Interuniversitary Attraction Poles, IAP 2012-2017

ULB coordinates:

Mechanisms of conscious and unconscious learning

The overarching goal of this project is to contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms of conscious and unconscious learning. Researchers propose to fundamentally reconsider the distinction between associative learning that is always unconscious, automatic and bottom-up and cognitive learning that is always conscious, effortful and topdown, more...

Spokesperson: Axel Cleeremans


Physical chemistry of Plasma-Surface Interaction

The physical chemistry of plasmas - the fourth state of matter - is a field of growing importance that yields both fundamental and industrial challenges. Indeed, highly reactive species generated in plasmas have found applications in surface treatments, material synthesis and/or processing, environmental and bio-medical fields, more...

Spokesperson: Marie-Paule Delplancke


Photonics@be: towards smart photonics in 2020

Photonics is an enabling technology for a wide diversity of markets: communications and information technology, energy, health care, lighting and displays, smart sensing and metrology, manufacturing tools. , more...

Spokesperson: Serge Massar, Pascal Kockaert


Combinatorial Optimization: Metaheuristics and Exact methods

Combinatorial optimization problems can be characterized as searching for the best element of some finite set of items. These problems are pervasive in our modern, globalized society. Production, distribution, telecommunication, governance, traffic, environmental concerns, health care, finance, more....

Spokesperson: Bernard Fortz


Fundamental interactions: at the boundary of theory, phenomenology and experiment

Fundamental interactions include electroweak forces, strong interactions, and gravity (and their possible extensions). Their study aims at unraveling Nature's mechanisms at their most intimate level, but should also provide understanding of our Universe and its evolution through work at the edge of present knowledge more...

Spokesperson: Jean-Marie Frère, Barbara Clerbaux


Microfluidics and micromanipulation: multi-scale applications of surface tension (micro-MAST)

The scientific objectives of this network are driven by fundamental questions raised in microfluidics, interfacial science, and micromanipulation. The rational use of surface tension, surface stress and capillary effects in micromanipulation will be applied, more...

Spokesperson: Benoit Scheid


T lymphocytes: from basic biology to immunotherapy

The major objective of the present proposal is to gain insights into the mechanism whereby antigen-stimulated T lymphocytes acquire and express adequate effector function during an immune response. The long term goal of this project is to devise novel and efficient strategies for the immunotherapy of cancer, more...

Spokesperson: Oberdan Leo


G protein-coupled receptors: from structure to functionally validated targets

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) represent the largest family among membrane receptors. These receptors and their structurally diverse ligands play a major role in all aspects of physiology and pathophysiology, and constitute the targets for about half the active compounds presently used as therapeutic agents, more...

Spokesperson: Marc Parmentier, Jean-Yves Springael


Tolerance and resistance to parasite infection: trypanosomatidae as paradigm

Unravelling the mechanisms used by parasites to actively perturb the immune response and hereby intrude their host, and the mechanisms by which the host balances the inflammatory immune response required to eliminate these parasites while avoiding inflammation-associated tissue damage, represent a major challenge for public health programs, more...

Spokesperson: Benoit Van Hollebeke, Etienne Pays


ULB is partner:

Cancer cells and their microenvironment: from gene regulatory networks to therapy

It is now generally accepted that the tumor and its microenvironment (i.e., the stroma) cross-talk to each other at multiple levels to elicit carcinogenesis, invasion and progression to metastasis. In addition to the well-established stepwise accumulation of somatic genetic alterations in tumor cells, more...

Spokesperson: Cédric Blanpain, François Fuks


Developing crucial Statistical methods for Understanding major complex Dynamic Systems in natural, biomedical and social sciences (StUDyS)

Stochastic systems are influenced by internal characteristics, but they may as well depend on (interactions with) external factors. Also, they may evolve over time and/or space. The main goal of this IAP network is to develop statistical methods that allow to have a complete understanding of certain classes of complex dynamic systems more...

Spokesperson: Catherine Dehon


Contemporary physical challenges for Heliospheric and AstRophysical Models (CHARM)

Six Belgian research teams, strengthened by two renowned international partners, join forces to investigate Contemporary physical challenges in Heliospheric and AstRophysical Models. Their unified effort has identified common grounds across their disciplines that vary from solar, magnetospheric and heliospheric, to galactic or cosmologically driven curiositie, more...

