Burcu Cicekdal

Working together to defeat Stargardt disease

Did you know that one in 10,000 people worldwide suffer from an inherited retinal disease, such as Stargardt disease, and lose sight? Stargardt disease is caused by a fault in a specific gene, called ABCA4, and to this date it is incurable. To change this, Munnever Burcu and 13 other researchers with different backgrounds working all over Europe joined forces in the StarT Consortium. Their goal is to find a cure by investigating the disease from different angles. Burcu explains how they want to approach this.

Inherited retinal diseases

Have you ever heard of Stargardt disease? This is a rare, inherited disease that can cause severe damage to the retina of your eye. When that happens, it can lead to partial or complete blindness. This can affect children or can arise in early adulthood. To tackle this disease, as well as other inherited retinal diseases, PhD researcher Melita Kaltak focuses her efforts on mutations in the mRNA. The goal is to develop novel RNA therapies, specific to each patient, as she explains in this video
KU Leuven

How do we deal smartly with peaks in our electricity consumption?

What does a duck have to do with your electricity consumption? Researcher Ellen Beckstedde (Vlerick Business School - KU Leuven) explains it to you in detail in this video. 
KU Leuven

Young professionals: should they imitate their seniors?

Picture two senior auditors: one is very meticulous in his work and always follows the rules. The other likes making shortcuts, by not closely following the rules. Which of these two will a junior auditor then imitate? And how does this affect his or her work quality? That's what Viola Darmawan (Vlerick Business School) is investigating. Find out more in the video. 

Nanomaterials under the microscope

In her PhD, Annelies De wael studied nanomaterials - materials so small that you need an incredibly powerful microscope to see them. And even then you only see a fraction of them. That is why Annelies worked on mathematical models and simulations to be able to see the entire nanomaterial based on the incomplete picture. And that can help researchers develop the most diverse applications: from a ketchup bottle that empties easily to solar panels that produce even more renewable energy!
Op de Beeck

Breathing during sleep: much more than in and out

Snoring is very annoying in itself (especially for roommates), but sometimes there is more to it. In some people, the upper airway closes up to 15 times an hour during sleep. This condition has obstructive sleep apnoea. Sara Op de Beeck explains how she wants to use data to help patients get the best treatment, so that it can be quiet in their bedroom again. 😴

A slick CAR in the race against leukaemia

Cancer is a sneaky disease. For instance, cancer cells sometimes manage to disguise themselves, outrunning our immune system. Gils Roex (UAntwerpen - FWO) explains how equipping our white blood cells with a cleverly designed CAR could well help win the race against blood cancer. Want to know more? Fasten your seatbelts & watch the video 🏎

Google Maps in the brains of people with Alzheimer's

Did you know that the number of people with Alzheimer's disease is likely to triple by 2050? The good news is that for some years now, Alzheimer's research has been gaining momentum, thanks in part to innovative techniques. Lena Duchateau uses one such technique: in situ sequencing, or the Google Maps of the brain. She guides you through this in this video.

Is diabetes the price to pay for a kidney transplant?

In 1933, the very first kidney transplant was performed. Unfortunately, the patient died two days later due to rejection symptoms. The development of anti-rejection drugs provided a solution, but also came with a price: over 1 in 5 patients now develop diabetes after a transplant. Yassine Laghrib (UAntwerpen) explains why and how doctors are looking for a solution.

Do you hear me?

People with hearing loss do not only struggle with hearing problems. Hearing loss can also cause loneliness, emotional problems, and even an increased risk of dementia in the elderly. So after hearing implant placement, one should not only focus on hearing, but also on quality of life, explains Ellen Andries.

Perovskite lasers can lead to exciting new applications

Lasers are not just toys to entertain cats. They can be found in many applications, such as scanners in supermarkets or for facial recognition on your latest smartphone. But there are even more fascinating innovations ahead of us ... if we can build even better lasers. That's what Iakov Goldberg (KU Leuven - Imec) is hoping to achieve. Can you believe that some of these novel perovskite lasers are assembled very similar to how you prepare your breakfast sandwich? 🥪 
KU Leuven

How to cure the Pac-Mans in our cells

Do you remember Pac-Man, from that old skool computer game? Well, did you know that there are Pac-Mans in every single cell of our body? They're called enzymes. Some of these enzymes work too fast or too slow, and this can cause severe diseases. Michaela Prothiwa (KU Leuven) explains how she wants to track down these malfunctioning enzymes using a clever piece of chemistry.