KU Leuven News
8 December 2016 - What will happen to Earth when, in a few billion years’ time, the Sun is a hundred times bigger than it is today? Using the most powerful radio telescope in the world, an international team of astronomers has set out to look for answers in the star L2 Puppis. Five billion years ago, this star was very similar to the Sun as it is today.
Researchers at the Babraham Institute, KU Leuven, the University of Oslo and the Karolinska Institute have uncovered the molecular control mechanisms responsible for the different biological changes seen in cardiac hypertrophy induced by pathology compared to exercise. These findings point the way for the design of new treatments for heart disease.
24 November 2016 - Thomas More and his Utopia have cast a powerful spell on Leuven. This year’s Night at the Museum, too, was dedicated to the world-renowned book that More published in Leuven 500 years ago.
21 November 2016 - Researchers led by Peter Carmeliet (KU Leuven-VIB) have found a novel way to normalize the dysfunctional blood vessels that are typical of tumours. These vessels play a pivotal role in cancer metastasis, as their fragility and permeability allows cancer cells to escape through the blood stream and invade other organs.
17 November 2016 - Higher mortality rates, more complications after routine surgery, and lower patient satisfaction. These are the consequences when hospitals replace professionally qualified nurses with lower skilled caregivers. An international team of researchers highlights the risks of this practice, which is increasingly common in the United States and the United Kingdom.
16 November 2016 - Does KU Leuven properly ensure the quality of its education? The university welcomes five experts this week who set out to answer this question. Their first site visit is part of the institutional review that replaces the previous system of programme-specific peer reviews.
15 November 2016 - Detecting sick pigs, measuring the food intake of chicken, or discovering udder infections and leg injuries before it is too late? It’s all possible with Precision Livestock Farming (PLF). “This technology reduces the need for antibiotics, decreases the number of animals with growth retardation, and gives pig farmers the chance to attend the occasional barbecue.”
9 November 2016 - With the slogan ‘Got enough spine(s) to stand up for the climate?’, Vice Rector for Student Affairs Rik Gosselink and Leuven alderman Bieke Verlinden handed out one thousand little cactuses to citizens of Leuven and to students willing to contribute to a more sustainable world. The event marked the start of the third edition of Love Leuven, a campaign on the initiative of the city of Leuven, KU Leuven, and UC Leuven-Limburg. With a series of events, the partners aim to bring students and citizens of Leuven closer together. This year’s theme is sustainability.
9 November 2016 – Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s progress as toxic proteins spread throughout the brain. Synapses, which our brain cells use to communicate, play a pivotal role in this process. That is the conclusion of a study led by Professor Patrik Verstreken (VIB/KU Leuven). The new insights into the spreading mechanism could contribute to the development of treatments to slow down this process.
2 November 2016 - Top-league football referees are better at spotting foul play. As a result, they’re more likely to issue the correct disciplinary action than lower-league referees. KU Leuven researchers have found that this is due to how elite referees look at the players and the field.
29 October 2016 – Election races follow patterns, and results are surprisingly easy to predict. That is the opinion of Christopher Wlezien, one of America’s most famous election experts. But these elections are somewhat different: “There’s a lot of animosity towards Clinton. Most other Republican candidates would probably win. But Trump is running…”
27 October 2016 - Scientists in Belgium have developed an algorithm to help rhinoplasty patients design a nose suited to their facial proportions. The technique could also help patients who have lost their own nose because of disease to design a perfectly fitting prosthetic.
27 October 2016 - Through its Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, the EU is investing in research to combat the Zika virus outbreak. The funding will support research to develop treatments, diagnostics and vaccines, and to make a better risk assessment. KU Leuven is a partner institution in ZIKAlliance and ZikaPLAN, two of the research consortia involved.
25 October 2016 - Computer scientist Tuur Stuyck (25) had an animated summer: he spent it working on Pixar’s new film Coco. A dream job, according to Tuur: “The offices look like small castles, log cabins, or race cars."
21 October 2016 - Only a small share of Congolese villagers is the driving force behind most of the deforestation. They’re not felling trees to feed their families, but to increase their quality of life. These findings are based on fieldwork by bioscience engineer Pieter Moonen from KU Leuven. They indicate that international programmes aiming to slow down tropical deforestation are not sufficiently taking local farmers into account.
20 October 2016 - Boosting the metabolism of specific white blood cells may prevent the spread of cancer. The key lies in making these cells ‘steal’ sugar from the cells that create the escape route for the cancer cells: the blood vessels of the tumour.
On 11 October, Rector Rik Torfs launched a new alumni chapter in Japan. This was part of a state visit on the occasion of 150 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Belgium. Together with other Flemish universities, KU Leuven also concluded new partnerships with Japanese universities.
12 October 2016 - Spreading tumour cells adapt their metabolism to the specific organs they are invading. That is the conclusion of researchers from VIB and KU Leuven in the journal Cell Reports. The researchers examined lung cancer metastases that originated from breast tumours. They discovered that the two tumour types have different ways of using nutrients to grow. These findings may pave the way for the development of new methods to halt tumour growth.
11 October 2016 - A malfunctioning mechanism to cope with intense brain activity plays an important role in the development of Parkinson’s disease. That is the conclusion of a study by Professor Patrik Verstreken (VIB / KU Leuven) and his team.
5 October 2016 - Using a simple decision rule and a finger prick to test blood, general practitioners can now detect serious infections in children very quickly. This ensures that seriously ill children don’t have to wait for a diagnosis until they’re hospitalized – a delay that may have fatal consequences. The procedure also prevents unnecessary hospital referrals for less serious cases. That is the conclusion of a study conducted by a clinical team at KU Leuven in collaboration with Ghent University and University of Oxford.