"Crossing borders"

Join the upcoming 23rd National Symposium for Applied Biological Sciences (NSABS) on February 8th 2018 jointly organized by VUB and ULB. NSABS brings together junior researchers, postdocs and group leaders in the multidisciplinary field of applied biological sciences. An appointment not to miss in your 2018 agenda!

Since NSABS 2018 will cover the wide variety of topics in applied biological sciences, it is an ideal opportunity for PhD students to cross the borders of their own scientific discipline. PhD students are encouraged to present their project to a broad audience (for starting PhD students perhaps for the first time) and receive feedback that can improve their research. The organizers want to actively stimulate the participants to view the world around them from different perspectives. The multidisciplinary and interactive character of the symposium allows the participants to gain insight in what their colleagues from other departments or universities are doing. While science and technology are at the heart of NSABS 2018, we selected keynote speakers that will also address career perspectives for young scientists as well as valorization potential and key enabling technologies. During the lunch we intend to offer also non-mainstream (and surprising) foodstuff. Besides traditional awards for best thematic poster presentations, we will also have 3 awards for outstanding presentations with particular focus on valorization, sustainability and multidisciplinarity. Last but not least, the organizers themselves already crossed the borders in the Belgian university landscape and both VUB and ULB joined forces to make NSABS 2018 a successful and memorable edition.

Important dates

15/12/2017: deadline abstract submission

15/01/2018: notification of acceptance

29/01/2018: (new) deadline registration

08/02/2018: NSABS 2018

NSABS 2017

The 22nd edition of NSABS, held at the KU Leuven, gained a lot of attention among PhD researchers, with 185 registrations. The conference consisted of 2 keynote speakers, 33 oral presentations and 82 poster presentations.


General program

8:30 – 9:10                             registration and welcoming coffee

9:10 – 9:25                             opening conference

9:25 – 10:05                           plenary speaker I

10:10 – 11:10                         parallel thematic sessions – part 1

11:10 – 11:35                         coffee break

11:35 – 13:05                         parallel thematic sessions – part 2

13:05 – 14:05                         lunch + poster session A

14:05 – 14:35                         plenary speaker II

14:40 – 16:00                         parallel thematic sessions – part 3

16:00 – 17:00                         coffee break + poster session B

17:00 – 17:30                         plenary speaker III

17:30 – 17:45                         closing remarks and awards

17:45                                     networking reception

Plenary speakers

VAN DEN BERG Albert (UTwente, Nl, https://www.utwente.nl/ewi/bios)

Albert van den Berg obtained his PhD in applied physics in 1988 at the University of Twente (UTwente, Netherlands). Afterwards, he worked on miniaturized chemical sensors at the CSEM center and IMT institute in Neuchatel (Switzerland). From 1993 until 1999 he was research director at MESA (UTwente). After a part-time professor position “Biochemical Analysis Systems”, in 2000 he was appointed as full professor on Miniaturized Systems for (Bio)Chemical Analysis in the faculty of Electrical Engineering and part of the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology (UTwente). He is co-author of more than 400 peer reviewed publications (H=51) and obtained several  prestigous awards and honors such as two ERC Advanced (2008, 2015) and ERC Proof of Concept (2011, 2013) grants, Spinoza prize (2009) and board member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW, 2011).

Title presentation: From Lab on a Chip to Organs on Chip


SMIT Lucia (Braingain, https://www.braingain.be/)

Dr. Lucia Smit is founder of Braingain, organization sociologist and certified professional co-active coach (CPCC). She started her career as management consultant for companies and governments. Afterwards, as a member of the OESO work group she studied the careers of researchers. From 2007, Lucia guides professionals at developping their ambitions into their work environment and job market, with a starting point being the enhancement of their self-knowledge.

Title presentation: How to manage your career as a PhD: challenges and opportunities


VAN GANSBERGHE Frédéric (Galactic sa/nv, www.lactic.com)

Mr. Frédéric van Gansberghe is CEO at Galactic SA/NV, Chairman at Compagnie du Bois Sauvage SA and President at Galactic, Inc. He has been graduated as electro-mechanical engineer from ECAM and got a post-graduate degree in biotechnology at UCL.

