KU Leuven news
Diether Lambrechts (VIB/KU Leuven) and the biotech company Biocartis are working together on a new diagnostic test for certain types of cancer. The research group has identified a new set of DNA markers that indicate whether a cancer is caused by deficient DNA mismatch repair. The test could be particularly useful for differentiating between different types of colon cancer.
For decades, dyslexia experts maintained that phonetic representations – the unique neural patterns effected in the brain by different speech sounds – were distorted in people with dyslexia. But new findings by KU Leuven researchers led by Dr Bart Boets suggests that these representations are perfectly intact in dyslexics, while the brain’s ability to access them is impaired.
A new iMinds - ITEC KU Leuven Kulak study found that language learners watching foreign-language television subtitled in that language not only show better comprehension, but also pick up new words faster.
Professor Bart De Strooper (VIB - KU Leuven) has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the prestigious scientific journal, Science. Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honour bestowed on AAAS members by their peers.
Belgium's cannabis policy is missing its target, say criminologist Tom Decorte (Ghent University), economist Paul De Grauwe (KU Leuven) and toxicologist Jan Tytgat (KU Leuven). "We are not advocating a laissez-faire policy. We are simply asking: 'What is the best way to approach this problem?' The repressive approach of the Belgian government is not working. That is clear."
Olympic judo medalist Ilse Heylen received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Top Sport Platform on 13 November. Top Sport Platform is a joint initiative of the Leuven city council and KU Leuven.
A protein engineered by researchers at KU Leuven combining proteins active in HIV and Moloney murine leukaemia virus (MLV) replication may lead to safer, more effective retroviral gene therapy.
On 9 November, the City of Leuven, KU Leuven and four other partner organisations established a non-profit organisation dedicated to making the city climate-neutral by 2030. The new organisation, called Leuven Klimaatneutraal 2030 vzw, will coordinate climate initiatives among the various partners and engage and inform Leuven's residents about subsidies, awareness campaigns and other activities.
Two knee surgeons at University Hospitals Leuven have provided the first full anatomical description of a previously enigmatic ligament in the human knee. The ligament appears to play an important role in patients with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears.
On 30 October, KU Leuven’s Faculty of Bioscience Engineering conferred an honorary doctorate on Margaret Bath, Senior Vice President Research, Quality and Technology at the Kellogg Company. The university honoured Ms Bath as a proponent of the ‘triple helix’ model.
Bronchial thermoplastie, a treatment involving the targeted application of heat to specific sites in the respiratory tract, may significantly improve the outlook for patients with severe asthma. University Hospitals Leuven recently began using the technique in a small group of asthma patients whose symptoms did not respond adequately to conventional medication.
Just because the music is centuries old doesn't mean the way we read it has to be, too. The Leuven Alumni Orchestra (LAO) is guiding classical music into the twenty-first century with the help of wirelessly connected tablet computers linked to a console at the conductor’s fingertips. The system's creator is alumnus and LAO trombonist Jan Rosseel: "SCORA is one of a kind."
In a bioinformatics breakthrough, iMinds – STADIUS – KU Leuven researchers have successfully applied advanced artificial intelligence to enable the automated analysis of huge amounts of genetic data. Their new software suite, eXtasy, automatically generates the most likely cause of a given genetic disorder. The breakthrough directly impacts the treatment of millions of people with a hereditary disease.
A living cell is built with barriers to keep things out – and researchers are constantly trying to find ways to smuggle molecules in. Professor Giovanni Maglia (Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology, KU Leuven) and his team have engineered a biological nanopore that acts as a selective revolving door through a cell’s lipid membrane. The nanopore could potentially be used in gene therapy and targeted drug delivery.
Researchers at Stanford University and University Hospitals Leuven have discovered that a popular cholesterol drug also suppresses organ rejection in transplant patients. By crunching through multiple large data sets, they were able to pinpoint 11 genes involved in organ rejection. They then identified existing drugs that affect the activity of these genes.
A multidisciplinary transplant team at University Hospitals Leuven successfully preserved a set of donor lungs for over eleven hours with the help of a machine, the longest period ever reported. The lengthy preservation time was necessary because the patient needed a liver transplant immediately prior to the lung transplant. The patient has since left the hospital and is in good health.
Months of hard work are paying off for a team of sixteen KU Leuven students. They have earned a spot in the iGEM finals, an international synthetic biology competition being held in Boston from 1-4 November. Their entry for the competition is a double whammy for aphids: a bacterium that creates one pheromone to repel aphids and another to attract its natural enemies.
The Punch Powertrain Solar Team, KU Leuven's entry in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, finished the week-long race across the Australian outback in an impressive sixth place. The team also won the coveted Technical Innovation Award for the battery pack they developed using 3-D printing technology. "This is a great culmination of a year and a half of hard work," says team member Matthias Plettinx.
On 3 October, Rector Rik Torfs, Professor Peter Hespel and Zdenek Bakala inaugurated the Athletic Performance Center – Bakala Academy, the new testing and research centre on KU Leuven’s sports campus.