KU Leuven

We are all made of stardust ... but how?

All the elements we find here on earth were created long ago in the universe, floating around space in the form of stardust, coming from massive stars. "If we want to understand earth and where we came from, we need to understand these massive stars", says astronomer Abigail Frost (KU Leuven). That's why, using a technique called interferometry, she observes these rare and very distant stars.
KU Leuven

Infrastructure for dispersed regions: qualitative and sustainable?

5 million Flemings do not live in a city centre, but in villages or city outskirts. This fragmentation creates a major challenge: how do you connect all these houses to the sewerage network and how do you ensure smooth and sustainable mobility? Does everyone have to move to the city? No, as architect and urban designer Sophie Leemans (KU Leuven) explains in this video.
KU Leuven

Brain-controlled hearing aids

Family parties are a nightmare for those who wear hearing aids. With all those people talking at the same time, they find it difficult to hold a conversation. Engineer Simon Geirnaert is working on a solution. With his brain-controlled hearing aids, he also wants to help people with a hearing aid to communicate with each other.
KU Leuven

What is an orphan drug?

Do you remember baby Pia? She suffered from the rare muscle disease AMS and the medicine to save her cost a whopping €1.9 million. If you were the Minister of Health, would you pay for Pia's medicine? Even if that meant there was no budget left for another medicine that might save 100 people?
KU Leuven

Understanding how we convey information in different languages

Have you ever been stressed because you had to give a presentation? What if we told you that linguistic research could give you the key to becoming a better presenter in any language of the world? Linguist Charlotte Bourgoin (KU Leuven) studies the "information structure of speech" in different languages. Her research can help you better convey information and thus become a better presenter, both in your native language and in foreign languages.
KU Leuven

A stroke in the picture

During a stroke, every second counts to save as many brain cells as possible. Intervention is only possible within a narrow time window of a few hours because late treatment can lead to serious complications. Is there nothing more we can do for these 'late' patients? There is, says neurologist trainee Lauranne Scheldeman!
KU Leuven

Unmasking bank risk

In 2008 banks took too many risks and lied about their true condition. Their collapse led to a worldwide financial crisis, that had a huge impact on society. You may think that everything is better now, but is it? Or do banks only look safer than they really are? That's what Elizaveta Sizova (KU Leuven) is investigating, in order to assess bank risk.
KU Leuven

Let's no longer treat every ovarian cancer patient the same way

"Each person is unique. So why do we still treat every woman with ovarian cancer the same way?" Liselore Loverix (KU Leuven - FWO) examines patient by patient and looks for errors in the DNA of their tumour cells. In this way, before treatment starts, she identifies which patient would benefit from a new, targeted therapy based on cancer drugs.
KU Leuven

English loan words: the clash of grammatical constructions

Dutch is full of loan words, such as "last minute" or "lunch". It seems as if it can borrow English words without any limit. But is that really the case? Linguist Marlieke Shaw (KU Leuven - FWO) looks into this by studying transcriptions of spoken texts. A real must-see for fans of the Dutch language.
KU Leuven

Can we be multilingual in our own mother tongue?

There is only one stable grammar, which applies in all situations of language use, right? Not really, says linguist Alexandra Engel (KU Leuven). Her research shows that, depending on the formality of the situation, we use different variants of grammar - for example, you talk differently to your friend than to your boss. In a sense, we are multilingual in our own mother tongue.
KU Leuven

The big impact of tiny critters in our food

You have no doubt come across it when opening your fridge: a packet of cheese full of mould or a pot of sauce with a suspiciously bulging lid. The culprits? Bacteria, yeasts and moulds. Food producers try to prevent this type of spoilage as much as possible, by ensuring that a product contains as few micro-organisms as possible when it leaves the factory. Bio-engineer Thijs Vackier is working on new cleaning agents that can better break down biofilms, protective mantles around micro-organisms, in food processing equipment.
KU Leuven

Gamma Cassiopeia, the stellar ballerina

Did you know that one of the brightest stars in the night sky is still a mystery to astronomers? Gamma Cassiopeia, the central star of the Cassiopeia constellation (the 'W' you can see at night), is rapidly spinning around its axis, much like a ballerina, causing it to break itself apart. And it's not the only one. Julia Bodensteiner wants to shed light on these spinning, or should we say 'dancing' stars.