On the 21st of October, the chair Mireille Aerens was inaugurated. Mrs. Aerens, an advocate for animal rights, donated a large amount of money to the VUB. The money will be used to research how animal testing can be replaced by in-vitro methods using stem cells. B-PHOT will play an important role in this research with its “lab-on-a-chip” technology.
The research on in-vitro methods will be led by prof. Vera Rogiers from the faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy. She and her team have developed a method that can transform stem cells - taken from human skin - into liver cells. To combine that method with the “lab-on-a-chip” technology, prof. Rogiers and her team will collaborate with B-PHOT.
The research that will be conducted is very important because a lot of medicines that have been tested on animals turn out to cause liver damage to humans. Paracetamol, for example, can cause severe damage to the liver when taken in large amounts.
Mrs. Aerens does not have a scientific background, but has full confidence in the research that will be conducted. “It’s a win-win situation,” she says. “While donating money to an institution that is close to my heart, I also support research that in the future might eliminate animal testing.”
For her generous donation to the VUB, Mrs. Aerens was put in the spotlight at a reception hosted by VUB’s rector Paul de Knop and Hugo Thienpont, vice-rector and head of B-PHOT.
To learn more about the chair Mireille Aerens, you can watch the news report by TV Brussels here .