KU Leuven Articles
Insulation technique paves the way for more powerful chips
Researchers at KU Leuven and imec have successfully developed a new technique to insulate microchips. The technique uses metal-organic frameworks, a new type of materials consisting of structured nanopores. In the long term, this method can be used for the development of even smaller and more powerful chips that consume less energy. The team has received an ERC Proof of Concept grant to further their research.
Determining whether people understand what they hear
Neuroscientists from KU Leuven measure brainwaves to determine whether people understand what they hear. The new technique was developed by Professor Tom Francart and his colleagues from the Department of Neurosciences at KU Leuven in collaboration with the University of Maryland. It will allow for a more accurate diagnosis of patients who cannot actively participate in a speech understanding test because they’re too young, for instanc...
A method to study neurodegenerative diseases in the lab
KU Leuven scientists present a new way to generate oligodendrocytes, building blocks of the brain that play a crucial role in neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis and ALS. The method makes it much easier to study these cells and explore their therapeutic potential. All stem cells are immature, and pluripotent stem cells are the most immature among them: they can give rise to all different cell types of the body.
Unique type of turbulence discovered in the Sun
In the outer atmosphere of the Sun a form of turbulence has been discovered that has always been considered impossible: the turbulence is not caused by colliding waves, but by waves moving into the same direction. With the discovery of this phenomenon – called ‘uniturbulence’ – a number of KU Leuven mathematicians have earned their place in the physics handbooks for future generations.
Scientists figure out how timer for cell division works
Human cells use a timer to divide: each cell gets at least 30 minutes to divide its genetic material between the nuclei of two daughter cells. Researchers at KU Leuven have unravelled how this timer is switched on and off. Their findings open up perspectives for the treatment of cancer, as keeping the timer going would stop cancer cells from dividing. Our body is constantly building new tissue and replacing dead or damaged cells through cell...
Scientists identify 27 novel cancer genes
Researchers from KU Leuven and the Francis Crick Institute have pinpointed 27 novel genes thought to prevent cancer from forming. Their findings could help develop personalised cancer treatments that target these genes. “Our cells have two copies of tumour suppressor genes that, when lost in mutated cells, cause cancer,” says Jonas Demeulemeester. “Using a new statistical model, we’ve uncovered 27 novel tumour suppres...
First responders to bacterial invasion identified
When bacteria enter our body, they kick-start a powerful immune response. But this chain of reactions doesn't fully account for our immediate responses. KU Leuven researchers show that so-called ion channels play a key role as ‘first responders’. When we get a bacterial lung infection, the cells lining our airways are the first line of defence. These cells recognise the lipopolysaccharide molecules typically found on many bacteri...
Security flaw leaves all Wi-Fi traffic open to eavesdropping
KU Leuven researchers have discovered serious weaknesses in a protocol that secures all protected Wi-Fi networks. Attackers can exploit these flaws to steal credit card numbers, passwords, and other sensitive information. Researcher Mathy Vanhoef (Department of Computer Science / imec-DistriNet) detected the weakness by performing a novel type of attack against the so-called 4-way handshake of the WPA2 protocol, which secures all protected W...
ESA approves the design of the PLATO satellite
The European Space Agency (ESA) has approved the design of the PLATO satellite. Researchers and engineers at KU Leuven and the University of Liège (ULg) will be closely involved in the development. Plato is a space mission dedicated to hunting tens of thousands of Earth-like exoplanets revolving around nearby stars similar to our Sun. The launch is scheduled for 2026. PLATO will consist of 26 identical telescopes – each wit...
Drone can deliver parcels and save lives
The CargoCopters are unmanned aircrafts that can lift off by themselves, cover fifty-kilometre distances, and reach speeds of up to 150 kilometres per hour. Aeronautical and robotics engineer Bart Theys from the Department of Mechanical Engineering came up with the idea for this new type of drone about five years ago and based it on two existing models. “The most commonly used drones are multicopters,” says Theys.
Polluted air could generate power
Researchers from the University of Antwerp and KU Leuven have succeeded in developing a process that purifies air and, at the same time, generates power. The device must only be exposed to light in order to function. “We use a small device with two rooms separated by a membrane,” explains Professor Sammy Verbruggen (UAntwerp/KU Leuven). “Air is purified on one side, while on the other side hydrogen gas is produced from a pa...
3D model of endometrium is developed in a dish
Scientists at KU Leuven have managed to grow three-dimensional models of the endometrium in a dish. These so-called endometrial organoids can help shed light on the underlying mechanisms of the menstrual cycle. They also make it possible to study endometrial cancer and other diseases of the uterus in a lab dish. During a woman’s menstrual cycle, the endometrium that lines the uterus thickens, matures, and – unless the woman becom...
Developing dual vaccine against yellow fever and rabies
Rabies and yellow fever claim ten thousands of lives each year. Vaccines already exist but various drawbacks that hinder their efficient distribution. One of them is the need to transport and store these vaccines at cool temperatures. The RABYD-VAX consortium, led by KU Leuven, has now set out to develop a cheap, temperature-stable, and easy-to-produce vaccine against both diseases at once.
Travelling through Leuven made easier with e-bikes
University staff members will soon have their daily mail delivered to them by e-bike. The technical intervention staff, too, is using electric bicycles more and more often. “Mobility is always a concern for us,” says Steven Lesage, head of Facility Services. “Our staff members are often stuck in traffic, and the new traffic circulation plan has not made driving to various destinations in the Leuven city centre any easier, especi...
Chimeric model means improvement for Alzheimer's research
Researchers have developed a method to gain insight into the development of Alzheimer's disease. The team of Professor Bart De Strooper (VIB-KU Leuven, Dementia Research Institute in the UK) transplanted human brain cells in mouse brains containing amyloid plaques, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. They found that the transplanted human brain cells are much more susceptible to the disease than those of mice.
EU activates its Galileo satellite navigation system
The European Union activated its Galileo satellite navigation system in December 2016. The EU is dedicated to setting this system apart from other navigation systems such as GPS – the US counterpart of Galileo. Researchers from the Department of Electrical Engineering at KU Leuven have now risen to this challenge as well: they designed authentication features that will make it even more difficult to send out false Galileo signals.
Safety system targets vehicle blind spot
In Europe, blind spot accidents involving trucks cause the loss of 1,300 lives each year. Unfortunately, existing blind spot mirrors and cameras can’t always prevent such accidents. “Blind spot mirrors are not always very effective,” says Kristof Van Beeck, doctoral student at the Embedded Artificially Intelligent Vision Engineering (EAVISE) research group at De Nayer Technology Campus in Sint-Katelijne-Waver.
E-nose detects pesticides and nerve gas in low concentrations
An international team of researchers led by Ivo Stassen and Rob Ameloot from KU Leuven, Belgium, have made the detection of pesticides and nerve gas in very low concentrations possible. The best-known electronic nose is the breathalyser. As drivers breathe into the device, a chemical sensor measures the amount of alcohol in their breath. This chemical reaction is then converted into an electronic signal, allowing the police officer to r...
3D printing brings video game characters to life
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. “The world of children’s toys is changing rapidly,” says Professor Bieke Zaman, research coordinator of the WOOPI project. “Tablet computers, for instance, have become very successful, but children still want to play with something tangible as...
Phosphor could lead to next-gen LED lighting
Researchers from KU Leuven, the University of Strasbourg, and CNRS have discovered a phosphor that could make next-gen 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. Silver clusters consist of just a few silver atoms and have remarkable optical properties.