off.
“When the opportunity came up to join imec, I felt like it was the perfect place for me to be,” shared Veerle, who started her career with imec as a project lead in the life sciences department. “imec is a place I can combine my medical background, while working with innovative technology.”
Five years later, Veerle found herself at yet another crossroads when she was presented with an opportunity to relocate back to the U.S. At the time, imec had just announced the establishment of a new design center in NeoCity, a 500-acre technology district in Osceola County, located along with microelectronics fabrication facility, BRIDG.
“I had been to the U.S. for my postdoctoral research in Boston, and both my husband and I loved living and working there,” Reumers said. “So, when the opportunity came with imec, I was honestly really excited.”
Veerle accepted the challenge and ventured to imec USA – Florida, where she became a research and development manager focused on the applications of nanotechnology in health research and monitoring in space. Veerle’s work contributes to a deeper understanding of the biological effects of space travel. As industry leaders strive to send humans into deep space, her team aims to answer the question, “What’s the effect of long-duration space travel on the human body?”
Thanks to the proximity of imec USA – Florida to the Space Coast, Veerle has the advantage of easy access to collaborate with partners tackling the same issue. Indeed, her team recently received funding from NASA to test disposable diagnostic devices used for monitoring astronaut health in zero gravity.
Although the type of research Veerle conducts typically takes years to pay off, she finds daily motivation in the thought that she helped create an environment of collaboration and that the outcome of an interdisciplinary team could someday result in deep space travel with significant societal advancements.
For inspiration, Veerle turns to the words of John C. Sawhill: “In the end, we will be defined not only by what we create, but by what we refuse to destroy.” Undoubtedly, she is creating a legacy of innovation in The Corridor and beyond.