Title presentation: And now, what’s next ?

Keynote presentations

Tim Stakenborg (IMEC, BE): "New Developments in Silicon Nanotechnology for Healthcare Applications"

Stéphanie Descroix (Institut Curie, FR): "Microfluidics for biomimetism : from 3D co-culture to gut on chip"

David Cannella (ULB, BE): "Light powered enzymatic degradation of lignocellulose: a new photo-bio-catalysis for fuels and chemicals"

Thematic sessions

NSABS 2018 covers a wide range of topics in the field of Applied Biological Sciences. They are grouped in 6 themes representing the parallel sessions of the scientific program.


NSABS will give several awards for the recognition of outstanding work and presentations of dedicated young researchers.

Besides traditional awards for best thematic presentations, we will also have 3 awards for outstanding presentations with particular focus on valorization, sustainability and multidisciplinarity.

NSABS 2018 will be held at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), in the auditoria Aula Q and Mandela meeting room.

The venue is located on the VUB Etterbeek campus, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels. NSABS 2018 signs will help you to find your way on the campus.

How to access the VUB campus

  • By train: Etterbeek or Delta Station
  • By transit:
    • STIB-MIVB Trams 7 and 25 (stop VUB)
    • STIB-MIVB Metro 5 (stop Petillon or Delta)
    • STIB-MIVB Bus 34 (stop Strategie) or 95 (Etterbeek Station)
    • De Lijn Bus 341, 343, 348 or 349 (stop VUB)
    • TEC Bus C (stop VUB) or E (stop Strategie)
  • By car: Entrance Campus Pleinlaan (not Triomflaan)

CO2 conscious

NSABS aims at minimizing its carbon footprint. From that perspective, participants are encouraged to use shared or clean transport services to reach the venue.

Participants are stimulated to compensate for their carbon footprint by buying carbon credits which supports projects such as tree-planting or clean energy investments.

Carbon credits can be bought, for example, at local Fairtrade organizations (www.fairtrade.net/products), via Greentripper (CO2 logic initiative, UN FCCC certified) (www.greentripper.org) or at the United Nations "Climate Neutral Now" initiative (www.climateneutralnow.org).

Practical Links

Belgian railway:                                            www.belgianrail.be

Brussels public transport:                             www.stib-mivb.be

Flanders public transport:                             www.delijn.be

Wallonia public transport:                             www.infotec.be

The National Symposium for Applied Biological Sciences (NSABS) is a yearly event, jointly organized by volunteers of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Ghent University (UGhent), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL), Universiteit Antwerpen (UA), Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) and Université de Liège (ULg). We are happy to announce that the 2018 edition will be locally co-organized by VUB and ULB.

NSABS 2018 organizing team

Wim De Malsche (VUB)

Julien Cousin-Saint-Remi (VUB)

Kris Pauwels (VUB)

Christian Hermans (ULB)

Benoit Scheid (ULB)


Contact information: nsabs2018@vub.be


Organizing committee

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Wim De Malsche, Julien Cousin-Saint-Remi, Kris Pauwels

Université Libre de Bruxelles

Christian Hermans, Benoit Scheid, David Cannella, Julien Louvieux

Universiteit Gent

Jan Baetens, Chris Callewaert, Steven Sleutel

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Barbara De Coninck, Bram Van den Bergh, Eline Vanuytrecht, Liesbeth François, Mariya Petrova

Universiteit Antwerpen

Dieter Vandenheuvel, Jelle Hofman

Université de Liège

Hélène Soyeut, Jérôme Bindelle

Université Catholique de Louvain

Valentin Couvreur, Xavier Draye, Gauthier Lequeue

Université de Mons

Sylvain Gabriele

With the generous support of

NSABS2018 receives the generous support of the Ernest Solvay Fund (King Baudouin Foundation) and our sponsors:

Become sponsor and exhibitor of NSABS 2018

Why does a sponsorship matter?

  • Promote your company name prior to, during and after the conference
  • Promote your organisation and raise your profile within the wider community
  • Interact with participants: young promising researchers, professionals from academia and potential buyers
  • Demonstrate your commitment to assisting the development of young researchers
  • Contribute to the promotion, planning and operation of the symposium, enabling a higher level of participation

NSABS greatly appreciates the contribution of sponsors and, therefore, offers specific and costumized sponsorship packages that match with your marketing/visibility needs, and which includes branding opportunities that will be visible not only during, but before and after the symposium as well.

