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Chavez-Gutierrez L.,Center for Human Genetics University Ziekenhuizen and LIND | De Strooper B.,Leuven University College
EMBO Journal | Year: 2016

Intramembrane proteolysis by γ-secretases plays major roles in disease pathology and cellular signalling, yet the dynamics of these enzyme complexes and how they recognize substrates remains poorly understood. New work in The EMBO Journal utilizes photo-affinity cross-linking to map APP interactions to different γ-secretase subunits, suggesting a succession of recruitment and engagement steps that lead up to substrate cleavage. © 2016 EMBO.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: LCE-08-2014 | Award Amount: 15.41M | Year: 2015

The main objective of STORY is to show the added value storage can bring for a flexible, secure and sustainable energy system. This will be achieved by showing the inter-relations between technologies and stakeholders as well as the potential and impact of policy and regulation. The future European grid has to serve a diverse and mixed landscape of users in a situation of mixed rules and responsibilities depending on the policy and regulatory choices that will be made. Challenges include high penetration of renewables, bi-directional flows of different energy vectors, growing number of users and requirements for higher security. The European commission wants to strengthen the position of the EU energy industry, including those players active in producing solutions for security of supply, increased share of renewables and grid stability. The advances in ICT technology, intelligent control algorithms, inverter and storage technologies provide strong tools to cope with these challenges. Given this context, STORY focuses on providing relevant and wide-covering demonstrations that serve as input for a thorough and transparent analysis on what the impact of storage can be for the involved stakeholders. Storage is considered as a means, while not neglecting other competing technologies that could provide a similar or complementary functionality. The actions that the 18 members from 9 European countries in STORY consortium are going to take in a 5-year project bring a valuable contribution to turn these challenges into opportunities. They will not only develop the most viable storage and ICT solutions for the demonstration sites, but they will also analyse the impact of large penetration of the technologies through simulations, analyse the effect of policies and regulations to the business opportunities of storage related industry and communicate the findings to wider community through systematic strategies for impact creation.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE.2013.2.5-01 | Award Amount: 4.95M | Year: 2014

TRANSMANGO aims to obtain a comprehensive picture of the effects of the global drivers of change (climate, economic concentration and market structure, financial power, resource competition, marginalization, property rules, geo-political shifts, consumer preferences, consumption patterns and nutritional transition) on European and global food demand and on raw material production (and, consequently, on food flows). The research focuses on the vulnerability and resilience of European food systems in a context of socio-economic, behavioral, technological, institutional and agro-ecological change and aims to enhance understanding of the new challenges and opportunities that the food sector will face in the future. Vulnerability assessment methodologies and dynamic modeling tools will be reviewed, upgraded and developed to assess the resilience of Europes agro-food sector and food security situation and to understand the sustainability frontiers of different food production systems under the new unfolding conditions. The project will collect analytical data that will be used to design scenarios for the desired transition pathways in the food system. Based on these scenarios, TRANSMANGO will provide guidance to support the transition towards sustainability and will offer recommendations to address Europes medium- and long-term food security.

Bailarote B.C.,Catholic University of Leuven | Lievens B.,Scientia Terrae Research Institute | Lievens B.,Leuven University College | Jacquemyn H.,Catholic University of Leuven
American Journal of Botany | Year: 2012

• Premise of the study: Orchids rely on mycorrhizal fungi for seed germination, and many species maintain associations during later stages in their life cycle. Because of the critical dependence of orchids on fungi it has been suggested that the degree of mycorrhizal specificity may be associated with rarity and long-term survival of orchid species, especially in highly degraded or fragmented landscapes. To test this hypothesis, we compared mycorrhizal communities in two species that differed signifi- cantly in decline in Belgium and other parts of Europe. • Methods: Mycorrhizal associations were investigated in five populations of Anacamptis morio and Dactylorhiza fuchsii in Belgium. ITS-based DNA arrays were used for simultaneous detection and identification of a wide range of basidiomycetous mycorrhizal fungi. Mycorrhizal specificity, measured as phylogenetic diversity, was assessed for each population and compared between species. • Key results: For both species, the degree of phylogenetic relatedness of the mycorrhizal partners was low, and both species were associated with a large number of fungal lineages related to clades of the Tulasnellaceae family. Contrary to expectations, the species that was apparently resilient to decline was associated with fewer fungal operational taxonomical units than the declining species was, and the phylogenetic relatedness of mycorrhizal communities among populations was higher in the stable than in the declining orchid. • Conclusions: Although our results do not present detailed insights into the causes of orchid persistence, they do suggest that orchid rarity and persistence are not necessarily related to fungal diversity and that other factors may be more important in determining orchid persistence. © 2012 Botanical Society of America.

Montes De Oca M.A.,Free University of Colombia | Stutzle T.,Free University of Colombia | Van Den Enden K.,Leuven University College | Dorigo M.,Free University of Colombia
IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics | Year: 2011

Incremental social learning (ISL) was proposed as a way to improve the scalability of systems composed of multiple learning agents. In this paper, we show that ISL can be very useful to improve the performance of population-based optimization algorithms. Our study focuses on two particle swarm optimization (PSO) algorithms: a) the incremental particle swarm optimizer (IPSO), which is a PSO algorithm with a growing population size in which the initial position of new particles is biased toward the best-so-far solution, and b) the incremental particle swarm optimizer with local search (IPSOLS), in which solutions are further improved through a local search procedure. We first derive analytically the probability density function induced by the proposed initialization rule applied to new particles. Then, we compare the performance of IPSO and IPSOLS on a set of benchmark functions with that of other PSO algorithms (with and without local search) and a random restart local search algorithm. Finally, we measure the benefits of using incremental social learning on PSO algorithms by running IPSO and IPSOLS on problems with different fitness distance correlations. © 2006 IEEE.

