drs. J. Boonzaaijer

drs. J. Boonzaaijer

Full Professor
drs. J. Boonzaaijer
  • Center for Translational Immunology (CTI) Research

Research Programs

Infection & Immunity



Geert Houben is Principal Scientist Food Allergy and Immunotoxicology at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO, a public law-regulated research and technology organization in the Netherlands. Additionally, he is Professor Food-borne Risk Factors for Allergic and Inflammatory Diseases at the University Medical Center Utrecht and the Faculty of Medicine of the Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Prior to his current positions, he has had various research and management positions at TNO and various research positions at the Utrecht University and the University Medical Center Utrecht. Geert has had the managerial and scientific responsibility for the TNO Food Safety research and services for many years prior to choosing to focus on his scientific career since 2014. Geert was trained as a Biologist and Toxicologist and did his PhD in food immunotoxicology.

Geert’s major scientific specializations are food allergy, food and feed toxicology and immunotoxicology, and particularly risk assessment in these areas. In the early years of this century, he was the first to pioneer in the development and application of probabilistic risk assessment principles in food allergy and his team has been world leading in this area since then. His team hosts the world-wide most complete database with over 3500 threshold datapoints from individual food allergy patients (database jointly owned with the Food Allergy Research and Resources Program (FARRP) of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA) and has been developing and validating food intake databases specifically attuned to the application to food allergy risk assessment. TNO also led the risk assessment and risk management work package of the EU iFAAM project. Another research topic is on the assessment of allergenicity of (novel) food proteins. TNO initiated and chaired the EU Cost Action ImpARAS on this topic and developed a strategy and a machine learning algorithm to assess the allergenicity of (novel) food proteins. A last focus area is on the role of the exposome in inflammatory processes, in particular the development and application of approaches to identify and characterize food-borne risk factors for allergic and inflammatory diseases.

Geert Houben is or was a member of tens of expert groups, advisory boards and committees in the area of toxicology, food safety, immunotoxicology and food allergy. Among others, he was a member of the WHO/IPCS Expert Group for the harmonized guidance development for Immunotoxicity Risk Assessment and the 2020-2022 Ad hoc Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Risk Assessment of Food Allergens. Geert Houben is dedicated to further support the development, application and international harmonization of quantitative approaches in food allergy risk assessment and management and the development of diet-derived interventions in inflammatory diseases.

Side Activities

2022-present    Member of the Board of Examiners of the Graduate School of Life Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

2022-present    Member of the Expert Group "Can we define criteria for Unintended Allergen Presence that is compatible with the use of Precautionary Allergen Labelling and risk communication of such labelling", ILSI Europe, Brussels, Belgium

2020-present    Expert for the Ad hoc Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Risk Assessment of Food Allergens, FAO/WHO, Rome, Italy

2019-present    Member of the Expert Group "Allergenicity Assessment of Novel Ingredients Containing Protein & Protein Sources", ILSI Europe, Brussels, Belgium

2016-present    Member of the FrieslandCampina Corporate Food Safety Advisory board

2015-present    Member of the Scientific Working Group on Food Safety of the European Technology Platform “Food for Life”

2011-present    Member of the VITAL Scientific Expert Panel of the Australian-New Zealand Allergen Bureau, Australia

2009-present    Member of the Allergens Expert Group, Food and Drink Europe, Brussels, Belgium.

2018-2020        Deputy Member of the Future Food Utrecht Program Council, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

2017-2020        Member of the Expert Group "A framework to help define an appropriate level of protection for consumers with food allergies ", ILSI Europe, Brussels, Belgium

2019                   Member of the Expert Committee Immune Effects of Chromium-6, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands

2019                   Member of the Assessment Committee for proposals for the Future Food Utrecht Seed Money Research projects Call, October-November 2019

2008-2019        Member of the Supervisory Board of the Post Graduate Education in Toxicology, The Netherlands

2018                   Jury Member for the assessment of proposals for the NWO Open Technology Program, October-November 2018

2018                   Member of the Assessment Committee for proposals for the Future Food Utrecht Seed Money Research projects Call, October-November 2018

2017-2018        Member of the Roadmap Committee Theme Food Safety, Topsector Agri&Food, the Netherlands

2015-2017        Member of the Shanghai FDA Foreign Food Safety Expert Advisory Panel, Shanghai, China

