Starting from scratch
All in for Parkinson’s disease
International networking and learning from the best helps LCSB to position itself and grow. And where better to start than with the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) in Seattle , one of the leading biomedical research centre. A knowledge transfer programme is set up to allow LCSB researchers to spend some time at the ISB, learn from their peers and bring back to Luxembourg the knowledge and know-how. Over the next years, similar programms and exchanges of talented young scientists will be set up with other international leading institutions such as the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, the Helmholtz Association, the Gladstone Institutes in California and the Systems Biology Institute in Tokyo.
Thinking ahead: the future of biomedicine
First in-house scientific conference
ATTRACTing funds for metabolomics
A new residence in Belval
The LCSB is moving into its new home: the “House of Biomedicine” on Campus Belval. The brand-new building - the first one on site for the University of Luxembourg - is bright, friendly and functional. A great environment to welcome our 7 research groups and 50 staff members. And it is located just next to the blast furnaces, a spectacular reminder of the industrial past of the site which will now be dedicated to research and higher education!
Here come the computer wizards
The LCSB gets its own Bioinformatics Core lead by Dr Reinhard Schneider, previously in charge of data integration and knowledge management at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory. This team of computer scientists and bioinformaticians helps to manage and analyse the huge amount of data produced in the labs. Computational science becomes one of the main pillar of the centre.
Diving into the world of microbes
With the arrival of Dr Paul Wilmes, a new ATTRACT fellow of the Fonds National de la Recherche, the LCSB dives into a novel field of study: the microbiome! His research group named “Eco-Systems Biology” studies microbial communities – from wastewater plants to the human gut – to better understand how they work and look for application in bioenergy and health.
The LCSB goes public
Gut on a chip
Royal guests in the labs
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg visit the LCSB. Prof. Balling guides the distinguished guests through the labs, explains the future of biomedical research and personalised medicine, and presents several of the team members of the young research centre. The LCSB often receives important guests such as national politicians and foreign delegations, and acts as showcase for biomedical research in Luxembourg.
Biomedical data - Joining the big league
Expanding and innovating
A natural antibiotic in the brain
The research project focusing on itaconic acid, a compound acting as a natural antibiotic in the brain of mammals, comes to fruition with the publication of a paper in PNAS, a high-impact scientific journal. The project involves several teams at the LCSB. Their collaborative work showed that mammalian cells produce itaconic acid, identified the enzyme involved as well as IRG1, the gene coding for it, and highlighted its role in the immune response.
Jump start for study on human metabolism
American prize for project on Alzheimer’s
Dr Enrico Glaab wins a public scientific challenge of the US Geoffrey Beene Foundation with an entirely novel research project on Alzheimer’s disease and gender. Strikingly in Alzheimer’s disease, elderly women are afflicted much more frequently than men, with about two third of the patients being female. This gender difference cannot be explained by the longer average lifespan of women alone. With his research on the topic, the LCSB scientist comes one step ahead of opponents from Harvard University and receives a 50.000 USD grant.
“De Labo fir Jonker” is born
The Scienteens Lab is officially inaugurated in the presence of their Royal Highnesses the Crown Prince Guillaume and the Crown Princess Stéphanie. This is the first students’ lab in Luxembourg, where high-school classes can experiment and discover the world of scientific research with the help of the LCSB team. The Scienteens Lab is under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Stéphanie of Luxembourg.
Exploring the genetic background of epilepsy
From bedside to bench and back
Together with the director of the LCSB, Prof. Rejko Krüger is coordinating the National Centre of Excellence in Research on Parkinson’s Disease (NCER-PD). The LCSB and three other Luxembourgish institutions join forces under this umbrella to work on early diagnosis and classification of Parkinson’s disease. This new flagship project strenghthens the LCSB focus on Parkinson’s disease and translational medicine. Prof. Krüger recently received a prestigious PEARL grant from the Fonds National de la Recherche and joined the LCSB as head of the Clinical & Experimental Neuroscience research group. He is researching the mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease while also treating patients at the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg. NCER-PD bridges the gap between the research lab and the clinic by going from the bedside to the bench and back.
