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LCSB researchers partner in successful DFG project on epilepsy

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Published on Thursday, 07 December 2017

Researchers from the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine, together with their collaborators in Germany and Norway have formed the Research Unit “Epileptogenesis of Genetic Epilepsies”, coordinated by Holger Lerche from the University of Tübingen.

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) support this consortium through a joint funding scheme. Roland KRAUSE and Alexander SKUPIN at the University of Luxembourg will receive 899000 EUR (link https://www.fnr.lu/news/luxembourg-partners-in-successful-dfg-research-unit/) for three years through the FNR INTER programme for their contribution to this international project.

The DFG press release can be found here:

 

What are there going to work on?

Epilepsy is a neurological syndrome defined by recurring seizures. The researchers from Tübingen, Bonn, Cologne, Kiel, Oslo, and Luxembourg will investigate genetic variants that trigger epileptogenic processes in the developing brain and how they contribute to the age-dependent manifestation of epileptic seizures.

Some types of epilepsy are inherited and many genes involved in epilepsy have been identified in recent years by genetics research. The changes in the brain associated with genetic epilepsies are not fully understood due to the complex interplay of the diverse brain cells in space and time. The development of experimental techniques, notably single-cell RNA sequencing, now allow to take a glimpse at the developing brain in model organisms and the changes arising from particular genetic variants.

 

Activities of the Research Unit in Luxembourg

The project will synergize with already ongoing research at the University of Luxembourg and exploit the expertise in big data handling, genetic analysis and single cell techniques. Within the newly established consortium, the researchers will focus on the prediction of novel genes and the underlying molecular mechanisms of the development of epilepsy eventually paving the way for new treatments.

Based on the long-standing experience in hosting and analyzing genetic data from epilepsy patients, Dr. Roland KRAUSE from the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) will organize the data management of the whole research unit and lead a project on gene identification by genetic data integration. Dr. Alexander SKUPIN, head of the Integrative Cell Signaling group at LCSB, will study brain cell and gene activity during epileptogenesis in zebrafish models that allow for mechanistic analyses of disease mechanisms at the single cell resolution and are a key model organism in epilepsy research.

 

About the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Research Units

The DFG is the self-governing organization for science and research in Germany. It serves all branches of science and the humanities. Research Units provide the staff and material resources required for carrying out intensive, medium-term cooperative projects (generally six years). Research Units often contribute to establishing new research directions.

 

About the INTER programme: fostering international cooperation

The Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) is the main funder of research activities in Luxembourg. The FNR invests public funds and private donations into research projects in various branches of science and the humanities, with an emphasis on selected core strategic areas.

Furthermore, the FNR actively encourages collaborations of Luxembourgish researchers with their international colleagues. By a bilateral cooperation agreement with the DFG, the FNR wishes to enable projects with German partners through the INTER programme. The FNR has signed 18 bilateral and multilateral agreements to promote international cooperation.

Further information on their page: here