Scientific Research at the the VUB
The Centre for Reproductive Medicine (CRG
) of the University Hospital Brussels (UZ Brussel
) carries out scientific research in a number of research areas in reproductive medicine. It concerns both clinical and clinical-translational research. It is carried at out the CRG itself, but also at the research laboratories of the Faculty of medicine of the Free University of Brussels (VUB
) at the Brussels Health Campus in Jette.CRG's clinical studies
are mostly in the field of:
- reproductive surgery,
- reproductive andrology,
- reproductive endocrinology,
- reproductive genetics, and
- reproductive immunology.
In all these fields, doctors of the CRG work closely with the researchers of either the CRG itself, or a research group of the faculty of medicine. The research at the faculty itself
falls under the cluster of 'Reproductive Genetics and Regenerative Medicine' (REGE). This comprises seven research groups (*), four of which are connected to the CRG:
- BITE: Biology of the Testes
- FOBI: Follicle biology
- REGE: Reproduction and Genetics
- REIM: Reproduction and Implantation/Immunology
(*) Research groups at the VUB are given a four letter acronym.
In 2014, as many as 33 doctoral student were active at the CRG or in the research groups. Over the past ten years, the CRG and associated research groups published between 50 to 70 scientific publications every year (see scientific publications
The current research projects at the UZ Brussel and the VUB comprise all fields of reproductive medicine. The research groups have a more specific focus.
See also BITE
This research group focuses on the biology of the testes.
- We carry out research into freezing, cultivating and transplanting testicular stem cells.
We look for a solution for male infertility caused by the loss of stem cells in the testicle (where sperm is made). This could be a treatment to prevent sterility in men who are having/had cancer treatment.
See also www.brusselsoncofertility.be .
- We do research into in-vitro spermatogenesis, i.e. the maturation in the laboratory of sperm from stem cells or other progenitor cells.
This is a partnership with national and international partners: Ghent University (Belgium), University Amsterdam (the Netherlands), the Karolinska Institute Stockholm (Sweden), the Hubrecht Institute Utrecht (the Netherlands), the University of Münster (Germany), the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), the Sapienza University of Rome (Italy) and the University of Helsinki (Finland).
See also FOBI
This research group focuses on the biology of the follicle.
We do research:
- into in-vitro maturation, i.e. the maturation in the laboratory of immature eggs from the ovary,
- into molecular markers which determined egg quality, and
- into freezing ovarian tissue in patients who are having/had cancer treatment.
This last research is in the field of oncofertility, the branch of medicine that wants to help cancer patients preserve their fertility for after the cancer treatment.
REGE is the biggest research group. See also REGE
In this group, clinical and fundamental researchers carry out research into various genetic aspects of human reproduction.
- In a clinical field
- the CRG and the CMG (Centre for Medical Genetics) are working on follow-up research into the health of children born with the help of various assisted reproduction techniques (such as ICSI, vitrification, etc.), and
- research is carried out into the possible genetic background of reproduction problems, i.e. into possible genetic causes of male or female infertility.
- More fundamental research is carried out into embryonic stem cells and the possibilities of using embryonic stem cells for regenerative medicine.
See also REIM
This research group focuses on reproduction and implantation in relationship with immunology.
This group does research in close co-operation with the CRG:
- into the mechanisms that have a positive or negative effect on the implantation of an embryo in the uterus, and
- into the effect of our immune system on implantation.
Other reproductive processes are also studied in this group.
The research is carried out in co-operation with a number of international partners such as the University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and the University of Warwick (UK).