News

3D SPT article online: Congratulations Boris!

It was a long road from ‘Let’s just publish how we do this’ to the final article. But it was worth it!
Congratulations Boris! Now that the method is published, it is time to move on and do some ‘real’ science!
(But first, some drinks!)

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Perspectives on Single Virus Imaging: Article online

Single molecule imaging has been crucial to unravel molecular mechanisms of several biological systems. In this perspective, we tried to summarise how imaging single virus particles has contributed to the understanding of the HIV viral cycle. It a pleasure to write this article with the Prof. Zeger Debyser, Prof. Johan Hofkens, Prof. Jelle Hendrix and Dr. Doortje Borrenberghs.

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New PhD student: Welcome Pierre!

Pierre is joining us as one of the two PhD students that will be working for the SuperCol project at KU Leuven. A highly interdisciplinary project, requiring very specific skills. Pierre, with his unique background, has impressed us since the first interview. Looking forward to get started!
Bienvenue Pierre!

(There is no ‘NanoGirls’ anymore, we are now a ‘NanoTeam’!)

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Team building activity: Trip to Lisbon

For years we have talk about doing a lab trip to Lisbon. This year, we the excuse of celebrating the start of the ‘Rocha Lab’, we finally did it! A lot of walking, eating, drinking, and above all, laughing. It is an amazing group of people. Ah yes, Lisbon is an amazing city also.

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Open PhD positions on SuperCol, an innovative training network (ITN)

The PhD is hosted by the Rocha lab at KU Leuven, which develops fluorescence microscopy tools and assays to address biologically relevant questions. The group works at the crossroad between biology, chemistry and nanotechnology. The main imaging modalities use are confocal, multi-photon, single molecule fluorescence (single particle tracking, super- resolution) and multi-plane wide field microscopy. In parallel, we work on the optimization of biomimetic matrices for 3D cell models and functionalization of nanoparticles.

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Visit to Technical University of Lisbon (IST)

It is strange to return to your university 15 years later to give a seminar and see some of your old professors in the room. Thank you Prof. Gaspar Martinho for the invitation. A day or very useful discussions and hopefully the first meeting of a long standing collaboration on bio-applications of nanoparticles. The work done by Prof. Carlos Baleizão and Prof. Paulo Farinha on tailored design of nanoparticles is amazing! Looking forward to get our hand in those particles!

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EMBO fellowship for Dr. Roel Hammink

EMBO will support the visit of Dr. Hammink to our laboratory. While he is also working with synthetic polymers, he uses this system to activate T-cells. Very interesting work from the group of Prof. Carl Figdor (Radboud University, Nijmegen).
We will use our cutting-edge microscopy techniques to characterise the interaction between polymers and immune cells. I am confident that his visit will result in top science.

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PhD grant for Johannes (finally!)

After some attempts, Johannes was able to convince the FWO expert panel of his project (and his personal abilities as a scientist). Congratulations Mr. FWO_aspirant!
A good example where hard work and persistence paid off. (and now still 4 more years ahead!)

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First team building of Rocha’s group & Co.

We decided to celebrate the start of Rocha’s lab with a nice team building day. After a tiring and exciting GPS game of cops and thieves (some better than others), we made peace during dinner. Congratulations to Boris, Laurens and Elizabete for their win (but next time we will catch you!)

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Visit to Nijmegen, Kouwer’s group

The Marie-Curie project of Dr. Hongbo Yuan starts with a visit to his former lab, Kouwer’s group at the Radboud University in Nijmegen.
A collaboration that started 2 years ago, with the visit of Prof. Rocha. After that, Khaizheng Liu (Max) visited our lab, Johannes Vandaele visited Nijmegen, Dr. Hongbo Yuan got a competitive Marie-Curie fellowship and soon Dr. Röel Hammink will come for a short stay.
A good example how collaboration between group with different background can drive science forward.