Making research better
Very first step toward regenerative medicine
Opening of a second building
Powerful start for research on mitochondria and Parkinson’s
Of art and science
The first edition of Art2Cure – an art exhibition raising funds for biomedical research – is organised at the Kulturfabrik in Esch-sur-Alzette. Works by several Luxembourgish artists are displayed and the proceeds from the sales are invested in the National Centre of Excellence in Research on Parkinson’s Disease.
Taking the lead in European project
His Royal Highness Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg bestows upon LCSB director Rudi Balling the Ordre de Mérite du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg in recognition of his commitment to scientific research in Luxembourg.
Training the next generation
Microbiome and diabetes under the microscope
A collaboration between researchers from the LCSB, the Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg, the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg and the Centre Hospitalier Emile Mayrisch, sheds light on the links between bacteria of the gut and diabetes. Their study shows that the composition of the gut microbiota is similar between people with and without diabetes, but that there are clear differences in what the bacteria do. By adjusting the amounts of proteins or vitamins they produce, some once beneficial bacteria can become a health risk and exacerbate the course of the disease. These results are published in the high-impact journal Nature Microbiology.
Wheels for Parkinson
Thanks to a generous donation from the Fondation André and Henriette Losch, the Luxembourg Parkinson Study can now use a van equipped with a mobile laboratory unit to reach Parkinson’s patients who wish to participate in the study but who cannot travel easily. The “flying team” of the National Centre of Excellence in Research on Parkinson’s Disease can go to the participants and directly collect and store samples in the van: an important step for inclusion!
Neuropathology’s first step in Luxembourg
A node in a European research network
(Pillow) fighting Parkinson’s disease
Hundreds of visitors come to participate in the first giant public pillow fight organised by the LCSB and its partners to raise awareness about Parkinson’s disease and the research being conducted in the country. Pillows are flying in the air in front of the Grand-Ducal Palace to commemorate the daily fight patients put up against the disease!
Article number 500!
Raising the bar on the European stage
Associate professor Ines Thiele receives an “ERC starting grant” from the European Research Council (ERC), one of the most prestigious research subsidy in Europe. The head of the Molecular Systems Physiology group at the LCSB will receive 1.6 million euros to develop computer models helping with the personalisation of treatment strategies for different diseases.
Research, prevention and care
Brand-new group dedicated to environmental studies
A springboard for students and young researchers
The 50th doctoral student completing a PhD at the LCSB defends her thesis. Our research centre attaches great importance to the education of young scientists and attracts talented minds from all over the world. As the fiftieth “doctor of science” is leaving to pursue her career, the LCSB is welcoming about 20 new PhD candidates. They will fuel several research projects and learn their trade under the wing of senior scientists.
Award for project on Deep Brain Stimulation
“Mini-brains” in the lab
Top national prize
Joining hands with Japanese research
Investigating rare children diseases
Success for the Luxembourg Parkinson’s Study
Understanding the fate of our cells
The Computational Biology group lead by Prof. Antonio Del Sol publishes several articles in high-impact scientific journals such as Cell and Nature. This team of computer scientists focuses on understanding what drives cell identity and how to better control conversion toward specific cell types. International collaborations are developing fast in the field and the LCSB scientists are working with research institutions all over the world, including the Gladstone Institutes in America, the Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Italy, and the Research Centre CIC bioGUNE in Spain.
The LCSB turns 10 – Looking ahead
As the centre is celebrating a decade of research in Systems Biomedicine, it is also time to plan for the years to come. Our mission has not changed - understanding principal mechanisms of disease pathogenesis and developing new tools to prevent, diagnose and treat - but new ideas have come into play. Beside working on specific diseases, the LCSB will strengthen its existing activities to study comorbidities, the links between different disorders such as diabetes and neurodegeneration. To connect the dots!