Leadership in microbiome innovation – profile Wilbert Sybesma PhD MBA

Nutrition and Health Innovation Leader Specialized in Microbiome Solutions

For more than 20 years Wilbert Sybesma has been active in the human nutrition and health industry. His main contributions and expertise are in research, product development, manufacturing and business development for functional foods, including probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, and other microbiome modulating ingredients.

Professional activities Wilbert Sybesma

Wilbert Sybesma has worked for B2C and B2B organizations such as world’s largest food manufacturer Nestlé and world’s largest vitamin producer DSM. During this period he occupied different functions including Head of Fermentation Technology, Manufacturing Manager Probiotics, Biotransformation Lead and Innovation Manager Gut Health.

Wilbert Sybesma has also been, and still is, active for organizations such as Wholefiber (minimally processed prebiotic fibers), Yoba for Life Foundation (probiotics for people in developing countries) and Crispatus Foundation (probiotics for female health). Since 2016 he teaches Food Biotechnology to MSc students at the Ecole Federal Polytechnique de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland.

By his peers and colleagues, he is recognized for his innovative thinking as well as his presentation and leadership skills, which are inspired by the Intent Based Leadership principles from David Marquet.

In October 2021 Wilbert Sybesma registered Microbiome Solutions GmbH in Switzerland and started advisory work for End-to-End innovation and Value Creation in the human microbiome area. On demand he can integrate and closely collaborate with larger and smaller organizations on site and/or from distance.

Educational background

Wageningen University (The Netherlands)

  • MSc in Molecular Sciences
  • MSc in Bioprocess Technology
  • PhD in Food Biotechnology

Free University Brussels (Belgium)

  • Post Graduate Certificate International and European law

University of Bern and University of Rochester/Simon School (Switzerland/USA)

  • Dual MBA Degree


Over the years Wilbert Sybesma has contributed to the development, process optimization and commercialization of numerous innovations related to human nutrition and health. Examples range from probiotics and prebiotic human milk oligosaccharides to starter cultures for coffee beans, and from bacteriophages to in-process enzymatic flavor generation. He is co-inventor on numerous patents.

In 2010, together with Remco Kort, Wilbert Sybesma founded the Yoba for Life Foundation, a public benevolent institute that aims to improve health and wealth of people living in developing countries by local production and sales of probiotic fermented food. Today Yoba for Life includes over 300 production units for probiotic Yoba yoghurt, as well as school feeding programs in Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

Wilbert Sybesma is elected member of the academic honor society for top business school students Beta Gamma Sigma and certified trainer in Intent Based Leadership.

Over the years he has frequently shared his scientific insights and study results with the scientific world, which has resulted in more than 60 peer reviewed publications and opinion papers in high impact factor journals such as Lancet Infectious Diseases, Trends in Molecular Medicine and Trends in Biotechnology. His H-Index is 31 (Google Scholar).

With his family, Wilbert Sybesma lives near Bern, the capital of Switzerland.