Sven Van Poucke, MD, PhD

Anesthesiologist, Emergency Physician, Data Scientist
Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg, Genk, Belgium

Born on March 18, 1969, in St. Amandsberg, Belgium. In 1995, Sven Van Poucke graduated "magna cum laude" in medicine from the Ghent University. Before and during his life as a student he was passioned about submarine excavations which at that time first required the approval of his parents but rapidly ended up in various underwater projects where his father being shanghaied and his mother used everything in her power to hope for a save return. The “high tech” environment of submarine excavations and the introduction to a hyperbaric facility (naval base in Ostend, Belgium) convinced Sven Van Poucke that the human physiology exerted by extreme environments would be the first reason to become a medical doctor. During medical school Van Poucke noticed that the monoplace hyperbaric chamber at the University Hospital of Ghent (Belgium) was managed by Prof. Dr. Georges Rolly, head of the anesthesiology department. Anesthesiology became the discipline which would bring him closer to his initial interest. With the monoplace chamber at the University Hospital of Ghent mainly used for the treatment of carbon monoxide intoxications, Van Poucke changed his plans to be nearer to the center of excellence, Le Centre Hyperbare (Centre du Hospitalier Régional Universitaire de Lille (France)) by Prof. Dr. Daniel Mathieu and Prof. Dr. Francis Wattel where he was trained to use hyperbaric oxygen for the treatment of critically ill patients. During his stay in France, the University Hospital of Antwerp, Belgium (Prof. Dr. Luc Beaucourt) had the ambition to start a hyperbaric facility. The final part of his anesthesiology fellowship (Prof. Hugo Adriaensen) and his early years as anesthesiologist, Van Poucke dedicated, aside of his duties as anesthesiologist, to the development of this facility focusing on the treatment of critical care patients and severe scuba diving accidents. A few years later, Van Poucke had the opportunity to become anesthesiologist at the Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg, Genk, Belgium, where a new multi-place hyperbaric chamber was installed. Related to his interest for extreme environments, the call of the North, his interest to quantitatively assess the effects of hypothermia in his PhD project seemed obvious. Sven Van Poucke demonstrated another passion, computational biology, from early in his professional life. When computing and software turned into commodity services, big data processing seems to be forging a technology revolution for the community which could not easily bypass Van Poucke’s interest. Initially, he quantitatively analyzed medical images of chronic wounds by calibrated colorimetry which was a gentle introduction to the world of predictive analytics and big data use in medicine. Currently, Van Poucke is engaged in various international projects dealing with predictive analytics of patient related data.