If you would like to sponsor our event please contact us by email.

Contact: nsabs2018@vub.be

Registration is FREE!

The organizers make a great effort to keep NSABS2018 free for all participants. However, registration is mandatory and there is a cancellation and no-show policy in place.  We kindly ask you to inform us as soon as possible if you have to cancel your attendance. If you need to cancel, please send us an email at nsabs2018@vub.be

Cancellations are free of charge up to February 2nd 2018. After this date, registrants will be charged a fee of 50 euros for cancellations or no-shows without valid reason.

To register click here.

Award Winners

Best Oral Presentation (kindly offered by the Faculty of Sciences, ULB)

Xenia Geeraerts (VUB). The impact of lactate on the metabolic phenotype of tumor-associated macrophages.

Best Poster – Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Nathaniel Berneman (VUB). Nano-Precision Construction Engineering at the 1-Micron Scale: New Hierarchical Materials and New Applications.

Best Poster – Agriculture and Food Technology

Claire Chigwedere (KUL). Influence of storage on the cooking quality of Canadian wonder common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris): insight into mechanism of softening and evolution of volatile compounds.

Best Poster – Biomathematics

Janis Baeten (UGent). A simple model for aerobic granular sludge.

Best Poster – Human Health

Mate Kiss (VUB). Non-canonical IL-1β release by myeloid cells promotes tumor progression and resistance to immunotherapy.

Best Poster – Environment

Abukari Wumbei (UGent). Pesticides Residue Analysis in Yam from Selected Markets Across Ghana and Belgium: An Evaluation of the QUECHERS Method.

Best Poster – Key-enabling Technologies

Fréderick Matheuse (VUB). Liquid Chromatography and advanced 3D printing: a match made in heaven?

Best Poster – Biophysics (generously offered by the Belgian Biophysical Society; www.biophysics.be)

Iene Rutten (KUL). DNA origami nano-architectures for well-defined and robust biosensing interfaces.

Multidisciplinarity Award (kindly offered by BioSPX)

Hans Gerstmans (UGent). High throughput generation of designer enzybiotics against Acinetobacter baumannii.

Valorization Award (kindly offered by the Interfacultary School of Bioengineers, ULB)

Francis Vanryckeghem (UGent). Screening of the Belgian Part of the North Sea towards emerging organic micropollutants – comparison of two SPE-techniques prior to UHPLC-Orbitrap-HRMS analysis.

Sustainability Award (kindly offered by Fluigent)

Floris Dalemans (KUL). A prediction model for the seed and oil yield of Pongamia pinnata.

Abstract submission

Participants are encouraged to submit an abstract for participation to NSABS 2018. Presenting authors can submit up to two abstracts. Submission of abstracts can be done in any (sub)topic of the thematic sessions. Abstracts will be evaluated by experienced reviewers. If necessary, reviewers may relocate presentations into other sessions.

Abstracts should be maximum 1 A4 page long and not exceed 3000 characters (title, author(s), organization(s), abstract content and references included). Accepted presentations will be invited to submit an extended abstract which will be published in the journal Communications in Agricultural and Applied Biological Sciences (ISSN 1379-1176).

To submit your abstract click here, create an account and follow the submission procedure. Select one topic representing the thematic session in which you would like to present your contribution.

Presentation guidelines

Oral presentation:

Oral presentations will take place at the Aula Q meeting rooms. Presentations are 15' long with 5' of questions and answers. Presenting authors are required to upload their slides at least 10' before the start of their session. No slideshow template is provided, however, presentors are advised to use fonts compatible with most operating systems.

Poster presentation:

Poster sessions will take place in the Mandela meeting room. Poster panels will be provided to the participants. A0 dimensions are required (118.9 cm height x 84.1 cm width). Since the poster sessions are organized simultaneously with the coffee break and lunch, no evaluation of the posters will be performed during the first 20' of the sessions to allow presentors also to benefit from the breaks.