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Molecular Biology and Biotechnologies

The ULB has an outstanding tradition of research in the fields of organic chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology. Back in the 1940's, Jean Brachet (1909-1988), one of the discoverers of RNA, and with him the whole ''Groupe du Rouge-Cloître'', played a major global role in the molecular biology revolution. Working at the ULB, this outstanding phalanx trained generations of researchers at the highest level, as evidenced by the number of ULB professors awarded Francqui Prizes by international juries. The current upholders of this tradition are studying the role played by genes and their expression mechanisms, with a special focus on regulatory cascades. This work is helping us to gain a better understanding of cell physiology (whether in bacteria, yeasts, parasites or mammals), embryo development, and certain infectious diseases such as the AIDS HIV virus or that of bovine leukaemia. Technologies using molecular biology are omnipresent throughout the ULB in all life science fields. They are used extensively for research in the fields of oncology, immunology, neuroscience, genetics, but also in agronomics, for studying evolution or animal communities. ULB researchers rely on technological platforms equipped with the latest facilities and operated by highly skilled staff, especially on the campus of the Erasmus teaching hospital in Brussels and at the Biopark Charleroi Brussels South.


Though cancer can be increasingly well detected and increasingly well treated, it remains one of the main causes of death and a major problem for society. To treat it effectively, an in-depth understanding of the disease is required - and there is still a lot of work to do here. We now know that there are multiple mechanisms at work in the development of cancer, often characterised by great variability. These complex and mutually interacting mechanisms have genetic, epigenetic, immunological, psychological and environmental origins. The development of increasingly effective therapies therefore requires a variety of complementary approaches. These are fuelled by state-of-the-art fundamental research into molecular mechanisms, including the use of stem cells, as well as by wide-scale clinical and genetic studies involving the extensive bioinformatic processing of personal data. All these different elements are bundled together within the ULB's ''canceropôle'', with the very high-level fundamental research conducted in the laboratories of the Faculties of Medicine and Science going hand-in-hand with international level clinical research conducted in the Erasmus teaching hospital and the Jules Bordet Institute, benefiting from a tradition of oncological excellence. All this work relies on the resources and expertise of the Interuniversity Institute of Bioinformatics in Brussels (ULB-VUB). The ULB's ''canceropôle'' offers patients not just top-quality hospital care but also, on account of its acknowledged research excellence, access to the most advanced medicines offering the best chances of recovery.