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And the poster award goes to…

Today we celebrated the 80th anniversary of Prof. Frans De Schryver.
During the symposium in honour of Prof. Frans De Schryver, there were 8 poster awards.
Congratulations Johannes, Monica, Beatrice and Marisa! 👏 👏 👏 👏 👏

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Let there be light: Symposium in honour of Prof. Frans De Schryver

Today we celebrated the 80th anniversary of Prof. Frans De Schryver.
The list of speakers included Ben Feringa, Tanja Weil, Roeland Nolte, Klaus Müllen, Jürgen Rabe, Hiroshi Masuhara, Thomas Ebbesen, Loredana Latterini, Paolo Samori, Markus Zauer and Hua Zhang.
A day full of interesting talks, with the additional pleasure of reviewing old colleagues.

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Leuven-Hokkaido collaboration: kickoff meeting

Today was a day of many fruitful discussions with visitors from Hokkaido University.
I had the opportunity to give a talk presenting our research, while Johannes and Quinten could present their progress during the poster session.
We have found some common interests in fluorescence-based sensors, drug nano delivery systems and extracellular matrix. Next meeting in Japan - already looking forward!

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Visit to the Technical University of Lisbon

Thanks to Dr. Nuno Canha, I could present my research to colleagues from my home country, including some good friends.
It was a short visit, but a memorable one.
The quality of the science being done in countries with very limited resources will always amaze me. For good science, you need a good brain, with a substantial amount of creativity.

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Lab caps arrived!

We could have ordered pens or mugs but… the amount of sun in Belgium requires protection!
An item to give to current and future lab members.
(now we have to wait for the end of the summer to join the team for a group picture)

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Marie Curie Individual Fellowship for Dr. Hongbo Yuan

Congratulations Hongbo!
Dr. Hongbo Yuan will be joining us after the summer, to investigate forces from the cell or the ECM change the mechanical properties of the matrix and, more importantly, how this change affects biological functions. We are really looking forward to work with you on this.

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Best wishes for 2019

After an unforgettable Xmas party, a few days to (try to) finish up things and we are off to a well deserved Xmas break! 2019 might bring big changes - let’s hope they are all for the better!
And if not, let’s just continue the spirit and do great science!


Happy new year!

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Madrid here I come!

Colaboration Leuven - Madrid keeps increasing!
Thanks to EMBO I will be able to join Guillermo Solis and Dr. Rodrigo Barderas at the Instituto Salud D.Carlos III in Madrid. I am really looking forward to meet the Barderas’ group and get this project going!

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Mapping Interactions at the Nanoscale: Article online

Congragulations Herlinde! I am very proud of this one. After all the struggle with the cloning, and all the re-writing to make the best story possible, 2 years after the PhD - it is out! With the final contribution of Dr. Rafael Camacho and his nice simulations. The full article can be found here.
The software to run the simulations can be found here.

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FWO grant for Indra & Boris

Congragulations Indra & Boris! Awarded FWO doctoral grant. It is going to be 4 years of fun with Nanoparticles & Polymers!
(Unfortunately, I do not have such a pretty foto of Boris…)

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Conversion of Alexa Fluor 647: Article online

Congragulations Lieve & Koen!
After some time, this story is (finally) out. A nice collaboration between virology, microscopy and photophysics experts, reporting a phenomena that will give a lot to talk about… The full article can be found here.

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EMBO travel grant awarded

Congragulations Max! Finally some good news from the EMBO organization: Max received the EMBO travel grant for the 3-month stay in Leuven. He will be working on imaging focal adhesions in 3D (more information on this project can be found here)

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Correlative AFM / Fluorescence: Article online

Congragulations Wout & Willem! Nice article reporting new development in correlative AFM and Fluorescence imaging, and its application to study the interaction between DNA and DNA-interacting proteins. The full article can be found here.

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Site is online!

A website to share the cool science we do at KU Leuven.

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