Applying science to improve people's lives
People – they are the essence of VIB’s mission, at VIB we are committed to making a difference, we all work towards one common goal: making the world a better place for all!
People – they are also the beating heart of VIB, without our people, without their passion, energy, perseverance, work ethic and creativity, we are nowhere. That is why we want to ensure that our scientists and all who support them can work in a stimulating environment where everyone is treated with respect and understanding. Where people can develop their talents to boost their career. This vision also underlies the importance that VIB attaches to leadership; genuine people-oriented leadership, with attention to communication, a transparent feedback culture, career guidance, well-being and coaching.
People – they are also our most important stakeholders. Our outreach activities are set to inform the public at large of VIB’s groundbreaking research and to prove that science is not just for scientists, but touches the lives of everyone. VIB's Conferences & Outreach team organizes events during which visitors are immersed in the wonderful world of life sciences. Newsletters, brochures and facts series inform our stakeholders on the ins and outs of biotech, and its societal and economic impact.
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PID; a (not so) rare disease with a big impact
Primary immune deficiency diseases (PIDs) are a heterogeneous group of life-threatening genetic disorders of the innate and adaptive immune system. To date, there is still a lot of under-diagnosis as PIDs are very complex and can present clinically in many forms. A large number of PID patients remain undiagnosed or get a label of undefined PID, preventing the design of a rational therapeutic approach.
Therapeutic options are currently limited due to a lack of molecular insight into PID’s mechanisms and progression. This places a heavy burden not only on patients and families, but also on health care systems.
I think it’s very relevant that scientists, physicians, and patients can share their experiences because each of those groups has its own perspective on the issues. You notice that certain aspects are very important for patients, but that these same aspects often fly below the radar of the scientists and physicians. Vice versa, when patients come into contact with the research world, they understand that not everything can be solved in the blink of an eye.
Cancer, second cause of death
Cancer can affect anyone - young or old, female, male or child, rich or poor. However, because the
risk of cancer increases with age, and because the population is ageing, the number of people with
cancer - both in Belgium and worldwide - will continue to rise. And yet there is still hope. The treatment of cancer is improving. The arsenal of medicines has increased significantly in recent years. Whereas in the past we were limited to surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, 'targeted' medicines are now available, along with blood vessel inhibitors, immunotherapy, etc. And there are many more new treatments in the 'cancer pipeline'. Despite all that good news, and the jubilation you sometimes hear and read in the media about some new, spectacular treatment or cancer test, we are not finished with cancer yet. We can not cure all patients, treatments are often accompanied by serious side effects and too many patients relapse after a number of years. Over the past hundred years, a great many chapters have been written about our knowledge of cancer. But we are still far from the end of the story. However, there is the hope that, in a not too distant future, we can turn cancer into a chronic, treatable disease.
Seeing what happens emotionally to the members of your family is the most important side effect of cancer
My cancer story is something that I carry with me. It is part of who I am now and will be in the future. My cancer journey was certainly not a 'cool' one, but there are people who have traveled much harder roads.
VIB brings science into the classroom
'Do fruit flies have brains?'
'How does our DNA differ from that of a bee?'
'Why do researchers study zebrafish?'
Children have many questions, questions you as a teacher do not always know an answer to. Over the years, VIB has launched several school projects to make young people enthusiastic about the life sciences so that all their questions can be answered.
Science benefits society directly, for example through the development of new medications or more efficient crops. There is, however also a large indirect societal impact in which VIB strongly invests. This is the creation of companies that provide jobs, generate economic revenue, and spur technological progress.
Life in the VIB labs
Working in an international research environment
Science is hard work, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and fulfilling. At VIB we do top research and we give all our members the opportunity to pursue their chosen career at the highest level. However, we also ensure that people can grow as person. There are many courses on both scientific and non-scientific skills and plenty of events to socially interact and network.
Life in the VIB labs is not just work, it is an important and balanced slice of the scientists’ life, with plenty of room for a personal touch, social interaction, and even blossoming friendships.
Excellence in science requires a multidisciplinary, multicultural and collaborative research environment. Open discussion and knowledge sharing is crucial for the professional development of all VIB employees.
VIB aspires to be an inspiring place for research at the interface of academia and industry, offering an appreciative and collaborative environment. While maintaining the highest standards of research, VIB’s HR team mentors and coaches employees from across the institute during all stages of their career.