All news

Le lundi 18 décembre, l'unité du Centre de Recherches du Cyclotron - CRC - met a l'honneur un cycle de conférences portant sur différents aspects du vieillissement : Vieillissons ! L'objectif est de présenter les résultats de différentes études menées au sein du Centre, de communiquer avec le public et de partager nos expériences.

Le GIGA-Consciousness et le Coma Science Group ont le plaisir de vous inviter à la 3ème journée européenne du coma qui aura lieu ce mercredi 8  novembre 2017 de 18h00 à 21h00 à la Salle Académique de l'Université de Liège, place du XX Août sur la thématique du don d'organes. 

From 1 January, Liesbet Geris will begin a three-year term as Francqui Research Professor. An enviable mandate that, according to the terms of the Francqui Foundation, "is aimed at researchers whose research is novel and exceptional and whose field of research belongs to an important and current scientific area". 

In a study published today in the journal Nature Immunology, Belgian researchers from the universities of Liège and Ghent (ULiège and UGent) have, for the first time, proven that infecting laboratory mice with a gammaherpesvirus, herpesvirus murin 4 or MuHV-4, protects the latter from developing allergic asthma. This study is the first to prove the crucial role that some viral infections can play in the long-term control of the development of allergic responses.

A joint study by ULiège (GIGA) and ULB, will be publish in PNAS, shows that a population of cells of the immune system, γδ T cells, could have an important effect in human papillomavirus-induced (HPV) cervical cancer, the third leading cause of cancer death in women.

Christina Schmidt (Cyclotron Research Center) has just been selected to receive an ERC Starting Grant from the European Research Council. This grant (around 1.5 million Euros), was awarded to pursue research that explores the link between circadian regulation of the sleep-wake cycle and cognitive aging. Congratulations!

Anouk Georges (Laurent Nguyen's lab) received a 15000€ prize of the Fondation Roi Baudouin (Fund John W. Mouton Pro Retina) for their project "Support for 'Modulating synaptogenesis in mouse iPS-derived 3D retinal cultures: a strategy to enhance neural circuit reconstruction post-transplantation".

A few months after the discovery of a novel mechanism by which viruses cause leukemia ,the research team led by Anne Van den Broeke publishes a new study in which the researchers apply an optimized molecular method to monitor disease progression in patients. They show that the new method enables a better evaluation of the therapeutic response for this particularly aggressive type of leukemia.

In association with the GIGA Imaging Platform, we propose to provide specific training sessions. These sessions will be provided at the GIGA center on the 7th and 8th of september during lunchtime from 12 to 14 PM. 

The team of François Jouret, (FNRS) researcher at GIGA and nephrologist at the CHU in Liège, is working on the use of PET-scan at 18FDG in the non-invasive diagnosis of acute rejection of the renal graft. This approach, developed in collaboration with the Nuclear Medicine Department of the CHU in Liège (Prof. Roland Hustinx, Dr Pierre Lovinfosse), would avoid an unnecessary renal biopsy in many renal transplant recipients.

A new article published by Dr. Malgrange's team (GIGA-Neurosciences) reveals a new function of microRNAs (miRNAs). It suggests that miRNAs play a major role in the development of the auditory portion of the inner ear.

Christina Schmidt is a researcher at GIGA-CRC In vivo Imaging. His research theme focuses on the link between cognition and sleep with a chronobiological approach through circadian rhythms. She is particularly interested in cognitive aging in this approach. She has just obtained a mandate as a Research Associate from the FNRS.

The projects of Fabrice Bureau, Pierre Close and Thomas Marichal have been selected for this 4th call for projects WELBIO, whose mission is to support the fundamental research of excellence in life sciences in Wallonia. Congratulations to them!

Scientists have closed in on specific genes responsible for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) from a list of over 600 genes that were suspects for the disease. The team from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and their collaborators at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the GIGA Institute of the University of Liège combined efforts to produce a high resolution map to investigate which genetic variants have a causal role in the disease.


Le Conseil d'Administration du FNRS a dévoilé hier la liste des nouveaux mandats octroyés. Félicitations à tous les chercheurs sélectionnés !