Spokesperson: Bernard Knaepen


Molecular and cellular mechanisms of electrical excitability

In Europe, the challenges of an ageing population dominate the health agenda. In numbers of afflicted persons and impact on health, cardiovascular diseases lead the statistics for mortality, while disorders of the central nervous system (CNS) are among the leading causes of disability in the world, more...

Spokesperson: Serge Schiffmann


The Belgian Research Initiative on eXotic nuclei for atomic, nuclear and astrophysics studies (BriX)

The prime aim of the Belgian Research Initiative on eXotic nuclei (BriX) network is the study of atoms and atomic nuclei with an unusual proton-to-neutron ratio, so-called exotic nuclei. The proposed research rests on four main pillars: nuclear structure and reactions, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions and atomic physics, more...

Spokesperson: Jean-Marc Sparenberg


Planets: Tracing the Transfer, Origin, Preservation and Evolution of their ReservoirS (PLANET TOPERS)

The evolution of planets is driven by the composition, structure, and thermal state of their internal core, mantle, lithosphere, crust, and by interactions with possible ocean and atmosphere. This network addresses the fundamental understanding of the relationships and interactions between those different planetary reservoirs and their evolution through time, more...

Spokesperson: Vinciane Debaille


Dynamics, Geometry and Statistical Physics (DYGEST)

The project concerns the study of scaling limits and reversely, deformations of systems of related but different natures: Dynamical systems and stochastic processes in the framework of statistical mechanics, more...

Spokesperson: Simone Gutt


Mechanisms of brain wiring in normal and pathological conditions

Proper brain function requires formation, plasticity, maintenance and repair of its neuronal circuits. Understanding the mechanisms of neural wiring remains a key unanswered question in biology, and has major implications for brain diseases and repair, more...

Spokesperson: Pierre Vanderhaeghen


Justice and populations, the Belgian experience in international perspective, 1795-2015

Research on « Justice in Relation to Society » is an expanding domain but is generally lacking a multidimensional approach in the social sciences. Building on the experience and results of a previous IAP project on « Justice and Society », more...

Spokesperson: Pieter Lagrou


City and Society in the Low Countries (ca. 1200 - ca. 1850). The "condition urbaine": between resilience and vulnerability

« City and Society in the Low Countries » is a vibrant network of senior and junior researchers devoted to the study of the urban history of the historical Low Countries (present-day Belgium and the Netherlands), that builds on the know-how acquired in IAP phases III, IV, V and VI more...

Spokesperson: Chloé Deligne


The global challenge of human rights integration: toward a users'perspective

Starting point of the proposed research is the finding that both rights holders and duty bearers under human rights norms are confronted simultaneously with a multitude of human rights provisions differing as to their scope, focus, legal force and level of governance, more...

Spokesperson: Emmanuelle Bribosia, Isabelle Rorive


Role of developmental processes in the virulence oh human pathogens: from molecular mechanisms to novel therapeutic targets

Many of the microbial processes important for the establishment of infections by bacteria or fungi can be considered « developmental processes ». For example, the transition from a planktonic cell to a biofilm cell attached to the host mucosal surface, more...

Spokesperson: Laurence Van Melderen


If not for profit, for what? And how? Building interdisciplinary and integrated knowledge on social entrepreneurship and social enterprise

his IAP network focuses on the theoretical study of social enterprises, defined as organizations which combine an entrepreneurial dynamics to provide services or goods with the primacy of their social aims. The project aims to capture and theorize the specific features of social enterprises more...

Spokesperson: Aurélie Rousseaux, Marek Hudon


Belgian medical genomics initiative

Genomics has fundamentally changed the practice of biomedical research. Bioinformatic mining of existing databases in conjunction with the generation of -omic scale data have become indispensable tools to make significant contributions in deciphering normal and pathological biological processes, more

Spokesperson: Denis Franchimont


Participation and representation. A comparative study of linkage mechanisms between citizens and the political system in contemporary democracies

Democratic governance requires mechanisms and actors that link citizens to the state. Citizens should be able to voice their demands and political outputs need to be congruent with these demands. It is precisely over the manner in which this desired match between citizens' preferences and the state's policies, more

Spokesperson: Pascal Delwit