Success stories

Top Health Research stories

Why do talented international researchers want to work in UCLouvain laboratories? Watch ‘Top health research stories @UCLouvain’: ten videos showcasting the outstanding research carried out by the university’s Health Sciences Sector teams.

Novel metabolic pathways in physiology and disease

G. Bommer, de Duve Institute

Life and health require that many different chemical reactions occur in a coordinated manner. This metabolic activity is usually represented in well-defined pathways. Yet, advances in mass-spectrometry have revealed that our metabolite repertoire is much larger than expected from these known pathways.

Furthermore, a sizeable number of genes code for proteins of unknown function that look like enzymes, but might act outside of canonical metabolic pathways. In my lab, we are trying to discover the functions of these unknown metabolites and enzymes by combining state-of-the art mass spectrometry with genetic and enzymological approaches. We believe that understanding the function of non-canonical enzymes will give novel insights into the pathophysiology

How bacteria deal with stress

J.F. Collet, de Duve Institute

The emergence of bacteria resistant to all of the available antibacterial agents calls for the urgent development of new molecules to fight bacterial infections. The goal of our laboratory is to understand at the molecular level how bacterial cells respond to toxic compounds present in the environment in order to improve our ability to combat them.

Basic, translational and clinical pain research

A. Mouraux, P. Lavand’homme, E. Hermans, Institute of Neuroscience (IONS)

Understanding the neural processes underlying the perception of pain and developing novel means to diagnose and manage chronic pain constitutes the core objective of several research groups at IONS.

The ability to perceive pain is crucial for survival, but pain is also a major healthcare issue, affecting the life of millions of individuals. Progress in understanding pain perception is not only important for basic neuroscience research. It is also critical to develop effective strategies for the diagnosis and management of pathological pain.

Cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling neural cells proliferation, migration and differentiation during the development of the cerebral cortex

Y. Jossin, Institute of Neuroscience (IONS)

The mammalian cerebral cortex plays key roles in learning and memory, the control of sensory and motor functions or of our emotions. The proper execution of these tasks depends on a long process of embryonic and postnatal development which relies on the production by neural stem cells of the appropriate number of neurons with proper identities that migrate to their specific location and make connections with each other.

Defective signaling pathways during development are the causes of human brain diseases such as lissencephalies and heterotopias, dyslexia, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy and many others. The goal of our laboratory is to better define the mechanisms of neural cell proliferation, migration and differentiation in order to understand how the cerebral cortex is built and learn how to treat and prevent devastating brain malformations.

Fertility preservation and fertility restoration for cancer patients

MM. Dolmans, C. Amorim, Institute of experimental and clinical research (IREC)

The main focus of our research laboratory at the Université Catholique de Louvain is finding the best way of preserving and restoring fertility in young patients cured of cancer. Clinical practice currently proposes ovarian tissue freezing to patients at risk of premature menopause as a result of their cancer treatment.

Once they are cured, one option is to reimplant their frozen-thawed ovarian tissue. We are constantly evaluating and improving ovarian tissue transplantation techniques, as well as evaluating different options to use this precious resource, thanks to ongoing advances in research.

In the heart of metabolism: identification of molecular targets involved in cardiovascular diseases

Ch. Beauloye, L. Bertrand, Institute of experimental and clinical research (IREC)

The Pole of Cardiovascular Research aim to better understand the role of metabolism in the physiopathology of cardiovascular disease including cardiac hypertrophy, left ventricular remodeling and heart failure as well as platelet aggregation and thrombosis.

Methodological and ethical aspects involved in participatory research for the design, implementation and evaluation of health care and health promotion innovations

I. Aujoulat, Institute of health and society (IRSS)

Collaborative research for the improvement of health services is gaining increasing interest in medicine and health promotion. We apply participatory and experience-based research methods to involve all relevant stakeholders in the co-production of innovative health care and health promotion solutions.

The involvement of potential end-users as co-researchers raises specific methodological and ethical issues which are at the heart of our research projects.

SILNE-R: Enhancing the effectiveness of programs and strategies to prevent smoking by adolescents: a realist evaluation comparing seven European countries

V. Lorant, Institute of health and society (IRSS)

SILNE-R is a team of top researchers from different disciplines and different European regions working in partnership and linking up with international research networks concerned with tobacco control or young people’s health.

Together, they aim at generating the fine-grained and much needed evidence to support decision makers in the implementation of smoking prevention strategies that are responsive to local conditions, effective in using available resources and inspired to reduce inequities.

Microbes as targets in therapeutics

N. Delzenne, A. Everard, P. Cani, F. Van Bambeke, MP. Mingeot, L. Bindels, Louvain drug research institute (LDRI)

The Louvain Drug Institute develops innovative bench to bed approaches to deal with microbes in infectious and non-communicable diseases. We evaluate new chemicals or natural substances to fight invasive and resistant pathogen, paying attention on personalized dosing. We develop new tools to target the gut microbiota in the contexts of obesity, metabolic and behavioral disorders, and cancer.

Nanomedecine, drug design and imaging: an integrative approach for personalized cancer treatment

V. Préat, R. Frédérick, B. Jordan, B. Gallez, J. Leclercq, Louvain drug research institute (LDRI)

The Louvain Drug Research Institute combines key expertise in medicinal chemisty, drug delivery, and imaging to develop innovative approaches in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Our research groups focus on the synthesis of small molecules as enzyme inhibitors, on advanced nanomedicine and theranostics, as well as on in vivo assessment of drug efficacy or tumor characterization by NMR and RPE imaging.