The GIGA Cell Imaging Platform is proud to announce that the beautifull brand new lightsheet Z1 microscope is well arrived and already installed within the Core facility.

The "prix Galien de Pharmacologie" is organized each year in Belgium by the "Journal du Médecin". It awards a work in fundamental or clinical Pharmacology that has been accomplished by a researcher or a team of researchers below the age of 40. The Prix Galien de Pharmacologie 2016 (awarded in 2017) was awarded to Julien Hanson for his contribution to the study of understudied G protein coupled receptors.

This prize confirms the value of the project of PDC*Line Pharma. It's attribuated by academic Key Opinion Leaders in oncology from the largest research institutes in Europe and international leaders of R&D Oncology departments from MATWIN's partner pharmaceutical companies.

A team of researchers led by Anne Van den Broeke (GIGA-ULg and Institut Jules Bordet-ULB) has uncovered a novel mechanism by which viruses cause leukemia. These new findings, published on 23rd May in Nature Communications, could be key to the understanding of virus induced cancers and the development of targeted therapeutic strategies for a very aggressive type of leukemia.

GIGA joins the University of Liège and CHU of Liège to send their warm congratulations to Steven Laureys, the Prix Francqui 2017, the most prestigious Belgian scientific prize. Congratulations !

The teams of Pierre Close and Alain Chariot (GIGA-Molecular Biology of Diseases) publish an article in Trends in Cancer where they suggest that a new family of enzymes that regulate tRNA modifications could represent targets of New class of inhibitors to be used alone or in combination with existing drugs to better treatment.

Their team has just been rewarded for 2017-2019 for the study of deciphering the role of protein ubiquitination in human cortical malformation and hearing impairment

Researchers at GIGA at the University of Liège and Imperial College in London are discovering how the rhinovirus, the agent responsible for the common cold, acts on our immune system to induce severe exacerbations of asthma in people suffering from this disease.

The team of Bernard Peers has published in BMC Biology an article who demonstrates that transcriptome analysis of pancreatic cells across distant species highlights novel important regulator genes.

Thanks to funding from the ERDF, Agnès Noël's team has just acquired the Micron IV from Phoenix Research Labs, which is unique in Europe. This equipment will help research related to Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), a major cause of blindness among people over 65 years.

The team of Fabrice Bureau and Thomas Marichal of GIGA discovers how exposure to microbes protects against asthma and propose a cell therapy approach that can lead to novel treatments for the disease


The SBN mentioned: "Dr. Balthazart embodies the spirit and inspiration of Danny Lehrman, with a career of eminent scholarship and a record of outstanding mentorship of future scientists".

La société Clarity Pharmaceuticals est une entreprise fondée voici une demi-douzaine d'années qui travaille dans le secteur de la médecine nucléaire, plus précisément dans le domaine de l'imagerie. Elle a mis au point une molécule qui permet de diagnostiquer des maladies cardio-vasculaires.

The Gertrud Reenmtsma Foundation (Max Planck Society) has just named its winners in the category of fundamental research in neurology. Steven Laureys (Coma Science Group - GIGA-Consciousness) shares the "Klaus Joachim Zülch" Prize 2017 with Giulio Tononi (University Wisconsin-Madison). The two researchers are rewarded for their "fundamental discoveries in the neurology of consciousness and coma".

The team of Michaël Herfs (laboratory of Experimental Pathology - GIGA Cancer) published an article in The Journal of Pathology which highlights the existence of 2 subtypes of anal squamous cell carcinoma and the prognostic significance of tumor origin in patients treated for HPV-positive cancer.



The GIGA has been recently awarded with an European grant from the 4th call of the Infect-Era. The laboratory of Emmanuel Dejardin, together with research groups from France and Germany, is involved in a project called Target-HDV. The goal of this project is to better understand the HDV (Hepatitis Delta Virus) in order to cure it.

The next GIGA Day will be held on February 1st. It's organized by the GIGA-Cancer unit and will be about "new insights into the new hallmarks of cancer". Have a look on the program and don't forget to register before January, 22nd !

