Born and raised in Belgium, Desaeger graduated as an agricultural engineer from the University of Ghent. He started working with nematodes in 1994 in Kenya at the International Center for Research in Agroforestry. After completing his PhD in Applied Biological Sciences from the University of Leuven in 2001, he moved to the US to work on nematode management in vegetables at the Universities of Florida and Georgia. Desaeger then made the leap to industry in 2005 when he joined DuPont to start up a nematology program at their former research facility in Delaware.

Now back in Florida, he has joined the UF/IFAS faculty in the summer of 2016 to build a new nematology research group at the GCREC. Desaeger now lives in a quiet home backed by a large swath of wetlands with my wife Karla and his new Florida brown dog, Toby.