Verheecke W.,Leuven University College
Proceedings of the International Conference of DAAAM Baltic "Industrial Engineering" | Year: 2012

The Aerosol Jet® Printing (AJP) process is a fine feature sub-micron scale deposition process. The paper discusses the optimization of AJP in order to achieve the desired quality of printed silver ink interconnects on polyimide film for embedded electronics applications. A process window containing the parameters which have influence on the quality aspects of the printed tracks is determined to obtain the optimal quality. Important quality aspects in this research include the geometrical and electrical properties of the printed tracks and also the adhesion of these tracks on the substrate. The geometrical properties are determined by optical image processing and profile analysis. To measure the electrical parameters a micro 4-point probe measuring system is used.

Lambrechts W.,Free University of Brussels | Mula I.,University of Gloucestershire | Ceulemans K.,Free University of Brussels | Molderez I.,Free University of Brussels | Gaeremynck V.,Leuven University College
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2013

Over the past years, many universities have integrated sustainability into their education, research, outreach, and operations. Within education, competences regarding sustainable development (SD) have been defined, courses on sustainability have been developed, and manuals and methods for teaching SD have been developed and integrated in curricula. The integration of competences for SD in higher education programs can be seen as an important step in achieving sustainability in higher education. Although these competences are defined and described in different models and settings, little information is available on the actual status of the integration of competences for SD in different study programs. In order to find out how and to what extent these competences are already present, the existing competence schemes of study programs within two Belgian universities were analyzed in the fields of business management, office management, and applied information technology. Results of the analysis show that competences for SD related to responsibility and emotional intelligence are widely integrated, while competences for SD dealing with system orientation, future orientation, personal commitment, and action taking are virtually absent. The analysis also shows that many competences for SD could be discovered within the selected study programs, though in an implicit and fragmented way, thus not covering all necessary fields of knowledge, skills, and attitudes. This calls for an adjustment of the study programs to clearly and explicitly integrate competences for SD, especially those related to system orientation, future orientation, personal involvement, and action taking. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

De Schutter O.,Leuven University College
International Community Law Review | Year: 2010

This article identifies the emergence of the right to land in international human rights law, and which measures of implementation are called for to ensure the full realization of this right. In certain contexts, the right to land may be seen as a self-standing right, whether it is protected as an element of the right to property, whether it is grounded on the special relationship of indigenous peoples to their lands, territories and resources, or whether it is a component of the right to food. In other cases, the right to land may be said to be instrumental to the right to food: it is protected as an indispensable means through which people can produce food, for their own consumption or as a source of income allowing them, in turn, to purchase food. In making the case for the explicit recognition of the right to land in international human rights law, this article recalls the current pressures on land; it examines the protection of landusers in their existing access to natural resources; and it discusses whether agrarian reform may be seen as a component of the progressive realization of the emerging human right to land. © 2010 Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.

Struyf J.,Leuven University College
Journal of Chemical Education | Year: 2011

The boiling point of a monofunctional organic compound is expressed as the sum of two parts: a contribution to the boiling point due to the R group and a contribution due to the functional group. The boiling point in absolute temperature of the corresponding RH hydrocarbon is chosen for the contribution to the boiling point of the R group and is a measure for the strength of the interchain interactions. The boiling point and molar refractivity increments between a monofunctional compound and its corresponding RH hydrocarbon are, together with the dipole moment of the monofunctional compound, the properties to describe the influence of the functional group on the boiling point and on the strength of the corresponding intermolecular forces. The ranking of the functional groups according to the strength of their interactions and the masking of these interactions by the R group are investigated. Mathematical equations are derived for the computation of the boiling point increments. The method is applied to the members of monofunctional homologous series and to phenyl derivatives of the functional groups. Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc.

De Loof A.,Catholic University of Leuven | Vandersmissen T.,Leuven University College | Marchal E.,Catholic University of Leuven | Schoofs L.,Catholic University of Leuven
Peptides | Year: 2015

The paradigm saying that release of the brain neuropeptide big prothoracicotropic hormone (PTTH) initiates metamorphosis by activating the Torso-receptor/ERK pathway in larval prothoracic glands (PGs) is widely accepted nowadays. Upon ligand-receptor interaction Ca2+ enters the PG cells and acts as a secondary messenger. Ecdysteroidogenesis results, later followed by apoptosis. Yet, some data do not fit in this model. In some species decapitated animals can still molt, even repeatedly, and metamorphose. PTTH does not universally occur in all insect species. PGs may also have other functions; PGs as counterpart of the vertebrate thymus? There are also small PTTHs. Finally, PTTH remains abundantly present in adults and plays a role in control of ecdysteroidogenesis (=sex steroid production) in gonads. This is currently documented only in males. This urges a rethinking of the PTTH-PG paradigm. The key question is: Why does PTTH-induced Ca2+ entry only result in ecdysteroidogenesis and apoptosis in specific cells/tissues, namely the PGs and gonads? Indeed, numerous other neuropeptides also use Ca2+ as secondary messenger. The recent rediscovery that in both invertebrates and vertebrates at least some isoforms of Ca2+-ATPase need the presence of an endogenous farnesol/juvenile hormone(JH)-like sesquiterpenoid for keeping cytosolic [Ca2+]i below the limit of apoptosis-induction, triggered the idea that it is not primarily PTTH, but rather the drop to zero of the JH titer that acts as the primordial initiator of metamorphosis by increasing [Ca2+]i. PTTH likely potentiates this effect but only in cells expressing Torso. PTTH: an evolutionarily ancient gonadotropin? © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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