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As a newly appointed Tenure Track Research Professor in the Department of Veterinary Sciences, my main objective is to establish a new research program focused on using stem cell technology to improve fertility preservation in humans and endangered species.

One key area of my research will be in vitro gametogenesis, which involves generating eggs outside of the body using stem cells as a starting point.

In a recent study published in the journal Nature Cell Biology, Dr. Elias Adriaenssens, Prof. Vincent Timmerman and colleagues have discovered a new function for a group of proteins called small heat shock proteins (HSPBs) in the human body. These proteins, which are found in the liquid (cytosolic) portion of cells, were found to play a critical role in the maintenance of the powerhouses of cells, the mitochondria.

My name is Dr. Leen Vendredy and I recently obtained my PhD in Biotechnology and Biochemistry. My research focused on neuromuscular diseases caused by mutations in the small heat shock protein HSPB8. My goal was to better understand the underlying mechanisms of these diseases and to identify potential therapeutic approaches. My PhD supervisor was Prof. Vincent Timmerman from the Peripheral Neuropathies group.

Two years after the first emergence of SARS-CoV-2, various new waves of COVID-19 have swept across Europe. Our researchers have been searching for ways to lower the COVID-19 burden on healthcare systems. Prof. Wim Vanden Berghe’s lab (PPES) has been testing whether the medicinal plant extract Echinacea purpurea can be used to treat Coronavirus infections.

I’m Lorenzo Cianni and my research focuses on targeting autophagy in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. I was awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Postdoctoral grant for this specific project. I’ll be working with Prof. Pieter Van Der Veken and Prof. Wim Martinet to tackle tissue-specific induction of autophagy as an innovative therapeutic strategy for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. 

My name is Roxanne Mols. Last June, I graduated as a Master in Biomedical Sciences: Infectious and Tropical Diseases at the University of Antwerp. It was a wonderful journey where I got to broaden my interests and meet lots of new people. I learnt so much and grew tremendously as a person. I was given lots of opportunities, and one initiative that I found particularly helpful was Academics For Development (AFD).

Servaas Hiel and Silke Schuerewegen traveled to Poland to provide help for Ukrainian refugees. Servaas is doing a bridging programme in Biomedical Sciences at UAntwerp. Silke is an undergraduate at the Karel de Grote Hogeschool and is studying Medical Laboratory Techniques. For the past two weeks Servaas and Silke have been in Przemyśl, Poland to assist the local aid organizations.

I’m Gaëlle Houthaeve and for the past 5 years I have been doing an interdisciplinary PhD with Prof. Winnok De Vos in the Laboratory of Cell Biology and Histology and Prof. Kevin Braeckmans. My PhD research has focused on vapor nanobubble photoporation, which uses laser light (“photo”) to generate vapor nanobubbles, which are able to porate the plasma membrane of cells (“poration”).

Songbirds are present all around us in our daily lives, but did you know that besides their beautiful song each morning they can also teach us something about neuroplasticity? My name is Jasmien Orije, and during my PhD at the Bio-Imaging Lab, under supervision of Professors Annemie Van Der Linden and Marleen Verhoye, I had the opportunity to work with this remarkable animal model for neuroplasticity.