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. As of January 2017, VCL receives C3 funding (KU Leuven - C32/16/004) for a period of 2 years. 

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 and techniques are currently under development.

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


Furthermore, the platform strives to open up the novel 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.