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Research on Biomedicine

 

 

Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine: Accelerating Biomedicine

The Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) is an interdisciplinary research centre at the University of Luxembourg. It accelerates biomedical research by closing the link between systems biology and medical research. Collaboration between biologists, medical and computer scientists, physicists, engineers and mathematicians offers insights into complex systems like cells, organs and organisms. These findings are essential for understanding principal mechanisms of disease pathogenesis and developing new tools in diagnostics and therapy.

 

 

Focus on Parkinson’s disease and Metabolism

Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease are at the focus of LCSB’s research. According to founder and director Prof. Rudi Balling, the team aims to dissect how genetic and environmental factors lead to the development of the disease, thereby developing the foundations for future approaches in personalised medicine: “We are interested in deciphering details of cellular metabolism and their contribution to human health and disease. We combine wet-lab experiments with bioinformatics and metabolic which enables the analysis and simulation of metabolic dynamics and profiles and hence the identification of novel drug targets.”

With the help of integrated molecular analysis, the LCSB obtains unprecedented understanding of mixed microbial communities, their interactions with the environment and how their disturbance can contribute to diseases. The LCSB also applies computational and mathematical methods to understand how molecular networks control biological processes and how aberrant phenotypes and human diseases arise from perturbations of such networks. The Bioinformatics Core Facility hosts the largest data centre in Luxembourg’s academic sector.

 

 

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Innovation strategy: Contribution to economic growth

Founded in 2009, the LCSB is composed of 220 members. Research is funded by the Fonds National de la Recherche, the European Union and international funding agencies. Since 2009 more than 30 Mio. € have been raised in competitive grants, and more than 230 peer-reviewed articles have been published.

To contribute to the economic growth of Luxembourg, the LCSB pursues a comprehensive innovation strategy. Rudi Balling: “We foster collaboration with industrial partners and translate fundamental research results into clinical applications.” The strategy also comprises a portfolio of 12 patents and has created 3 spin-off companies.

 

National Centre of Excellence in Research on Parkinson's Disease

The National Centre of Excellence in Research on Parkinson's Disease (NCER-PD) research programme aims at improving the diagnosis and stratification of Parkinson's disease (PD) by combining detailed clinical and molecular data of patients to develop novel disease biomarker signatures. The ultimate goal is to diagnose PD at an earlier stage and with a higher specificity than is currently possible.

To this end the LCSB collaborates with clinicians and scientists from the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg (CHL), the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) and the Integrated Biobank of Luxembourg (IBBL) to establish a state-of-the-art PD cohort in which participants are both clinically and molecularly characterised in detail.

We also collaborate with international groups to include their cohorts and data into our research. Based on the clinical and molecular data, we use machine learning and computational modelling methods to understand the underlying mechanisms of PD pathogenesis and to identify and validate PD biomarker signatures.

 

Big Data in Health Care

Many clinical trials have been performed for drug research over the years. They have generated huge collections of data, however with almost no compatibility between them. Yet, lying dormant within them are valuable clues for new therapeutic approaches, waiting to be discovered – if only we could make the data comparable and interpretable.

Bioinformatics Core, led by Dr. Reinhard Schneider, is helping to uncover this treasure of knowledge. They provide the scientific and technical requirements for this task and get involved in research projects from an early stage. Preferably already in the first planning phase of the experiments, in the design of the data structures and ultimately to ensure that the infrastructure, such as data storage and compute power, is available to run the analyses smoothly.

Recently, they founded the spin-off Information Technology for Translational Medicine (ITTM S.A.) that enables industry and academic clients to leverage on their data and pave the way for an implementation of 'Big Data in Health Care'.

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