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Life Sciences - Environment - 02.12.2021
City butterflies keep flying for longer
A new study led by VUB biologist Thomas Merckx shows that because of the warmer urban environment in which they live, butterflies and moths display a longer flight season than those in the surrounding countryside. The experiments he and colleagues conducted demonstrate for the first time that urban populations are evolutionarily adapted to start their overwintering state later in the year.

Environment - Life Sciences - 01.12.2021
VUB establishes Global Change Biology
Brussels and other cities as a living lab of ecological change and evolutionary adaptation The Vrije Universiteit Brussel has a new research specialisation in biology.

Health - Life Sciences - 24.11.2021
Sleep partners are too often forgotten
It's estimated that half of the adult population worldwide snores, with or without dangerous interruptions of breathing and related health risks such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, fatigue and concentration problems.

Life Sciences - Health - 15.09.2021
Coconut tree cloning breakthrough will help propagation and preservation
Coconut tree cloning breakthrough will help propagation and preservation
Coconut trees grow slowly and are difficult to clone. Scientists at KU Leuven and the Alliance multiplied seedlings faster and conserved coconut genetic resources for the long term. Coconut trees grow slowly and are difficult to clone. Scientists at KU Leuven and the Alliance have developed a method to multiply seedlings faster and conserve coconut genetic resources for the long term.

Life Sciences - Computer Science - 13.09.2021
AI standards in biomedical research
Guidelines published , to ensure quality and reproducibility of predictive methods An international group of scientists, including the ELIXIR Machine Learning Focus Group , developed a set of guidelines for better reporting standards for AI methods aiming to classify biomedical data. Examples of such methods are machine learning predictors that try to identify, based on genetic and other data, whether someone suffers from a particular rare disease or predictive methods that aim to identify the drug to which a cancer patient would respond best.

Pedagogy - Life Sciences - 30.08.2021
Brains are most amenable to reading development in the first two years of primary education
Brains are most amenable to reading development in the first two years of primary education
The regions that form the reading network in the brain mainly develop in the first two years of primary school. After that, the growth of these brain regions stabilises. This has been shown by a year-long study conducted by KU Leuven. Neurobiological differences in dyslexia are already present at pre-school age  The regions that form the reading network in the brain mainly develop in the first two years of primary school.

Life Sciences - 24.08.2021
What octopuses can teach us about our own brains
What octopuses can teach us about our own brains
KU Leuven researchers expose some surprising similarities with animals that are 600 million years of evolution removed from us. Although octopuses have been wandering a different evolutionary path for around 600 million years, the formation of their brain cells shows some surprising similarities with that of humans.

Environment - Life Sciences - 27.07.2021
Size doesn’t matter in ecosystem resilience, study in PNAS shows
Mangrove forests were once dominant in the tropics, but they have disappeared at alarming rates around the world. Little is known, however, about the impact of this deforestation on the functional diversity and resilience of resident fauna. A team including Farid Dahdouh-Guebas of VUB's Ecology & Biodiversity Research Unit Researchers addressed this question and found that mangroves have among the lowest faunal diversity of any of the planet's ecosystems, making them especially vulnerable to environmental change.

Health - Life Sciences - 09.06.2021
A new bacteria, made in Belgium (and UCLouvain)
In brief: A research team from University of Louvain (UCLouvain) has discovered a new bacterium in the human intestine.

Life Sciences - Health - 05.04.2021
International team identifies genetic link between face and brain shape
An interdisciplinary team led by KU Leuven and Stanford has identified 76 overlapping genetic locations that shape both our face and our brain. What the researchers didn't find is evidence that this genetic overlap also predicts someone's behavioural-cognitive traits or risk of conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.

Environment - Life Sciences - 15.03.2021
Mangroves come from the east
Biologists give first insight into distribution of ecologically important mangroves in the West Indian Ocean Mangrove forests are of great ecological and socio-economic importance. They have a permanent place on the international climate agenda because of their extensive carbon storage. Researchers from the Department of Biology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel have now studied the genetic structure and diversity of mangrove forests in the Western Indian Ocean, a region where these aspects have been less studied until now.

Life Sciences - Health - 11.01.2021
New criteria bring stem cell research one step closer to long-sought goal
New criteria bring stem cell research one step closer to long-sought goal
Creating stem cells that can give rise to any cell type in the early embryo and its supporting structures, including the placenta: some call it 'the holy grail' of stem cell research. An international team of researchers offer new criteria to determine whether a mouse stem cell line has this much-wanted ability, known as totipotency.

Health - Life Sciences - 22.12.2020
Our 10 most-read science news stories of 2020
From stars in another galaxy to a microscopic virus that has taken hold of the entire Earth: in this overview we present the most-read news items about research at KU Leuven in 2020. Bioscience engineers and economists from KU Leuven mapped out how wood could replace petroleum in the chemical industry.

Life Sciences - 08.12.2020
Genetics of human face begin to reveal underlying profile
Genetics of human face begin to reveal underlying profile
In an international study led by KU Leuven and Pennsylvania State University, researchers have identified 203 genes that play a role in the shape of our face. Their study was published. The genetics behind the shape of the human face are difficult to decipher. In 2018, KU Leuven Professor Peter Claes and international colleagues, from Penn State, the University of Pittsburgh and Stanford University School of Medicine, already identified 15 genes that can be connected with specific areas of the face.

Life Sciences - 24.11.2020
Which speaker are you listening to? Hearing aid of the future listens to brainwaves to find out
In a noisy room with many speakers, hearing aids can suppress background noise, but they have difficulties isolating one voice - that of the person you're talking to at a party, for instance.

Health - Life Sciences - 17.11.2020
Existing antidepressant helps to inhibit growth of cancer cells in lab animals
New research has shown that the antidepressant sertraline helps to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. The substance acts on a metabolic addiction that allows different types of cancer to grow. This is shown by a study on cell cultures and lab animals performed by various research labs of KU Leuven.

Health - Life Sciences - 06.10.2020
Targeting our second brain to fight diabetes
In brief: Patrice Cani (UCLouvain) and Claude Knauf (INSERM) have discovered a 'jammer' that blocks communication between the gut and the brain, thus preventing proper regulation of sugar and causing insulin resistance in people with diabetes They also discovered that a lipid produced by our body helps prevent this dysfunction and regulate sugar level, thus mitigating diabetes and intestinal inflammation.

Life Sciences - Health - 26.08.2020
Mechanisms controlling cellular identity of stem cells identified
Mechanisms controlling cellular identity of stem cells identified
Researchers have identified for the first time the mechanisms by which communication between cells controls the identity of stem cells from the mammary gland and prostate. The mammary gland and prostate are composed of two different cell types: basal cells and luminal cells. These two cell types are maintained by separate basal and luminal stem cells.

Life Sciences - Psychology - 25.08.2020
Researchers reversibly disable brain pathway in primates
Researchers reversibly disable brain pathway in primates
For the first time ever, neurophysiologists of KU Leuven, Harvard and the University of Kyoto have succeeded in reversibly disabling a connection between two areas in the brains of primates while they were performing cognitive tasks and their whole brain activity was being monitored. The disconnection had a negative impact on the motivation of the animals, but not on their learning behaviour.

Life Sciences - Earth Sciences - 29.07.2020
Genetic defects can provide a long-term evolutionary advantage
Evolution seems to be a story of continual progress. The weak will perish, according to Darwin's law. Nevertheless, genetic defects that at first glance might make an organism weaker can increase its long-term chances of survival. At first sight, evolution seems to be a story of continual, step-by-step progress.
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