As of January 1st, PDC*line Pharma has settled in at the GIGA « labhotel ». The spin-off, created in 2014 in Grenoble has moved to Belgium and chose GIGA to launch its activities regarding the development of a new class of immunotherapy based on the universal and powerful line of cells showing antigens, that can be loaded with various types of target tumoral antigens.

We wish you a wonderful year !

The GIGA Flow Cytometry core facility acquired a new flow cytometer analyzer, the BD LSR Fortessa equipped with a High Throughput Sampler (HTS) module. This FACS delivers the optimal sensitivity and resolution required for multicolor applications since it can be used to detect 18 colors simultaneously thanks to the 5 laser lines that it supports.

Khalil Farhat, PhD student in the laboratory of Immuno-Endocrinology (GIGA-I3) has been selected as the best poster in the category "Infectious diseases and Immunology" by the scientific committee of the SFI (Société Française d'Immunologie), which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year in Paris.

Michel Georges, director of GIGA, talks about the imminent transition of genomic medicine and how to better benefit from research grants from Europe. Interviews to find in the supplement of "La Libre" of November 30 or on the website

The Metastasis Research Laboratory team (LRM, GIGA-Cancer) published an article in the journal eLife demonstrating the pro-cancer effect of methylglyoxal via glycation of Hsp90 and accumulation YAP factor transcription.

In a study plublished in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, the team of Thomas Marichal (GIGA-I3, Immunology Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular, Pr. Fabrice Bureau), in collaboration with the team of Steve Galli (University of Stanford, California), discovered an important role of a protein, called guanine nucleotide exchange factor RAB-1 (RABGEF1) in maintaining epithelial skin homeostasis and prevention of atopic dermatitis.

A team from the Cyclotron (GIGA-CRC In Vivo Imaging) published results in the journal Cortex demonstrating metacognition deficit in Alzheimer's patients is linked to a loss of gray matter volume at the lower lateral prefrontal cortex.

This Friday was held the "Board of Counselors" at GIGA where academic and scientific world experts were invited to give their views on the GIGA strategic plan.


The European Union, through the Horizon 2020 programme, is investing €45 million in research to combat the outbreak of the Zika virus disease and other emerging infections transmitted by mosquitoes. The laboratory of Laurent Nguyen (GIGA-Neurosciences) is part of the ZikAlliance consortium in the aim to understand cellular and molecular mechanisms of microcephaly induced by Zika in fetuses.

On 28/09, the European Commission and Parliament launched the 2016 European Researchers' Night at the European Parliament. Delphine Franssen (GIGA-Neurosciences) won the 2nd prize with her presentation "When the environment controls puberty".


The second Coma European Day about coma and consciousness disorders will be held at Liège by the Coma Science Group on Tuesday, November 8th. Program: Conference from Steven Laureys, testimonials, debates, projection and concert.

The team of Pierre Close and Alain Chariot published an article in the "Journal of Experimental Medicine" demonstrating the influence of ELP3 and CTU1 / 2 in the development of metastasic breast cancers. The inhibition of these enzymes may provide a novel pharmacological approach for the treatment of these cancers.

A new article published in Cell research by Laurent Nguyen's team (GIGA-Neurosciences) demonstrate that Elongator cell-autonomously promotes cortical interneuron migration by controlling actin cytoskeletal dynamics.

Two fundamental research articles of the Animal Genomics Laboratory (GIGA-Medical Genomics) on the genetic analysis of cattle populations has just been published in Genome Research. The first article focuses on the identification of coding variants associated with major effects on the recombination rate in cattle. The second study found, thanks to genome sequencing of many cattle, lethal recessive mutations for the embryo.

Long considered as a "useless" organ, the thymus is now recognized as playing a vital role in our immune system. In a book published by "Presses Universitaires de Liège", Vincent Geenen (GIGA-I3) talk about this gland for which he has become a global specialist.

Through donations and bequests, the aim of Leon Fredericq Fund is to "give to the intelligence and creativity of young researchers the means to serve the scientific understanding and medical progress." Each year, the fund subsidizes a large number of  GIGA researchers and researchers from the CHU of Liège.

