Here you'll find the latest press releases on VIB research and other important news.
Every year on World Alzheimer's Day, the French organization: Fondation Recherche Alzheimer honors top European researchers who have made an important contribution to research into the disease. The prize for "most promising young researcher" is awarded this year to two young talents, including Renzo Mancuso: an Argentinian scientist affiliated to VIB and the universities of Leuven and Antwerp.
A unique collaborative effort by the De Rybel (VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology) and Saeys (VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research) labs has pioneered the development of single-cell transcriptomics in plants. In doing so, they identified how plants translate indications of low phosphate availability into growth adaptation.
Science and society are not separate entities. Scientific research is embedded in society and culture, which, in turn, are shaped by science. To explore this interaction, VIB has engaged in a collaboration with BOZAR and GLUON, in the context of its Grand Challenges Program (GCP). The aim of this collaboration is that some of the scientists involved in the Grand Challenges projects meet with international artists to explore the interfaces between art and science. This voyage of discovery will ultimately result in a work of art inspired by science.
Hundreds of innovators, research pioneers, clinicians, industry leaders and policy makers from all around Europe are united by a vision of how to revolutionize healthcare. In two publications they now present a detailed roadmap of how to leverage the latest scientific breakthroughs and technologies over the next decade, to track, understand and treat human cells throughout an individual’s lifetime.
Researchers at the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research uncover how the upregulation of an ion channel called TRPM3 causes hypersensitivity in inflamed tissue. The new findings, published by professor Thomas Voets and his team in eLife, suggest new therapeutic avenues to help patients suffering from chronic pain.
VIB’s Inge De Clercq (VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology) has been awarded an ERC starting grant worth €1.5 million. These renowned, highly competitive grants aim to help individual scientists and scholars to build their own teams and conduct pioneering research across all disciplines.
By investigating the livers of obese mice, the team of Prof. Charlotte Scott (VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research) has identified a new population of macrophages (immune cells) not present in healthy livers. These new cells were primarily located in the most damaged regions of the obese liver where they produce a protein that can be used to identify patients with severe fatty liver disease.
Each year, the Fonds Baillet Latour awards a young group leader a research grant to support research on a specific theme. Sarah-Maria Fendt (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology) received the grant this year for her work on cancer metastases.
A new technology that can detect genetic defects simultaneously in thousands of individual cells shines new light on leukemia development and how cells respond to chemotherapy. Researchers from VIB, KU Leuven and UZ Leuven, led by Prof. Jan Cools (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology), used a new technology to investigate the genetic defects in individual leukemia cells from patients with T-cell leukemia (T-ALL). Their results show that blood and bone marrow samples from each patient contain a variety of leukemia cells, much more than previously detected. The detection of this variety of leukemia cells gives us new information on the development of leukemia and on the response of patients to chemotherapy.
In this week’s edition of Science, a Belgian team of researchers led by Pierre Vanderhaeghen (VIB-KU Leuven, ULB) finds that mitochondria regulate a key event during brain development: how neural stem cells become nerve cells. Mitochondria influence this cell fate switch during a precise period that is twice as long in humans compared to mice. The seminal findings highlight an unexpected function for mitochondria that may help explain how humans developed a bigger brain during evolution, and how mitochondrial defects lead to neurodevelopmental diseases.
Researchers from VIB have shown that llama antibodies can protect against COVID-19 in lab animals. To further develop these antibodies into a medicine, VIB established a new start-up, ExeVir Bio. The new company will start testing the drug in COVID-19 patients by the end of 2020. The scientists currently target spring 2021 as starting point for the therapy’s widespread use.
Early august 2020, Oxford Nanopore Technologies announced an agreement with the UK Government to roll out LamPORE, a new low-cost Covid-19 test. The detection assay is designed for on-site and rapid testing (results are available in less than two hours) and is expected to be crucial in UK’s continued efforts to fight COVID-19.
Cancers are extremely heterogeneous. Even within the same tumor, some cells may be more aggressive than others. In the latest issue of Nature Cell Biology, a team of scientists led by Stein Aerts (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research) reports how distinct gene regulatory networks drive melanoma skin cancer cells to become more invasive. The findings will inform research into better cancer treatments.
Op het eerste zicht lijkt evolutie een verhaal van continue, stapsgewijze vooruitgang. Wie verzwakt, verliest volgens Darwins wet van survival of the fittest. Toch kunnen genetische defecten, die een organisme in eerste instantie verzwakken, de overlevingskansen op langere termijn vergroten. Deze opmerkelijke bevindingen van bio-ingenieurs aan KU Leuven en VIB betekenen een belangrijke stap in ons begrip van evolutie.
ExeVir Bio announces today a first closing of a EUR23 million Series A financing led by Fund+, with the participation of VIB, UCB Ventures, the Belgian Federal Government via SFPI-FPIM, V-Bio Ventures and several Belgian family offices. ExeVir Bio has been established by Belgian partners combining world class science, antibody engineering, manufacturing, blue-chip venture capital investment and Flemish Government financing, which have joined forces in a unique collaboration to boost the development of new therapies to combat Covid-19.