Research aimed at protecting human health is well developed at the ULB. Involving doctors, psychologists, biomechanics, physiotherapists, osteopath, biologists, pharmacists, chemists, engineers, physicists, mathematicians, it revolves around the ULB hospital network in Brussels (the university hospitals Erasmus, Bordet, Brugmann and Huderf, as well as the Iris network) and in Hainaut (Charleroi, La Louviere, Mons).

Synergies with the hospital network enable the implementation of approaches featuring translational and personalised medicine: from the laboratory to a patient's bed and vice-versa. The most advanced research is thus made available to patients. In return the clinical characteristics of patients and the data stored in biobanks or gained from genome sequencing are analysed, using bioinformatics, in an effort to advance research.

In the medical field, a substantial amount of research effort is being invested in cancer, the immune system and its deficiencies, neurological diseases, infectious diseases (especially AIDS and sleeping sickness), diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, infertility, as well as in the relationship between micro-particles and cardiovascular diseases or problems related to motor skills and rehabilitation, with a focus on the elderly and infants.

Several ULB teams are similarly working on subjects of social relevance such as the psychological factors associated with prevention, screening, the treatment and palliation of medical conditions (particularly cancer), the care of patients with chronic diseases and addictions, various forms of psychosis, or the experience of conception and birth.

The research labs of the Faculty of Pharmacy use the most advanced biochemical and bioanalytical techniques and platforms for identifying new active ingredients and therapeutical targets, and developing more efficient and more reliable new medicines. There is also extensive collaboration between medical teams and engineers and physicists to develop new tools for medical use, ranging from imaging to the development of less invasive surgical instruments.

Last but not least, the economic, social and ethical dimensions of health are intensively studied: specific behavioural features associated with health (looked at also from the perspective of social inequality), HR requirements in healthcare institutions, vaccination programmes, cancer monitoring, etc. Special attention is accorded to less-developed countries, with which a large number of collaboration projects and training programmes exist.

Main research projects (since 2010)

Actions de recherche concertée, ARC

Interuniversity Attraction Pole, IAP

European projects (7th Framework programme, > 500 Keuros)

  • THROMBUS: A quantitative model of thrombosis in intracranial aneurysms

  • BetaImage: Use of innovative strategies for beta-cell imaging in diabetes mellitus

  • VPH NoE: Virtual Physiological Human Network of Excellence

  • NAIMIT: Natural immuinomodulators as novel immunotherapies for type 1 diabetes

  • EFACTS: European Friedreich's Ataxia Consortium for Translational Studies

  • BetaBat: Development of novel treatment strategies based on knowledge of cellular dysfunction in diabetes

Regional projects (> 500 Keuros)

  • Nouveaux traceurs d'imageries in vivo déterminant la masse de cellules bêta pancréatiques chez les patients atteints de diabète basé sur le fragment FXYD2 (Région wallonne)

  • NEOFOR - Création d'une plate-forme technologique pour la délivrance pulmonaire avancée d'agents pharmacologiques

  • Join T-AIC Development of new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of inflammatory mono-arthritis combining "novel" anti-TNF-a and viscoelastic scaffold (Région wallonne - Biowin)

  • BioFiNa - Development of inhaled synergistic combinations for the treatment of resistant respiratory infections (Région wallonne - Biowin)

  • HYPRO2COM: Hyper-prolifération hétérologue de composés.

  • COLVIR: Développement d'un traitement local efficace et sûr, pour le traitement des lésions du col de l'utérus associées à une affection par HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)

  • BIOXODES: Mise en place d'une structure de valorisation des produits à usage thérapeutique, issus de la tique Ixodes ricinus

  • NEUROS: Etude de la régulation du métabolisme osseux par les peptides neuro-intestinaux et implications pour la thérapie cellulaire osseuse

European programmes for the mobility of researchers (since 2008)

ITN Marie Curie

  • Medical Imaging Using Bio-inspired and Soft Computing

Main prizes and international recognition (since 1970)

  • Jean-Louis Vincent, FNRS quinquennial prize 2006-10