Although the connection between RNA synthesis and decay has been known to scientists for some years now, the actual protein that connects the two processes had remained unknown until very recently.

The work entitled “The unexpected structure of the designed protein Octarellin V.1 forms a challenge for protein structure prediction tools” by Maximiliano Figueroa et al, has been selected as the cover after been accepted in the Journal of Structural Biology.

The eosinophils that contribute to inflammation and exacerbation of the asthmatic response had been known to scientists for some time. But another type of eosinophil has been discovered that, to the great surprise of Researchers at the University of Liege’s GIGA research centre, has been shown to play a protective and beneficial role. Their astonishing discovery is published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Looking for a nice place to locate your business in biotechnology? Look no further, come join us at GIGA! Amplycell tell us about its experience!

The latest measures by functional imaging confirmed that brain performance depends at any time of the sleep debt but also our circadian clock, with 24-hour cycles. Results are published in the journal Science by researchers from GIGA.

Research based on the work of Morgane Bourcy and Christine Gilles'team from the laboratory of Tumor and Development Biology (GIGA-Cancer) make the cover of the journal "Cancer Research" (July item) with a publication related to the high potential metastatic of derived circulating tumor cells from epithelial-mesenchymal transition.

GIGA's team has managed to identify the role of the chemokine CXCL12 in the radio-resistance of the initiators of glioblastoma cells. An approach combining radiation therapy with inhibitors of CXCL12-mediated pathway seems promising in order to improve care and patient and limit the number of relapses.
Vincent Seutin and Dominique Engel's team (GIGA-Neurosciences) has published an interesting article in the journal "Journal of Neuroscience". This team works on dopamine neurons involved in the control of movement and the motivation to perform a task. Fabian Philippart, a PhD student in the lab found that a calcium channel sensitive to voltage is present in greater density in the compact black substance. This finding suggests that there may be a relationship between the channel "L" and health problems caused by fragility of these neurons.
Besides their circadian variations, do cognitive functions adopt a seasonal pattern? The issue was never resolved. Through the work of a team from the GIGA-CRC In vivo Imaging, we can now answer in the affirmative (an article from the FRNSNews).

In the wake of previous work carried out on a group of proteins called Elongator, a team of researchers from Liège, led by Dr. Laurent Nguyen discovered a signaling pathway that plays an important role at various stages of cortical development. Exacerbation of this pathway may lead to underdevelopment of the brain and cerebral cortex in particular. This find is very promising, including, why not, for the development of a future therapy to counter the microcephaly (an article FNRS News).

2 articles in the FNRS News of  June show how the zebrafishes can be useful in totally different fields of research...  Examples of research conducted by Marc Muller, of the laboratory of Organogenesis and Regeneration.

Initially recognized as  homeostatic signalling pathway that helps cells to cope with cellular stress, the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) has kept an unexpected activity well hidden up until now. It would also seem that it plays an important physiological role in the development of the nervous system. That's what Laurent Nguyen and his team reveal in an article published in Trends in Neurosciences.

Le FNRS vient d'attribuer ce vendredi ses nouveaux mandats. Les candidatures de 24 chercheurs du GIGA ont été retenues pour les différents mandats. Félicitations à tous et plus particulièrement encore à Thomas Marichal, qui se voit nommé à un poste de chercheur qualifié.


A GIGA team, in collaboration with Italian, English and americans researchers, showed that the responsiveness of neurons control was one of the means used by the body clock to maintain our cognitive functioning. This discovery, published this week in Nature Communications, shows that even the simplest aspects of brain function are affected by our circadian clock, with moments of lesser reactivity or exacerbated reactivity of neurons.

In 2015, EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) has fixed the daily dose "safe" to health to 4 mg / kg of bisphenol-A (BPA). A study of the GIGA-Neuroscience has demonstrated that  two weeks of exposure newborns raccoons at a dose 160 times lower than that threshold sufficient to disrupt an essential neurotransmitter system in the brain.

The team of Julie Bakker recently published in "The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism" a research article focuses on the expression of kisspeptin in humans. The results of their study confirm that there are significant gender differences and that women have more neurons in kisspeptin than men. Moreover, transsexuals have an expression similar to that of women when there is no difference among homosexuals. It also appears that the number of kisspeptin neurons is higher in children (especially before puberty) and in older people, bringing new questions and opening new avenues of research still little explored.

