Follow us on social media for our latest updates.

To become, or not to become... a neuron


Researchers led by Pierre Vanderhaeghen and Jérôme Bonnefont (VIB-KU Leuven and ULB), in collaboration with Stein Aerts (VIB KU Leuven) and François Guillemot (Crick Institute), have unraveled a new mechanism controlling the switch between growth and differentiation of neural stem cells during brain development. They discovered a specific factor that makes stem cells ‘deaf’ to proliferative signals, which in turn causes them to differentiate into neurons and shape the marvelous complexity of our brain.


On the importance of being translational: Patient-driven therapeutics


Our second example of the intense exchange of our basic science researchers with the Discovery Sciences team leads us into the field of neurology and peripheral neuropathies. More specifically to Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT), an incurable progressive weakening and atrophy of distal limb muscles. Patients develop foot deformities and gait difficulties, and also experience sensory abnormalities. CMT has a severe impact on the quality of life of its patients. Ludo Van Den Bosch, who is specialized in CMT, is professor neurobiology at the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research. 

Connecting neurons in the brain


Leuven researchers uncover new mechanisms of brain development that determine when, where and how strongly distinct brain cells interconnect. The brain consists of a large collection of interconnected neurons. How complex patterns of neuronal cells grow into functioning circuits during development has fascinated researchers for decades. A team of scientists at VIB and KU Leuven has now uncovered a new signaling mechanism in fruit flies that specifies the formation of neuronal circuits in the brain.

Do ‘microglia’ hold the key to stop Alzheimer’s disease?


A Leuven research team led by Prof. Bart De Strooper (VIB-KU Leuven, UK DRI) studied how specialized brain cells called microglia respond to the accumulation of toxic proteins in the brain, a feature typical of Alzheimer’s. The three major disease risk factors for Alzheimer’s—age, sex and genetics—all affect microglia response, raising the possibility that drugs that modulate this response could be useful for treatment.