Research

The University of Liège participates in a project aiming to better understand the impact of light

Within a European consortium of eight laboratories, ULiège is recruiting researchers


Mood, attention, sleep-wake cycle and hormone regulation are functions affected by the high light exposure characteristic of our contemporary lifestyle. Dr. Gilles Vandewalle will study the non-visual impact of light

Dr. Gilles Vandewalle of GIGA-CRC-In Vivo Imaging (ULiège) is part of a consortium of eight European laboratories funded by the European Commission in the framework of a European Training Networks Marie-Skłodowska-Curie. The project, entitled "LIGHTCAP: LIGHT, COGNITION, ATTENTION, PERCEPTION", aims to coordinate 15 PhD research projects to better understand the non-visual impact of light. The universities involved are located in Basel, Berlin, Eindhoven, Lausanne, Manchester and Sheffield in addition to Liège.

Beyond its essential role for vision, light affects many functions that are not directly related to the visual system; they are grouped under the term "non-visual". These effects include the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle, mood, attention and certain hormones. The advent of LEDs has allowed the increasing use of light sources that have now invaded our entire environment and every moment of our day, right down to the screens in our bedrooms. This increased light exposure is not without health consequences, and it is becoming increasingly clear that the misuse of light contributes to disturbing our sleep, our mood and our attention while increasing the risk of other pathologies. It is therefore important to better understand the impact of light to provide the necessary tools to create appropriate lighting tools according to our activity, time of day, age and health status, in various environments such as school, hospital, business and home.

Dr. Gilles Vandewalle of GIGA-CRC-In Vivo Imaging (ULiège) is part of a consortium of eight European laboratories funded by the European Commission in the framework of a European Training Networks Marie-Skłodowska-Curie. The project, entitled "LIGHTCAP: LIGHT, COGNITION, ATTENTION, PERCEPTION", aims to coordinate 15 PhD research projects to better understand the non-visual impact of light. The universities involved are located in Basel, Berlin, Eindhoven, Lausanne, Manchester and Sheffield in addition to Liège. Dr. Gilles Vandewalle will contribute to the project by investigating the brain mechanisms involved in these effects using the 7 Tesla MRI recently installed at ULiège and transcranial magnetic stimulation coupled with electroencephalogram (TMS-EEG). 

The project ranges from fundamental research to the implementation of light solutions that optimize both vision and non-visual functions in real-life situations (e.g. in the street). It brings together disciplines such as electrophysiology, psychology, medicine, medical imaging, and the development of light devices. The four-year project starts in March 2020 with the recruitment of 15 PhD researchers interested in taking part in a multidisciplinary project across Europe.

Contact information

Dr Gilles VANDEWALLE

GIGA - CRC - In Vivo Imaging - Sleep and chronobiology

Details of the recruitment announcement

 

Photo by Andrew Guan on Unsplash

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