Researchers from Franck Dequiedt's lab (GIGA-Molecular Biology of Diseases) in collaboration with ULB and American researchers have published findings in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology which show the conductor role of transciption factors, as these proteins seem to regulate all the steps of gene expression. This important discovery in biology opens new prospects for medical research, including some cancers.



Formerly known as Scinnamic, the company “Bridge 2 Health” has just changed its name, reflecting its ambitions and objectives: building bridges with the healthcare sector. CHU de Liège and ULg have empowered Bridge 2 Health (B2H) to boost exploration of new partnerships with industry and research institutes worldwide focusing on Neurology, Oncology, Cardiology and Bone and Cartilage.

From 23 to 29 May 2016 is the third edition of the "Week of migraine." The opportunity to return to some researches conducted at the University of Liège in this field, including the research of Jean Schoenen, GIGA-Neurosciences.

In addition to those usually offered, 3 new fellowships are available within the call for applications of the Fonds Léon Fredericq 2016-2017.

The GIGA-Genomics platform is pleased to announce that it is expanding its activities to assist users in bioinformatics tasks. Back from Boston where he was senior scientist in the Center for Cancer Systems Biology led by Dr Marc Vidal, Benoit Charloteaux has recently joined the team. PhD from Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, he will take benefits of his diverse expertise in computational biology to further develop bioinformatics support.

4CELLS is a training program dedicated to technologies of cell culture for human health, developed in collaboration with the 4 competent walloon training centers in this area.


14 PhD students, from Japan, Sweden, Germany, England, Spain and Belgium, are attending to a 2 weeks training course on the CAGE-seq and ChIP-seq technologies at GIGA.  These practical courses are organized in the frame of the European “ZENCODE-ITN” project which aims to contribute to the annotation of the zebrafish genomic sequences, increase our understanding of gene regulation in diverse processes in development, regeneration or disease.   

La Commission Européenne est légalement tenue de fournir des critères identifiant les perturbateurs endocriniens chimiques. Aujourd’hui, un groupe de 7 chercheurs indépendants d’universités et d’instituts de recherche en Europe et aux Etats-Unis, dont le Pr Jean-Pierre Bourguignon du GIGA (ULg) & CHU de Liège, démontre que la controverse scientifique à propos de la définition des perturbateurs endocriniens s’avère en réalité faible, et que la simple logique utilisée pour l'identification et la réglementation des carcinogènes peut être utilisée pour les perturbateurs endocriniens.

Marc Muller and his laboratory of Organogenesis and Regeneration used the zebrafish larvae as a model to study the effect of microgravity simulation on bone formation and whole genome gene expression. They provide evidence for alterations in bone formation and other important biological functions; in addition several affected genes and pathways involved in bone, muscle or cardiovascular development are identified.

The LUMINOUS project, wich gathers 8 universities, aim to study and measure consciousness through information theory in the electrical brain. The researchers think that consciousness will someday be electromagnetically measured and altered, and that the associated needed insights will prove crucial to the development cognitive sciences. Inspired by recent developments in neuroscience and the potential role of fundamental concepts such as information integration and algorithmic complexity, we will study, model, quantify, and alterobservable aspects of consciousness.


Find out more about 2015 GIGA activity report : research, technology platforms, business facilities and training centre. And also : best publications, highlights and key numbers !

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) published an article about Symbiose Biomaterials in its latest magazine. Symbiose is a start up, hosted at GIGA, active in the field of molecular biomimetics. It develops new products and processes inspired by nature at a molecular level. The company is developing a kit to test whether the materials of a dwelling or a building (built or renovated between 1960 and 2000) contain asbestos. 

In the latest edition of its magazine, FNRS is highlighting the research of 2 GIGA-Cancer researchers.
"Cryothérapie, du curatif au prophylactique" is about Michaël Herfs' work on cervix cancer. Ingrid Struman's research are explained in "La vie cachée des exosomes", showing how some microARN act on tumors' growth.

