Katholieke Universiteit Leuven II, Leuven, Belgium

Group Description

Brief description of legal entity
The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (http://www.kuleuven.be/english) is a Flemish University founded in 1425. KUL offers approximately 60 Bachelor’s programmes and more than 125 Master’s programmes in 18 fields. It is a founding member of LERU of which it is the only Belgian member. KUL is also very active in the Coimbra Group, a co-operative network of historical, multidisciplinary universities. KUL produces more than 42% of Flemish academic publications and almost half the citations. 56% of the scientific publications appear in top 25 journals. KUL Research & Development (LRD; http://lrd.kuleuven.be/en) is the knowledge and technology transfer office (TTO) of the KUL since 1972. LRD has established and guided about 90 spin-offs. In 2009, 73 new patent families were submitted and 24 new patents were granted. KUL is currently among the top 10 academic institutions in terms of revenue from patents and licences. Approximately 90% of the more than 300 LRD patent families are actively valorised and marketed, while the average for European universities is 33%. Prof. Baekelandt (Neurobiology and Gene Therapy, Division of Molecular Medicine, www.kuleuven.be/molmed) is a neurobiologist. Her research focuses on disease modelling and treatment of Parkinson’s disease using viral vectors as core technology, with specific interests in familial PD-linked proteins and adult neural stem cells. Expertise of the group consists of stereotactic neurosurgery and in vivo gene transfer in rats and mice, behavioural testing, non-invasive (optical) imaging, histology and stereological quantifications. Viral vectors (lentiviral adeno-associated) are produced by the viral vector core supervised by Prof. Z. Debyser of the same division (Molecular Virology and Gene Therapy). She has a close collaboration with the Molecular Small Animal Imaging Centre MoSAIC and the Stem Cell Institute SCIL at the KUL. Prof. Baekelandt has won several scientific prizes and has been member of the scientific steering committee of the European Molecular Imaging Meetings in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Main tasks
The main tasks in the INMiND project concern the development of new viral vectors with imaging reporters for NI and ND, the generation and characterization of new PD animal models using viral vector technology and the study of endogenous neural stem cells in these models.

Participation in INMiND: WP1 / WP2 / WP5 / WP6 / WP10.

Previous experience relevant to INMiND tasks

The expertise relevant to INMiND is demonstrated by the publication record of Dr. Baekelandt and by her participation as coordinator and/or as partner in multiple national and international projects (www.dimi.eu, www.neuromodel.eu, www.mefopa.eu, etc.). All facilities are available: biosafety BL-2 laboratories for vector production, cell culture and experimentation with animals (stereotactic surgery, behavioural testing); equipment for histology, molecular biology; microscope equipped for stereological quantifications.

University of Leuven
INMiND Office
European Institute for Molecular Imaging (EIMI) Waldeyerstr. 15
· 48149 Münster
Tel: +49 251 83 49300 · Fax: +49 251 83 49313