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Becoming a nerve cell: timing is of the essence


In this week’s edition of Science, a Belgian team of researchers led by Pierre Vanderhaeghen (VIB-KU Leuven, ULB) finds that mitochondria regulate a key event during brain development: how neural stem cells become nerve cells. Mitochondria influence this cell fate switch during a precise period that is twice as long in humans compared to mice. The seminal findings highlight an unexpected function for mitochondria that may help explain how humans developed a bigger brain during evolution, and how mitochondrial defects lead to neurodevelopmental diseases.

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).