University of Luxembourg
Founded in 2003, the University of Luxembourg, is one of the youngest universities in Europe. It is a research-focused multilingual university with about 5,000 students from many different countries. The Health Technologies Initiative from the Government of Luxembourg lead to the establishment of the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) in 2009, with Prof Rudi Balling appointed as founding director. As interdisciplinary research centre, the LCSB is accelerating biomedical research by closing the link between systems biology and medical research, particularly in the field of Parkinson’s Disease. Collaboration between biologists, medical and computer scientists, physicists, engineers as well as mathematicians is offering new insights in complex systems like cells, organs and organisms. These findings are essential for understanding principal mechanisms of disease pathogenesis and for developing new tools in diagnostics and therapy.
Prof. Dr. Rudi Balling
Coordinator and work package leader WP6
Prof. Dr. Rudi Balling is the director of the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) and leads the interdisciplinary approach to PD at the LCSB.
As coordinator of SysMedPD he will contribute his established scientific leadership skills to manage the consortium and monitor the project’s work progress.
Dr. Ronan Fleming
Technical and Quality Manager and work package leader WP5
Dr. Ronan Fleming is a Principal Investigator of the LCSB Systems Biochemistry group.
He will be responsible for the coordination of the scientific developments and overall quality assurance of the project. Also he will be working in WP1, WP2, WP3 and WP5.
Dr. Hulda Haraldsdottir
Dr. Hulda Haraldsdottir is a PostDoc in the LCSB Systems Biochemistry group.
She specialises in constraint-based modelling of genome scale metabolic reaction networks.
She will be working in WP1
Jennifer Modamio Chamarro
Jennifer Modamio is a PhD student in the LCSB Systems Biochemistry group.
She has experience in Molecular Biology and Biomedicine. She is currently reconstructing reactions that are localized to the mitochondrial matrix, inner membrane, inter-membrane space, or outer membrane, with particular focus on PD-relevant pathways in WP5.
Diana El Assal
Diana El Assal is a PhD student in the LCSB Systems Biochemistry group.
Using a systems biology approach, Diana is currently reconstructing the biochemical networks of neuronal mitochondria. She has experience in pharmacology, which in combination with constraint-based modelling (WP5) will be used to elucidate the biochemical pathways that become dysfunctional in mitochondrial Parkinson's disease. The aim of the mitochondrial models is to computationally predict potential drug targets, that can then be tested experimentally.
Edinson Lucumi is a postdoc in the LCSB Systems Biochemistry group.
He is an experienced experimental cell biologist. His work in the project will contribute to the metabolomic phenotyping of spent media from iPSC derived neurons cultured in 3D microfluidics.
Miguel Oliveira is a postdoc in the LCSB Systems Biochemistry group.
He specialised in Medical Biochemistry and he has expertise in the neuroanatomy of neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease and in the development of brain neuronal populations. Currently he is using his expertise to reconstruct metabolic models of multiple neuronal populations vulnerable in PD.
His work in the project will contribute to the stratification of IPD patients by computational modelling of brain metabolism in WP1 and to the in silico modelling of PD in WP5 by comprehensively reconstructing the molecular network of a mitochondrion.
Fatima Monteiro is a PhD student in the LCSB Systems Biochemistry group.
Her work in the project will contribute to specify the brain system boundaries for the in silico modelling of Parkinson's disease in WP 5.
Khalid Kane is a PhD student in the LCSB Systems Biochemistry group.
He specialises in applied mechanics, stress analysis and automatic control.
His work in the project will contribute to assembling and integrating a sterile cell culture observatory. He will also be responsible for implementing biological processes in the automated system.
Dr. Jens Schwamborn
Dr. Jens Schwamborn is the Principal Investigator of the LCSB Cellular and Developmental Biology group.
Main tasks in the project
WP2 – Development of microfluidic cell culture protocols for robust and efficient differentiation of iPSCs into midbrain-like dopaminergic neurons.
WP3 – Differentiation of iPSCs into functional dopaminergic neurons and subsequent transplantation into the striatum of SCID mice; concurrent neurochemical and brain analyses in the striatum of humanised mice; neurochemical and behavioural evaluation of candidate neuroprotectants in humanised mice.
WP4 – Mainly focus on the differentiation of stem cells into dopaminergic neurons and their transplantation into mouse models of PD, as well as participation in the analysis of these mice.
Javier Jarazo is a PhD student in the LCSB Cellular and Developmental Biology group. He specialises in iPSCs and neuronal stem cell culture as well as later differentiation to neurons. Javier will use his expertise and patented gene editing method to correct the mutations in patient cell lines. He also has a vast experience in high content screening and image analysis for in vitro disease modelling and drug testing. Javier will assess differentiation phenotypes as well as mitochondrial aberrations in the context of WP2. His work in the project will also contribute to WP3, using cell sorting for recovering transplanted cells for further metabolic analysis.
Dr. Kathrin Hemmer
Dr. Kathrin Hemmer is a Postdoc in the LCSB Cellular and Developmental Biology group.
She specialises in transplantation studies of stem cells in PD mouse models.
She will develop cell culture protocols for robust and efficient differentiation of PD patient-derived iPSCs into a highly enriched culture of midbrain-like dopaminergic neurons in WP2. She will develop and characterise humanised mouse models, where human dopaminergic neurons of the different cohorts are transplanted into the striatum of immunodeficient mice in WP3.
Dr. Reinhard Schneider
Dr. Reinhard Schneider is the Head of the Bioinformatics Core facility at LCSB.
Main task in the project
Provision of the tranSMART database system, which is part of SysMedPD’s research data management plan to generate and collect diverse data and metadata. It will cover clinical, neuroimaging, behavioral, biochemical, metabolomic, genetic, and cellular morphological data on the SysMedPD cohorts, in vitro cultures and humanized mice. Also computationally generated data and metadata will be generated by biomolecular network reconstruction.
Venkata Satagopam is a scientist in the LCSB Bioinformatics Core group.
He has extensive experience in (bio)medical databases, web-based infrastructure, text mining, data curation, integration, hosting, analytics and visualisation of clinical and multi omics data.
Main tasks in the project
Coordination and implementation of the research data management plan in SysMedPD.
Dr. Ines Thiele
Dr. Ines Thiele is the Principal Investigator of the LCSB Molecular Systems Physiology group.
Dr. Jasmin Sinha
Dr. Jasmin Sinha is a project coordinator at LCSB.
She will be offering general administrative and legal support in SysMedPD.
Dr. Sabine Mosch
Dr. Sabine Mosch heads the Communication Team at LCSB.
She manages all activities related to external and internal communication, as well as event management. Thanks to her international research experience in Neuroscience she can translate complex scientific results into stories understandable and of interest to the general public.
Paul Antony is operationally responsible for High Content Screening at the LCSB.
His work is the development of automated microscopy workflows and image analysis algorithms for WP2.