Crossover research and exploration for a creative and sustainable future


X-LAB is a cross-disciplinary research group — a crossroads where science, technology, art, and other disciplines meet and cross-fertilize — with as mission statement “exploration and crossover towards a creative and sustainable future”.

Our facilities comprise novel research labs, a telescope-dome, outreach and collaborative spaces (X-Wall of Science and Arts, X-Room of Wonders, Classroom of the Future, Polar Exploration exhibit), and the X-LAB-pavilion with the iconic “Think A Head” sculpture/brainstorm room of artist Frits Jeuris — undoubtedly one of the most original university brainstorm rooms worldwide.

Our vision on cross-disciplinarity is expressed through research, education and outreach activities (e.g. X-FESTIVAL).


Research at X-LAB brings together partners from various backgrounds: science, technology, arts, design, economy, humanities, ... through so-called X-Tiger Teams, to explore novel frontiers and uncharted territories on earth and in space.


PHYSXLAB, the educational lab of the Department of Physics at UHasselt, is a dynamic experimental physics lab for innovative education with special attention for outreach and crossover.


X-FESTIVAL is a cross-disciplinary, visionary, inspirational and stimulating ideas festival at the crossroads of science, technology and art.


Quotes that inspire us

"Good ideas want to connect, fuse, recombine. They want to reinvent themselves by crossing conceptual borders."

Steven Johnson

"Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day-dreaming, but vision with action can change the world."

Nelson Mandela

"Tiger Team — a team of undomesticated and uninhibited technical specialists , selected for their experience, energy, and imagination …"

J.R. Dempsey et al. (NASA), 1964

"Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible."

Richard Feynman

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

Martin Luther King Jr.

"Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It's not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out."

Vaclav Havel

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."

Albert Einstein

X-Tiger Team

“For a given challenge/problem that cannot be addressed by a single discipline, company or institute, at X-LAB a dedicated cross-disciplinary team of undomesticated and uninhibited people from different backgrounds is brought together, invited for their experience, energy, and imagination.” — X-LAB adaptation of original NASA definition

Marieke Vereycken


Communication X Education

I am Marieke Vereycken, a biomedical scientist who completed her master’s thesis on Photovoltaic Photographs at X-LAB in 2023. During my education I found out I love explaining scientific phenomena and simply going into interaction with all kinds of people. Therefore, I consider myself very lucky that I can do this on a daily basis as a part of my function within the PHYSXLAB-team as project coordinator, communication X education.

Jelle Vodnik


Electronics X Software

Jelle Vodnik is committed to the education of physics students at PHYSXLAB, where he specializes in electronics, photonics and programming.

Michel De Roeve


Technical Expert X Operational Coordination

I, Michel De Roeve, am first and foremost the father of four lovely daughters. Passionate about technology, nature and art and driven by the "youthful" enthusiasm of Students, PhD students and Professors, I am trying to solve the technical problems within the Phys-X-Lab and X-LAB team. In addition to the technical, I attach great importance to empathy. That's why my door in the science tower is always open. Next to this I'm also very well known for the strange sounds I make while hovering around the science tower. ;-)

Jean Manca

Prof.dr. Jean MANCA


Jean V. Manca (a.k.a. “Prof. X”) is full professor experimental Physics and crossover scientist at Hasselt University (Belgium), head of PHYSXLAB, and founder of X-LAB.

Nico Fransaert


PhD Student

I enjoy talking to people as much as I enjoy spending time behind my computer. My previous studies of physics granted me a useful toolbox of skills that I am currently expanding during my PhD. The project combines physics with data science and biology, an interdisciplinary endeavour I am excited about! My hobbies are constantly evolving, but nothing beats chatting over coffee. I just asked my colleague to describe me in three words, he said “enthusiastic, thoughtful, curious.”

Allyson Robert

Alysson ROBERT

PhD Student

I’m Allyson Robert, a PhD student in Physics, currently working on Photovoltaic Photographs. My curiosity led me to explore 3D printing and CAD modelling as a hobby. Today, these skills are proving invaluable in my PhD, making our research more efficient and precise. In 2024 I’m organizing a Young Science Conference to allow students to share their research with others. In addition to all this, I also have a fascination for computational methods and programming.

Lealia Derickx


PhD Student

My academic career started at UHasselt with a bachelor’s in physics, focusing on the experimental side. After this, I obtained a master’s degree in nanoscience from KU Leuven, where I specialized in bionanotechnology.
Now during my PhD I get to combine my interest in both physics and biology by studying the electro-optical properties of cable bacteria.
In my spare time I enjoy reading books and going for a run.

Remy Ratajczak


PhD Student

Hi! I’m Remy, a junior X-LAB recruit working on a cable bacteria project that focuses on their conductive fibers. Of course, that’s only academics. In my spare time I have tons of other interests. Aside from being a self-proclaimed pro home cook (see the movie ratatouille), I also like to exercise. My favorite sports include calisthenics, running, snowboarding and cycling. To give myself a break, board games and going out with friends wrap up this short summary.

