About us

A multidisciplinary service platform

‘Vision Core Leuven’ (VCL) is a multidisciplinary service platform at KU Leuven that offers a broad portfolio of relevant preclinical models of ocular disorders, complementary state-of-the-art technologies and expertise in morphological and functional phenotyping.

The platform is open to both academic research groups and industrial partners.

The services of VCL enable in depth evaluation of the impact of a candidate drug or an intervention (e.g. disease model, genetic or pharmacological/therapeutic manipulation) on the structure and function of the eye, and eventually the brain. In this way, preclinical outcomes are being analyzed, which may be indicative of clinical study endpoints.

We want to offer a personalized service, with various read-outs, including morphological in vivo imaging, functional and (vision-driven) behavioral assessments, post mortem evaluations, and in vitro validation of the mode-of-action.

Therefore, several complementary modules have been established:

  • an in vitro & ex vivo toolbox;
  • a set of ocular disease models, mimicking prevalent pathologies such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy (DR) and uveititis;
  • state-of-the-art in vivo technologies/equipment for morphological phenotyping, such as topical endoscopy fundus imaging (TEFI), optical coherence tomography (OCT), confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (cSLO), fluorescent angiography (FA);
  • functional and behavioural testing of visual function and optical imaging of intrinsic brain signals.

This is further complemented with the classical (immuno)histological, biochemical and molecular biology read-outs for preclinical research.

Next to this, several other models, techniques and read-outs are currently under development, including mouse models of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

By combining the expertise of multidisciplinary teams, offering reliable models and multiple read-outs, VCL has all capabilities to move your research or drug development to a higher level.

VCL overview


VCL is dedicated to the research concept of “the eye as a window to the body”, postulating the eye as a model system to obtain insights into mechanisms and processes underlying many human diseases, i.e. pathological angiogenesis, fibrosis, inflammation and neurodegeneration. Intensive research efforts focused on hyperspectral retinal imaging for Alzheimer's disease diagnosis and monitoring are ongoing, both in vivo and post mortem, in mouse models and human patients. Please contact us to discuss research opportunities in this field.