VIB professor wins prestigious grant for brain research


Roosmarijn Vandenbroucke has won the annual Baillet Latour Grant for her research into the treatment of neurological diseases using ‘brain barriers’

Gateway to the brain

Neurologist Roosmarijn Vandenbroucke of the Flemish life sciences research institute VIB and Ghent University, received the Baillet Latour Grant yesterday from Queen Mathilde. The grant constitutes an investment of €450,000 in research for a period of three years.

The Baillet Latour Fund awards an annual grant to a young group leader of a research project in a Belgian university or university hospital. The 37-year-old Vandenbroucke (pictured), a specialist in neurological diseases, is leading a study on the administration of drugs into the brain.

The efficient delivery of medication into the brain to treat neurological diseases remains a major, unsolved challenge in medicine. Vandenbroucke and her team are investigating the role of brain barriers in neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

A healthy brain is strictly separated from the blood by the presence of so-called brain barriers. But changes in the blood caused by, for example, an infection, can lead to changes in these barriers.

The project’s goal is to use the blood-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) barrier, which appears to be essential in the communication between the body and the brain, as a gateway into the brain. Vandenbroucke’s lab will receive €150,000 a year for three years, with the possibility of a two-year extension.