Ctrl-BBB is a Consolidator Grant ERC research project (2019), led by Benoit Vanhollebeke (Faculty of Sciences)

Portrait de Benoit VanhollebekeCtrl-BBB: a filter for the brain

Blood vessels in the brain act as a filter: they supply oxygen and nutrients to the brain, while also keeping out potentially toxic cells and compounds. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) fulfils this dual role and ensures cerebral homoeostasis.

With his ERC Consolidator project, dubbed ‘Ctrl-BBB’, Benoit Vanhollebeke, investigator for WELBIO at the Neurovascular Signalling Laboratory (Faculty of Sciences, BioPark and ULB Neuroscience Institute) will study the complex regulation mechanisms of this barrier. These are not the result of genetic programming, but rather the result of multiple interactions between endothelial cells in blood vessels and other components of the neurovascular system. Over the past few years, Benoit Vanhollebeke and his team have developed new models that enable a non-invasive genetic analysis of the blood-brain barrier’s functions.

‘Understanding the BBB’s regulation is essential in order to understand dysfunctions related to many cerebrovascular conditions (stroke, glioblastoma, neurodegenerative diseases). It would also enable us to look into new therapeutic approaches: the BBB remains the main obstacle to getting drugs into the central nervous system’, explains Benoit Vanhollebeke.

End of the project: 2025

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 865176).

Created on December 10, 2019