Three VIB group leaders receive an ERC Proof of Concept grant


Each year, the European Research Council awards Proof of Concept grants to ERC grant holders who wish to take their ERC research one step further towards application. This year, no less than three VIB principal investigators have received an ERC PoC grant: Prof. Kevin Verstrepen (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology), Prof. Patrik Verstreken, and Prof. Stein Aerts (both from the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain and Disease Research).

Mapping cellular diversity by looking for common topics of gene control


​A Belgian team of computational biologists led by Stein Aerts (VIB-KU Leuven) has developed a new bioinformatics method called cisTopic. Inspired by text-mining methods, cisTopic helps scientists to gain insight into the mechanisms underlying the differences in gene regulation across and within the cells in our body by looking for common topics. In a new publication in Nature Methods, Aerts and his team demonstrate the broad range of applications of this method, from brain research to cancer biology.

Creating the world’s first complete fruit fly ‘cell atlas’


VIB team maps each individual fly brain cell throughout the aging process. Stein Aerts (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research) and his team have accomplished a world first: a gene expression map of every cell within the brain of an aging fly. While fly brains are comparatively simple, consisting of only 100,000 different cells, they are still complex networks that aptly serve as models for the human brain. Thus, the atlas is a key step toward a better understanding of human disease development.​

Human and artificial intelligence join forces to study complexity of the brain


A team of scientists lead by prof. Stein Aerts (VIB-KU Leuven) is the first to map the gene expression of each individual brain cell during aging, though they started small: with the brain of a fruit fly. Their ‘cell atlas’ provides unprecedented insights into the workings of the brain as it ages. Published today in the scientific journal Cell, the atlas is heralded as an important first step in the development of techniques that can help us gain a better understanding of human disease development.