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Peter Swinnen, Doctor of Arts

The composer Peter Swinnen received his arts doctorate on the 3rd of April. This is the second arts doctorate within the Doctorate of Arts Platform, which is also known as the Brussels’ Model.


In addition to his thesis, Peter Swinnen, composer and department head of the Koninklijk Conservatorium van Brussel (Royal Conservatory of Brussels), wrote the original score ‘La chute de la maison Usher (The Fall of the House of Usher)’, based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe and the silent film of the same name by Epstein. Both parts of this doctoral project at The Platform were presented to the jury.

Dissertation wins Stijn Bannier the 2008 Music Thesis Award

Stijn Bannier (a member of the VUB research group Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication (SMIT) of the IBBT) has won the 2008 Music Thesis Award with his graduation thesis 'De gamer als hybride performer' (New Media and Digital Culture study, Utrecht University). According to the jury report, Bannier describes 'the world of the gamer from within', with plenty of 'momentum and flexibility.'


the Music Thesis Award is granted by the Muziek Centrum Nederland (Dutch Music Centre) to the author of the best graduation thesis on music in the broadest sense of the word, on an annual basis. The winner is awarded five hundred euro.
Don’t hesitate to surf to the NUvideo website video (only available in Dutch).


Raf Brouns wins the VNN Eli-Lilly Neurology Award

On the 14th March, in Leuven, the Eli-Lilly Neurology Prize of the ‘Vereniging van Vlaamse Neurologen’ (VVN) (Society of Flemish Neurologists) was awarded to Dr. Raf Brouns, employed at the UZ Brussel Neurology Department, for his research into the role of procarboxypeptidase U (proCPU) in the case of an acute stroke. Activation of proCPU inhibits the fibrinolysis (the beneficial effect of thrombolysis). He found a relationship between the use of proCPU and the infarct volume and mortality in patients who received intravenous thrombolytic therapy. These results suggest that proCPU inhibitors could potentially have an added value for thrombolytic therapy in the case of a cerebral infarct.


An opportunity to participate in a scientific congress
The ‘Vereniging van Vlaamse Neurologen’ awards the ‘VVN Eli-Lilly’ prizes annually in recognition of original scientific documents in the field of neurology (either clinical or experimental), biological psychiatry, neurosciences and clinical psychiatry, psychotherapy and humanitarian sciences that have not yet been published. The awards are intended to offer the winners the opportunity to participate in a scientific congress.

Deirdre Cabooter wins the Halasz award

Eng. Deirdre Cabooter has won the prestigious Halasz award for her participation in the 34th High Performance Liquid Chromatography congress (HPLC 2009) in Dresden, Germany. The award, with a value of 600 Euro, was awarded by the Halasz Foundation. Deirdre Cabooter is working in the Chemical Engineering & Technology (CHIS-IR) research unit under the supervision of Prof. Gert Desmet.




Elisabeth Robert has won the VLIZ Thesis Award for Marine Sciences

Every year, the Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ) (Flanders Marine Institute) grants an award to two Master Thesis’s. Both fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of Marine Sciences are considered for this award. This year, one of the two awards was won by Elisabeth Robert of the General Botany and Nature Management research unit ( for her thesis ‘Hydraulic architecture of Avicennia marina (grey mangrove) along an ecological gradient in Gazi Bay, Kenya’.


More information
More information on the VLIZ award can be found on the VLIZ website.
More information on Elisabeth’s thesis subject can be found in this document.

Griet Neukermans has won the prize for the best poster at the Youth Contact Day of the Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee

Griet Neukermans, marine researcher at the Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models (MUMM) and voluntary contributor to the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, recently won the prize for the best poster at the Youth Contact Day of the Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ) in Bruges on the 6th March.


The subject of her poster was ‘Vertical variability of suspended matter and its influence on remote sensing reflectance’. More information can be found on the Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models website.

Kathleen Mooren wins the ZONTA Prize with her dissertation on the use of the Internet for health information by female sex workers in Antwerp

With her dissertation ‘Information technology and ‘the oldest profession’: pas de deux or pas du tout? Do female sex workers in the private houses and open-scene prostitution in Antwerp make use of the Internet for health information?’, Kathleen Mooren, who has recently graduated as Master in Health Management and Policy at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, was crowned as the winner of the annual prize awarded by the ZONTA Club Brussel Sablon. The prize was presented in the Convivium of the Etterbeek campus on Thursday the 5th March.


Do sex workers look for health information on the Internet?
Sex workers have an increased risk of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, violence, unwanted pregnancies and alcohol and drug abuse. Due to a number of barriers, it is often difficult for them to access both preventative and curative regular health care (and other assistance), and the information available is often insufficient to meet their specific needs. Kathleen Mooren investigated whether the Internet provides an opportunity to offer sex workers adequate information about various health aspects. She also specifically looked into the extent to which sex workers make use of the Internet to inform themselves about health issues.


Foreign websites
The investigations of Kathleen Mooren (promoter: Fred Louckx, co-promoter: Elke Leuridan) demonstrate that a number of mainly foreign websites exist that could offer relevant health information to sex workers. These sites have often been developed with the participation of sex workers themselves. The majority of the prostitutes in her study have an easy access to the Internet and they also use it regularly to find information on general and sexual health.

Dr. Eng. Guy Van der Sande receives the Ignace Vanderschueren Prize

On Friday, the 6th of March, Dr. Eng. Guy Van der Sande received the 2008 Ignace Verschueren Prize for his doctorate research ‘Simple models for complex photonic structures: An analytical approach to the physics of VCSELs and photonic crystals’. His promoter is Prof. Dr. Jan Danckaert, and Prof. Dr. Irina Veretennicoff is his co-promoter. This prize, with a value of 10,000 euro, provides additional support to young, post-doctorate researchers with regard to the further development of their scientific career.

VUB project on cancer research by Prof. Leyns is awarded 500,000 euro support

The Fournier-Majoie Foundation has awarded 500,000 euro of financial support to two Belgian research projects for the diagnosis and follow-up of two types of brain cancer. The foundation announced this on Monday. The projects relate to Prof. Dr. Luc Leyns from the Cellular Genetics laboratory of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Prof. Jo Vandesompele and Dr. Joëlle Vermeulen of the Centre for Medical Genetics of the University of Ghent. According to the foundation, this support will make it possible to ensure the continued efficiency of the started research project from the development stage up to its implementation.


Brain tumours
The work of Prof. Leyns is aimed at patients with glioblastoma brain tumours, which represent about 50 % of all brain tumours. The research by Prof. Jo Vandesompele and Dr. Joëlle Vermeulen is concentrating on the risk determination of neuroblastoma patients. The two research projects were selected by a jury of international specialists following a call for projects in cooperation with the Centre for Philanthropy of the King Baudouin Foundation.