Professor Johan Martens

Fewer infections and cancers

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On our densely populated planet, infections are a major threat, as well as the many types of cancers that affect our health. But here too, a transdisciplinary approach would link biochemistry, compartmentalization from cells to tissues and body organs with knowledge about catalysis and membranes, molecular structures and process dynamics. Again, the Leuven research team could make the difference. After all, their thorough molecular knowledge can contribute to a better understanding, faster detection and ultimately a more effective fight against infections. With targeted methods, step-by-step changes at the microbiological level can be made possible and changes in cell metabolism caused by diseases can be better monitored.

The path to overall healing is of course long, but transdisciplinary research is likely to change paradigms in fields where the progression so far seems to be too slow: cancer and infections. In the longer term, we may expect some propagation of breakthroughs beyond these two domains, for example in the field of Alzheimer’s and related diseases.

“We generate intellectual property in our lab, which we patent”, says professor Johan Martens. “Some of our inventions are almost ready, others require more research and practical implementation. In order to be able to do substantial scaling up in this highly interdisciplinary field, we need the support of donors. They can make unique solutions possible based on our unique insights and ideas.”