KU Leuven

Keeping it cool with 3D printing

Every machine, from your phone to rockets in space, heats up and needs to cool down. To keep your devices from overheating, heat exchangers and heat sinks play a crucial role in absorbing and dissipating excess heat. But how can we make these systems even better? Samanwitha Kolli is keeping it cool with 3D-printing technology!
Rodriguez Carrillo

Tracking chemical pollutants in your body

Chemical pollutants such as PFAS or UV filters are omnipresent. They are used in cosmetics, toys, or food packaging materials. But we don't understand how they affect the human body because we don't have a clear picture of how they interact in the body. This is why Andrea Rodriguez Carrillo wants to follow the journey that chemicals take from the moment they enter your body.
KU Leuven

Sustainable recycling of precious metals

Did you know that 1 in 4 products that surround you contains precious metals? Think about your phone, laptop, or car. "Since these metals are rare and expensive, we urgently need better ways to recycle them", says Omar Martinez (VITO - KU Leuven). His PhD has led to a breakthrough solution: he developed a new, sustainable method, called GDEx, which allows for the selective recovery of these precious metals, with nearly 100% efficiency.

Unlocking the full power of biomolecules

Do you know what happens with your blood sample after a visit to the doctor for a check-up? Your blood sample undergoes testing for common biomolecules like cholesterol, glucose, or vitamin D. Modern technology allows for testing beyond these basics, generating vast amounts of data. Dries Heylen is developing visualizations and analytical techniques to help researchers make sense of this complex data, providing deeper insights into how specific biomolecules relate to diseases and which ones are crucial to monitor. Bloody genius, right?

Cows contribute to the climate solution

Cows burp - a lot. Those burps contain methane, a potent greenhouse gas that, like CO2, causes global warming. Can we make cows produce less methane? "Yes, by adjusting their feed," Nico Peiren (ILVO) explains in this video.

Healthy soil for healthy crop development

For a farmer, a soil brimming with life, such as bacteria, fungi, and other organisms, is important for growing crops. But how do you get such a healthy soil? That's what Koen Willekens (ILVO) digs into in his research.

How many antibiotics are in manure, soil, water and vegetables?

How many antibiotics are in the environment? And which antibiotics can be found? The Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO) thoroughly mapped this out for the first time. What emerged? "Antibiotics are widespread in the environment. We often find them in manure and in the soil, sometimes in fairly high concentrations. This is less the case in water and vegetables," researcher Geertrui Rasschaert explains.

Limiting the use of antibiotics in farms

To reduce the use of antibiotics on farms, we need to prevent animals from becoming sick as much as possible. This involves changing how farmers keep their animals, such as rethinking housing and transportation, adjusting their diet, and allowing young animals to stay with their mothers longer. However, these changes can be difficult for farmers because they might increase costs. Fanny Baudoin, a researcher from ILVO, spoke with farmers and others involved to understand these challenges. She aims to make recommendations on how to overcome these difficulties, helping us decrease the need for antibiotics on farms.

How can we support old laying hens to keep laying good eggs for longer?

Did you know that laying hens stay on a laying farm until they are 18 months old? "But maybe this could be 4 months longer, provided their health, welfare, and egg quality are still fine," says Karolien Langendries (ILVO). Together with her colleagues, she investigates what support old laying hens need so that they can lay good eggs for longer.

Farmers learning from farmers

Farmers constantly need new knowledge in this rapidly changing world, for example on how to deal with climate change or what to do with new pests and diseases that threaten their crops. "Research shows that the best way for farmers to meet these challenges is to learn from other farmers," Simon Lox explains. That's why Simon organises Farm Demonstration Networks. Watch him explain what all that entails.

The green gold of the future

Why do scientists sometimes call microalgae "the green gold"? Well, in addition to biofuels and astronaut food, you could use them to make sunscreen. These tiny algae contain substances that protect them from sunlight, which can also come in handy for humans. Unfortunately, they don't naturally produce enough of those substances. Elke Vereecke researches how to grow microalgae packed with those sunlight-protecting components.
KU Leuven

Is Japanese holly a good alternative to boxwood?

Away with bare boxwood bushes! The infamous boxwood moth went on a rampage in Flanders in recent years 🐛🌳 But don't panic! Meet Japanese holly, a robust alternative that is immune to these voracious caterpillars. The catch? The soil in many Flemish gardens is not acidic enough for this shrub to grow well. Bioengineer Esther Geukens will therefore tinker with the plants and the soil so that Japanese holly can thrive here.