Jan Van den Bulck (°1965) received a PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Leuven for a study on the effects of television fiction on people’s perceptions of reality. Originally he focused on violent crime, fear, and perceptions of the police, but gradually became interested in medical topics. He returned to school to get a DSc in Epidemiology in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands (2006), after realizing that epidemiologists and media effects scholars essentially do the same thing: they study the effects of exposure. To micro-organisms or environmental factors in the former case, to the media in the latter case. In the past couple of years he has started to focus on the complicated relationship between media use and sleep, looking at various media, from TV and computer games to mobile phones and apps.

He has submerged himself in the worlds of the police, the army, emergency medicine, and more to get a better understanding of the differences between reality and fiction. As a student he wrote radio plays for Flemish and Dutch National Public Radio stations. In his thirties he was a TV-critic for Studio Brussel, a Flemish NPR-station, and for Knack Focus, a weekly media and entertainment news magazine.

He is currently a professor at the School for Mass Communication Research at the University of Leuven and a Courtesy Professor at the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University, Indiana, in the USA.