The Biomedical Congress is an annual event organized by master’s students of the KU Leuven. The Biomedical Congress has become an established concept in our education, as this year will be the 9th edition. In this light, we get full support from the Faculty of Medicine in the organization of this event. This will be the first year in which the congress is not only organized by and for biomedical students, but will also be expanded to the Faculty of Engineering Science. With this expansion we hope to make this the biggest edition thus far. Bachelor, master’s, PhD students and other interested guests are more than welcome to attend the lectures and job fair.
The Biomedical Congress
The Biomedical Congress essentially consists of two parts: firstly we will have scientific research lectures by professors, and secondly, a job fair. The event will end with a reception to network and elaborate further on all the interesting topics.
The scientific research lectures will start with the main lecture by Prof. Dr. Hugues Duffau, a renowned neurosurgeon who was awarded the title Doctor Honoris Causa by the KU Leuven. He will teach us about his own research on the plasticity of the human brain. The main lecture will be followed by two sessions of ‘hot topic lectures’. For each session, students can choose between three different topics.
The job fair will take place after the scientific research lectures. During the job fair, (PhD) students can get in touch with the different biomedical companies present at the Biomedical Congress. All companies will receive a booklet containing the résumés of all the students attending the job fair.
The ultimate goal of the Biomedical Congress is to interest students and broaden their view beyond textbooks and exams. Students will be able to a look at what their working life could look like after graduating. They will get a preview of both academic research as well as of the biomedical industry. With our expansion to the Faculty of Engineering Science, we hope to give as broad an overview as possible. We hope to see many students with different backgrounds and interests, and the companies that match them. For the companies, the Biomedical Congress will be a great place to meet their future employees.
When: Tuesday 2 April 2019, 13:00 – 18:30
Where: Campus Gasthuisberg, UZ Leuven, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Main lecture by Hugues Duffau
Professor and Chairman of the Neurosurgery Department
Montpellier University Medical Center, France
Team “Plasticity of the central nervous system, human stem cells and glial tumors”
Hugues Duffau is Chairman of the department of Neurosurgery in the Hôpital Gui de Chauliac at the University of Montpellier. He is head of the research team “Plasticity of the central nervous system, human stem cells and glial tumors” at the institute of Neurosciences, Montpellier (INSERM).
Professor Duffau studied medicine at the University of Toulouse and trained to become a neurosurgeon at Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière in Paris.
Since the very beginning of his research, professor Duffau was fascinated by the plasticity of the brain. By studying the relation between the anatomy and the function of the brain, professor Duffau came to a better understanding of the signal processing in the cortex.
With his research, professor Duffau formed the basis for a new model of the organisation of the brain wherein dynamic networks interact and reorganise themselves. In this model, the function is a consequence of parallel activity of the brain in different groups of interconnected neurons. This led to new insights in the neuronal basis of language and cognition. It also led to new applications for therapy of brain tumors and epilepsy.
The research of professor Duffau can be categorised as “reversed translational”. Treating and operating on patients and critically interpreting his findings, led him to re-evaluate the knowledge of neuroanatomy. This led to a new view on the functioning of the human brain regarding language, memory, executive functions and more.
Hot topic session 1
Lipid Metabolism in Cancer Laboratory, LKI Oncology Research center
Professor Swinnen is head of the laboratory of Lipid metabolism and cancer at the KU Leuven. He is also chair of the department of Oncology.
The professor and his team focus on the altered lipid metabolism in cancer cells.
The group has made fascinating observation that development and progression of cancer is accompanied by dramatic changes in the cell’s composition of phospholipids.
These findings led to a new concept in which cancer cells alter their functioning by changing their membrane lipid composition. The group now pursues to further establish this concept and translate these insights into innovative diagnostic tests and treatments.
Stein Aerts Lab – VIB – KUL
Stein Aerts is a bio-computer scientist at the KU Leuven and the VIB. He runs his own laboratory for Computational Biology. Professor Aerts is known for his ground-breaking research to investigate the mechanisms of the human genome. He has published many papers in journals such as Nature Genetics, Nature Methods en Cell.
The laboratory of professor Aerts focusses on decoding the genomic regulatory code and understanding how regulatory programs drive changes in cellular states. They also aim to decipher regulatory programs of cellular state switches in mammalian systems.
They focus on the retina and the brain in Drosophila melanogaster as a main model to investigate a variety of biological problems.
Dr. Alan URBAN has been funded by the French Ministry of Research and Technology and received his PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Lorraine University in 2008, France. He graduated in experimental surgery from Paris Descartes university. He was Assistant Professor in neuroscience at Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielle (ESPCI) and then became group leader at INSERM Hospital Sainte-Anne in Paris. He has an international working experience as invited scientist at the RIKEN Institute (Japan) and in Tel-Aviv University (Israel). He has received several scientific and entrepreneurship awards such as the CIPP (2013), the Nobert Segard (2014) and Concours Lépine International (2018). He created several companies and is an independent consultant in imaging technology. His team significantly contribute to the development of functional ultrasound imaging (fUSi). Since 2016, he is a group leader at the Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders (NERF) and part time professor in the neurophysiology department at the KU Leuven.
Functional ultrasound imaging (fUSi) is an innovative modality based on plane-wave Doppler ultrasound for detection of small hemodynamic changes in brain vessels triggered by neuronal activity. The benefits of fUSi include a good spatial (<100um pixel size) and temporal resolution (<100ms), a high sensitivity, a large field of view (several cm 2 ), an extended compatibility with electrophysiological recordings (tetrodes, silicon probes,…) and with the optogenetic interrogation of neural circuits. Our group has demonstrated that fUSi can reliably map sensory-evoked responses across several synapses without the need for temporal averaging and is suitable to decipher the complex links between brain activity and behaviour in animal models. fUSi can also be used to study cerebral blood flow regulation and neurovasular dysfunction in pathologies such as stroke, Alzheimer disease, traumatic brain injury or glioblastoma. Additionally, fUSi is providing reliable data for middle throughput screening during pharmacological studies (ie target validation, measure of off-target effects…). On the bedside, fUSi may be used for non- invasive functional brain imaging for assessing the severity of birth asphyxia or intraoperatively in adults for precise identification of eloquent brain regions during resection of pathological tissue such as pharmaco-resistant epilepsy or tumor(s). A new generation of fully digital fUSi scanner with 3D real-time imaging capabilities is currently in development in our team at the NERF.
Hot topic session 2
Bennie ten Haken
Magnetic detection & imaging
University of Twente, Enschede The Netherlands
Bennie Ten Haken currently works at the Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine (MIRA) , University of Twente. After his research on superconducting materials he made a switch to the field of physics for medicine and started a new research group on Magnetic Detection & Imaging (MD&I).
Dr. at the KULeuven at the Campus Groep T, Technology cluster Materials technology.
After graduating in 2005 as an industrial engineer in Biochemistry at the KU Leuven, Dr. Veerle Bloemen went to the VU University Amsterdam. There, she earned her doctorate in Sciences at the Department of Cell Biology. Following her PhD, she returned to Leuven as a teacher of Biochemical and Biomedical Research Methods and Medical Bioengineering. Her research at the university hospital Gasthuisberg aims to grow bone tissue from stem cells. These ‘new human materials’ allow fractures and other bone defects to heal naturally.
In February of 2015, she was part of a delegation of researcher of the KU Leuven that went on a mission to Laos, Thailand an Cambodja to strengthen the relations with the partner universities and strengthen the collaboration.
Third speaker: to be announced