In the framework of "Fondation contre le cancer", Didier Cataldo explains how his research has opened the way to new hopes for patients suffering from mesothelioma (pleura cancer, often caused by abstestos). The Professor and his team study the resistance mechanisms to treatment by tumors.

Alain Chariot and his team (GIGA-Molecular Biology of Diseases) have published in the Cancer Research Journal an article in which they demonstrate that inflammatory signature establishes very rapidly in the intestine when the Wnt pathway is activated. They highlighted the role of IKKε kinase, which is essential in this inflammatory process that allows to recruit macrophages that may contribute to tumor development.




Hans-Monga-ASIP Award for Excellence in Neoplasia Research is a newly established award of the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP). The award is meant to support young investigators to present their outstanding data in experimental studies of neoplasia. The present award has been attributed to Andrei Turtoi for his original contribution on "EXPEL: A Novel Non-Destructive Method for Mining Soluble Tumor Biomarkers". This novel methodology has been developed in Professor Castronovo's lab.

Ce jeudi 18 février aura lieu la 4ème édition du cabaret Télévie "ULG's got talent 2016". Vous pouvez encore réserver vos places pour ce spectacle !

Découvrez le programme de ce spectacle unique ou des professeurs (dont le vice recteur à la recherche), des étudiants, le personnel de l’ULg et du CHU montent sur les planches pour partager leur talent au profit intégral du Télévie.

Is prolonged freediving harmless for our brain ?

Pr Steven Laureys, neurologist with the University Hospital and head of the Coma Science Group (GIGA) from the University of Liège (ULg) has conducted some tests on Guillaume Néry, french worldchampion of freediving in order to see the impact of extended freediving...
An unprecedented encounter to watch on RTBF Info !

Certaines fonctions cognitives du cerveau humain semblent varier en fonction de la saison, selon une étude publiée dans la revue américaine PNAS par une équipe de chercheurs du GIGA de l’Université de Liège. Si les sautes d'humeur ont été corrélées aux saisons, on sait par contre peu de choses sur la façon dont d'autres fonctions cérébrales varient selon les saisons. Une étude menée par Pierre Maquet, Gilles Vandewalle et Christelle Meyer au sein du Centre de recherches du Cyclotron.

Researchers at the GIGA-Cardiovascular Sciences laboratory of the University of Liege are advising caution with regard to repeated use of cardiac magnetic resonance, a commonly-used radiological examination. They showed that this examination induced signals that mimic DNA double-strand breaks in T lymphocytes, but that this effect, which is slight and temporary, disappears after one year. However, they still need to demonstrate the presence of such DNA double-strand breaks. If their results are confirmed, they will suggest a prudent approach to the use of this technology.

 As recently stated by The Foundation Against Cancer, “cancer of the large intestine is the second most common form of cancer in both males and females in Belgium and it is also the second most common cause of death by cancer in our country”. In a recent study, Alain Chariot and Pierre Close, of GIGA identified the gene coding for the ELP3 protein as a key factor in the development of intestinal tumours.

As from this January, the GIGA's structure evolves. New teams are now included and there are now 8 thematic units: Cancer, Cardiovascular Sciences, Neurosciences, Immunity, Infection & Inflammation, Molecular Biology of Diseases, Medical Genomics, In Silico Medicine and CRC-In vivo Imaging. The direction of the GIGA-Research changes too, Michel Georges is taking over from Jacques Piette.



How can we improve the treatment and quality of life of diabetic patients? One of the lines of the research studied involves the renewal of the beta cells of the pancreas which are responsible for the production of insulin. A team from GIGA at the University of Liege, led by Isabelle Manfroid and Marianne Voz, has just identified progenitor cells in the zebrafish which will make it possible to regenerate beta cells without the need for grafts or medicine.

Detecting residual consciousness in patients that are severely brain-damaged represents a major challenge from a medical and ethical point of view.  It is also a difficult task given the risk of misdiagnosis which is a constant threat to medical professionals. In collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Coma Science Group of the University of Liege and University Hospital of Liege recently showed that resting state functional MRI scanning is an efficient tool for establishing the level of consciousness of brain-damaged patients who are incapable to communicate.

