KU Leuven News
25 August 2016 - Mosquitoes continue to build resistance to existing pesticides. Research has now shown that the chemical substances emitted by one of the mosquito’s natural enemies – the backswimmer – makes the biological pesticide Bti more deadly. These so-called predator cues also impair the mosquito’s immune system. Therefore, a cocktail of biological pesticides and synthetic predator cues very well be the future of mosquito control.
23 August 2016 - In older adults with depression, the brain's most important memory structure is often reduced in size. This structure, known as the hippocampus, is also smaller in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, the onset of Alzheimer's often comes with symptoms of depression as well. That’s why doctors and researchers have thus far been assuming that the two are linked. Contrary to expectations, however, this assumption turns out to be false.
19 August 2016 - A lack of oxygen in tumour cells contributes to the growth of cancer. That is the main conclusion of a study by Professor Diether Lambrechts and Dr Bernard Thienpont (VIB/KU Leuven). Maintaining a proper oxygen supply in tumours could inhibit the excessive growth of the cancer cells. These insights may eventually lead to new anti-cancer drugs.
Archaeologist and architectural historian Thomas Coomans teaches building archaeology and heritage conservation at KU Leuven, but he also travels to China on a regular basis. In a short amount of time, his research into centuries-old western churches in China has made him a leading expert on Chinese-western heritage. “Cultural cross-pollination has resulted in highly original buildings. Some churches are even entirely built according to the rules of feng shui.”
The death of King Albert I of Belgium in 1934 – officially a climbing accident – still fuels speculation. Forensic geneticist Maarten Larmuseau and his KU Leuven colleagues have now compared DNA from blood found on the scene in 1934 to that of two distant relatives. Their analysis confirms that the blood really is that of Albert I. This conclusion is at odds with several conspiracy theories about the king’s death.
In keeping with annual tradition, a number of meritorious Belgians have been granted a title of nobility of a civic distinction. Our university is once again well represented.
Research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) conducted by VIB-KU Leuven has led to interesting and unexpected conclusions. When scientists were investigating the relevance of the higher expression of the IP3R2 protein in blood of ALS patients, the general expectation was that lowering the expression of this protein would have a protective effect on the affected motor neurons. But the exact opposite was true: IP3R2 turned out to be a protector against the negative effects of inflammation during ALS. Even more, the same mechanism may also apply to other diseases, such as stroke and multiple sclerosis.
KU Leuven astronomers have shown that the interaction between the surface and the atmosphere of an exoplanet has major consequences for the temperature on the planet. This temperature, in turn, is a crucial element in the quest for habitable planets outside our Solar System.
Tips and tricks for a healthy lifestyle are everywhere, yet obesity rates are soaring like never before. What can help us make healthy choices? Lesson number one: pushing is passé. In 2016, we nudge.
Detecting pesticides and nerve gas in very low concentrations. An international team of researchers led by Ivo Stassen and Rob Ameloot from KU Leuven have made it possible.
Researchers from KU Leuven and the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology have managed to erase unpleasant memories in mice using a 'genetic switch'. Their findings were published in Biological Psychiatry.
Researchers from KU Leuven and digital research centre iMinds have received an ERC Advanced Grant of more than 2 million euros to make microchips more resistant to cyberattacks and other security threats. The five-year Cathedral project will be coordinated by Professor Ingrid Verbauwhede from the COSIC Division at KU Leuven and iMinds.
More fun, improved digital literacy skills, and a better mix between ‘old-school’ playing and online games. According to researchers from KU Leuven and iMinds, toys that combine online and offline elements offer many exciting possibilities for young children – and their parents.
Researchers from KU Leuven, the University of Strasbourg, and CNRS have discovered a new phosphor that could make next-generation fluorescent and LED lighting even cheaper and more efficient. The team used highly luminescent clusters of silver atoms and the porous framework of minerals known as zeolites.
A research team led by Professor Wim Annaert (KU Leuven/VIB) has shed new light on the role of different enzymes in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Their findings may offer new perspectives in the search for a treatment.
Geneticists from KU Leuven have shown that tumour protein TP53 knows exactly where to bind to our DNA to prevent cancer. Once bound to this specific DNA sequence, the protein can activate the right genes to repair damaged cells.
Millions of people use free livestreaming websites to watch sports and other live events online, but this comes with a considerable security risk. Researchers from KU Leuven-iMinds and Stony Brook University have found that viewers are often exposed to malware infections, personal data theft, and scams. As much as 50% of the video overlay ads on free livestreaming websites are malicious.
KU Leuven, Imperial College London, and the University of Cambridge lead the Reuters Top 100: Europe’s Most Innovative Universities ranking. The Reuters Top 100 aims to identify which institutions contribute the most to science and technology, and have the greatest impact on the global economy.
Fruit flies have a taste for rotten fruit, but they don’t eat or lay eggs in contaminated food. Professor Talavera and his colleagues have shown that a receptor called TRPA1 enables fruit flies to detect harmful bacteria and thus avoid infections. The findings have potential for insect pest control.
KU Leuven treats its students and staff members to breakfast during next week’s rail strike. With the hashtag #kuleuvenhelpt, the university called on them earlier this week to help each other out. This resulted in a wave of solidarity.