Alessandro Romano

Alessandro ROMANO

PhD Student

Embracing the wonders of science, I, Alessandro Romano, am on a journey as a Ph.D. student, dedicated to a net-zero world. My research delves into biological photovoltaics, where microorganisms and bacterial materials can work together, creating a new era of green electrification. Beyond the lab, I love reading books and walking in nature. Join me in this odyssey, as we strive for a sustainable tomorrow. Explore more on my journey via my LinkedIn profile.

Robin Bonné

Dr. Robin BONNE

Guest Post-doc Researcher

Robin Bonné is a postdoc at Aarhus University (DK) working with bacteria that conduct electricity, while staying a close collaborator to Jean and his former PhD-group X-LAB. His deep passion for science communication led him to start his own company ‘Robin Talks Science’, where he supports researchers in hosting outreach events, giving popular talks, or managing citizen science projects. In his free time, you will find him behind a musical instrument, playing improvisation theatre or on a long hike in the forest.

Raghavendran Thiruvallur Eachembadi


Guest Post-doc Researcher

I am Ragha, currently a Field Applications Specialist for Small DualBeam (FIB/SEM) systems at Thermo Fisher Scientific (previously FEI), located in Eindhoven, NL. I carry out demonstrations on the latest DualBeam tools produced by TFS and also train users on the operation of their tool. Previously I did my PhD at X-LAB, to further understanding on the electrical and compositional properties of cable bacteria, which involved working with Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) as well as Time of Flight — Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer (ToF-SIMS), in close collaboration with imec, Belgium. My project was part of the FWO funding jointly awarded to Prof Filip Meysman of Antwerp University and Prof Jean Manca, and due to the nature of funding, I collaborated extensively with Prof Meysman, whose group's expertise lies in microbiology. I like playing badminton and I play in a local club in Eindhoven. I love traveling, and thanks to the nature of my current job, I can travel to different places in Europe and the Middle East for work.

Thessa Van Limbergen


Guest Post-doc Researcher

Dr. Thessa Van Limbergen did her PhD at X-LAB, where she investigated the highs and lows of microbial fuel cells and various other aspects of bioelectrochemistry. Driven by a love for planet earth, green energy, and sustainability en masse, she currently works as an energy & climate consultant at RSK, where she gladly helps companies and governments with their energy consumption and environmental footprint while maintaining her connection with her alma mater.

Bart Vandeput


Guest Post-doc Researcher

I’m Bart HM Vandeput, an artist (Bartaku) who explores the human condition through signals from plants, microbes, light, energy, and technology. My inquiries involve many creatures that I bring together seriously-playfully. My works emanate tensions between process and result, living and nonliving, human and more-than-human. They transcend boundaries and have been shared worldwide in various forms and media. I’m a postdoc researcher at the Centre for Bioethics at Antwerp University and enjoy visiting roles at Aalto, Ghent and Hasselt Universities’ physics and microbiology departments. I’m also a member and co-founder of several art collectives.

Koen Wouters


Guest Researcher

Koen Wouters is a postdoc at Aarhus University (DK), where he continues the cross-disciplinary research he did during his PhD at X-LAB. As he studies the conductive fibre structure within cable bacteria on both the macroscopic and microscopic scale, he closely collaborates with the other members of the X-Tiger team in order to unravel the intrinsic electrical properties of these bacteria. Outside of the lab you can find him playing percussion, climbing a wall or hiking in the forest.

Willem Awouters


Master Student

Willem Awouters is a biomedical sciences student who specializes in bioelectronics and nanotechnology. He is currently conducting research for his master's thesis on the degradation of dyes in photovoltaic photographs in the X-LAB research group. In his free time, he enjoys playing music and performing concerts with his family. You can find more information about him on his LinkedIn profile.

Filippo Morini

Prof.dr. Filippo MORINI

Guest Professor

Filippo Morini is a scientist who dedicated his work to the endless possibilities nature offers in reshaping matter through chemistry and physics. A theoretician with molecules and crystals in his mind, he is also at the crossroads of art, philosophy, and the human mystery.

Bart Cleuren

Prof.dr. Bart CLEUREN

Theory lab

Prof.dr. Bart Cleuren is a theoretical physicist (Statistical Physics), group leader of Theory LAB and director of the Bachelor Physics Program within the Department of Physics at Hasselt University. Prof. Cleuren & X-LAB have a longstanding close collaboration regarding the theoretical aspects of a.o. electrical transport mechanisms in biological electronical materials & organisms (e.g. Cable Bacteria) and several joint PhD-students.

Roland Valcke

Prof.dr. Roland VALCKE

Molecular and Physical Plant Physiology

Prof.em.dr. Roland Valcke is an emeritus professor biology (research group Molecular and Physical Plant Physiology) at Hasselt University. Prof. Valcke & X-LAB have a longstanding close collaboration at the nexus of biology and physics (e.g. photosynthesis versus photovoltaics), and several joint PhD-students.


Nationale Loterij
FWO Research Foundation Flanders
Vlaamse Overheid


Location & postal adress:

Universiteit Hasselt
Agoralaan, Gebouw D
B-3590 Diepenbeek