Université catholique de Louvain



Centre for Applied Molecular Technologies (CTMA) at the  Université catholique de Louvain is a mixed military-academic technological plate-form in charge with the issues related to Biological Threats.

CTMA develops its CBRNE expertise through the synergy between the university and the Defense laboratories Department, taking advantage of in house existing and emerging technologies, multidisciplinarity as well as academic and military networking.  Accordingly, this plate-form hosts at the same location researchers appointed by the Belgian Ministry of Defense (BE-MOD), the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) and its associated academic hospital (Cliniques universitaires St Luc). Several fruitful academic and military bilateral partnerships are currently active. The main goal of CTMA is to develop and validate dual-use molecular and genetic tools and methods, allowing direct molecular identification and resistance pattern of pathogens. Detection methods are validated and directly applied both on human samples collected for presumed infected patients presenting in hospitals with a difficult diagnosis (failure of conventional microbiologic methods, need for a very rapid diagnosis) or from environmental samples collected from operational theaters where a potential risk has been identified or is feared. Aside of the current genetic methods, new emerging genetic and molecular technologies, such as nanotechnologies, are therefore designed and validated to produce innovative operational tools enabling us to better detect, hence to rapidly alert and protect the troops in operations against known and unknown threatening infectious agents. In that respect, a mobile fieldable laboratory for molecular genetic identification of life-threatening agents has been successfully deployed in Kananga RDC, in May 2009. CTMA participates actively to the yearly NATO SIBA exercises and to the new mixed samples exercises in order to validate its own detection methods. All agents that may be pathogenic for human beings fall into the scope of interest of CTMA: bacteria mycobacteria, fungi and viral biological agents.

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