The University of Liège has identified the mutation responsible for the genetic defect CDH (Cholesterol Deficit Haplotype) in the Holstein Friesian dairy population. Thanks to this discovery this genetic defect can now be eradicated with the highest accuracy.

The Board of Directors of FRIA (FNRS) has published the list of the selected candidates. In the GIGA, 5 PhD students get a first grant, 2 get a first "second year" grant and 8 get a second grant to extend their mandate. Congratulations to them!

The publication of Laurent N'Guyen's team (GIGA-Neurosciences) published yesterday in Developmental Cell is on the front page of Le Soir "Science et Santé". Their discovery could lead to a treatment capable of hindering the threat of microencephaly (insufficient number of neurons in the brain) before birth.

Belgium is the latest country to join ELIXIR, following the signature of the ELIXIR Consortium Agreement by the Secretary of State for Science Policy, Elke Sleurs, and its approval by the ELIXIR Board. Led by the Flemish Institute of Biotechnology (Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie, VIB), the Belgian ELIXIR Node is composed of seven universities and five research centres: Universities of Ghent, Leuven, Antwerp, Hasselt, Liège, Brussels (VUB and ULB), VIB, IMEC, ExaScience Life Lab, GIGA, and the Cyclotron Research Centre.

A collaboration between Cuban researchers, a virologist from KU Leuven and Professor Michel Moutschen from GIGA at the University of Liège has led to the identification of a particularly aggressive strain of HIV in Cuba. In a study published in EBioMedicine, the scientists reveal how the CRF19 strain causes the rapid progression of the infection to AIDS.

The teams of Alain Chariot and Pierre Close (GIGA-Signal transduction) define ELP3 as a protein that links Wnt-dependent tumor initiation to tRNA modifications in the intestine. As such, ELP3 may be a promising target to treat intestinal cancers showing constitutive Wnt signaling. The study is published in The Journal of experimental Medicine.

Five researchers from GIGA were given new FRS-FNRS mandates. Alain Chariot (GIGA-Signal Transduction) becomes Research Director, Cécile Oury (GIGA-Cardiovascular Sciences) is now Senior Research Associate, Sophie Servais (GIGA-I3), Postdoctoral Researcher, and Stella Dederen (GIGA-Cancer) and Aude Delferrière (GIGA-I3) are Research Fellows. Congratulations to them all! The occasion to ask Sophie Servais a few questions regarding the benefits of this mandate for her.

What if we were to take preventive action to reduce the number of cases of cervical cancer by means of cryotherapy rather than only using it to treat the disease once the precancerous lesion is already there? Michaël Herfs, researcher at GIGA’s Pathological Anatomy and Cytology Unit at the University of Liège, demonstrates his research in an article recently published  in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology.

The GIGA Cell Imaging core facility just acquired a new super resolution confocal  microscope: the LSM 880 AiryScan Elyra S.1 (Zeiss). This microscope will push the sensitivity beyond the limits of all our conventional confocal microscopes. Indeed, with the Airyscan technology, ZEISS introduces a new concept : instead of throwing light away at the pinhole, a 32 channel area detector collects all light of an Airy pattern simultaneously. Each detector element functions as a single, very small pinhole. This enables a very light efficient imaging since you can now use all of the photons that your objective collected.

This year (3rd WELBIO call for projects), 3 GIGA projects were selected. Alain Chariot, whose previous project was also selected in the first call, gets a "Grant Senior" and Kristel Van Steen and Christophe Desmet both get a "Starting Grant" from the FRFS (Fonds de la Recherche Fondamentale Stratégique) in the framework of this FRFS-WELBIO-2015 call. The projects will be funded for a two-year period.

Brigitte Malgrange and her team have for many years been seeking a way to repair “damaged ears”, that is to say, to enable individuals who have all but lost their hearing to recover at least part of it. Several results have been published in the last few years and the most recent - published in Cell Reports - show the role played by microRNAs in the production of hair cells for the first time. It is now even be possible to envisage reproducing these microRNAs in order to treat certain types of deafness…