2012-2017        Theme-coordinator Food Safety, Topsector Agri&Food, the Netherlands

2008-2017        Member and from 2012 until 2017 Chairman of the Advisory Board for allergens and food hypersensitivity, The Netherlands Nutrition Centre, The Hague, The Netherlands

Research Output (94)

Low dietary adherence after a positive food challenge in food allergic adults

Versluis Astrid, Le Thuy My, Erp Francine C.van, Blankestijn Mark A., Houben Geert F., Knulst André C., Os- Medendorp Harmieke van Feb 2022, In: Clinical and Translational Allergy. 12 , p. 1-9

The population threshold for soy as an allergenic food – Why did the Reference Dose decrease in VITAL 3.0?

Taylor Steve L., Houben Geert F., Blom W. Marty, Westerhout Joost, Remington Benjamin C., Crevel Rene W.R., Brooke-Taylor Simon, Baumert Joe L. Jun 2021, In: Trends in Food Science and Technology. 112 , p. 99-108 10 p.

Methods to determine the risk of unintended allergen presence related to the dispersion of allergenic food particles in food production areas

Meima Marie Y., Remington Benjamin C., Blom W. Marty, Baumert Joseph L., Taylor Steven L., Jeffery Brett, Robert Marie Claude, Houben Geert F., Lucas Luijckx Niels B. Jun 2021, In: Food Control. 124

Predicting the allergenicity of legume proteins using a PBMC gene expression assay

Smits Mark, Meijerink Marjolein, Le Thuy My, Knulst André, de Jong Aard, Caspers Martinus Petrus Maria, Lima Everton Souto, Babé Lilia, Ladics Gregory, McClain Scott, Houben Geert, Verhoeckx Kitty 13 Apr 2021, In: BMC Immunology. 22 , p. 1-12

A systematic comparison of food intake data of the United States and the Netherlands for food allergen risk assessment

Meima Marie Y., Blom W. Marty, Westerhout Joost, Kruizinga Astrid G., Remington Benjamin C., Houben Geert F. Apr 2021, In: Food and Chemical Toxicology. 150

Accidental food-allergic reactions are associated with higher costs and more sick leave but not with quality of life

Versluis Astrid, Knulst Andre C, Michelsen-Huisman Anouska D, Houben Geert F, Blom W Marty, Le Thuy-My, van Os-Medendorp Harmieke 1 Feb 2021, In: Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 51 , p. 627-630 4 p.

Allergen labelling:Current practice and improvement from a communication perspective

Blom W Marty, van Dijk Liselotte M, Michelsen-Huisman Anouska, Houben Geert F, Knulst André C, Linders Yvette F M, Verhoeckx Kitty C M, Holleman Bregje C, Lentz Leo R 26 Jan 2021, In: Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 51 , p. 574-584 11 p.

Digestion and Transport across the Intestinal Epithelium Affects the Allergenicity of Ara h 1 and 3 but Not of Ara h 2 and 6

Smits Mark, Nooijen Irene, Redegeld Frank, de Jong Aard, Le Thuy-My, Knulst André, Houben Geert, Verhoeckx Kitty 12 Jan 2021, In: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 65 , p. 1-10

Suitability of low-dose, open food challenge data to supplement double-blind, placebo-controlled data in generation of food allergen threshold dose distributions

Remington Benjamin C., Westerhout Joost, Dubois Anthony E.J., Blom W. Marty, Kruizinga Astrid G., Taylor Steve L., Houben Geert F., Baumert Joseph L. Jan 2021, In: Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 51 , p. 151-154 4 p.

Ranking of 10 legumes according to the prevalence of sensitization as a parameter to characterize allergenic proteins

Smits Mark, Verhoeckx Kitty, Knulst André, Welsing Paco, de Jong Aard, Houben Geert, Le Thuy My Jan 2021, In: Toxicology Reports. 8 , p. 767-773 7 p.

All research output

Thank you for your review!

Has this information helped you?

Please tell us why, so that we can improve our website.

Working at UMC Utrecht





Practical uses cookies

This website uses cookies This website displays videos from, among others, YouTube. Such parties place cookies (third-party cookies). If you do not want these cookies, you can indicate that here. We also place cookies ourselves to improve our site.

Read more about the cookie policy

Agree No, rather not