Main axes of research
The LCSB’s main focus lies in gaining a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying disease, with an emphasis on the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. New targets for prevention and intervention of neurodegenerative disease and disease pathogenesis will be analysed in the context of complex biological network composition and behaviour and interpreted as perturbations in the homeostasis of physiological networks. Mathematical descriptions of such networks will be generated and used for the modelling and simulation of how diseases develop and how they are influenced by genetic predisposition or by external environmental parameters, such as drugs, nutrition and life style.
A core area of the research is dedicated to Parkinson’s disease. Within a systems approach, genetic, molecular and cellular analysis will lead to direct clinical translation, enabled through collaboration with hospitals in Luxembourg and abroad. The detailed examination of pathways involved in Parkinson-related neurodegeneration, whole genome sequencing of families suffering from Parkinson disease, identification of anti-neuroinflammatory targets and the analysis of functional dynamics will offer new insights in the pathogenesis of the disease.
In our research programme, the experimental analysis of biological systems across different scales is fully integrated with the development of new technologies, i.e. in the area of high- throughput screening devices, single-cell analysis and in the field of mathematical and computational tools such as electronic patient records. The LCSB aims at a highly interdisciplinary environment at the interface of biology, medicine, mathematics and physics, combining biological experimentation with theoretical modelling.
Current research projects
The LCSB is currently part of a series of important projects
- Luxembourg Parkinson’s Study (NCER-PD[RS1] ) is a joint Parkinson's disease research program by all biomedical research partners in Luxembourg, has set itself the aim of finding new ways for an earlier diagnosis and better treatment against Parkinson’s disease. For this reason, people with and without Parkinson’s are invited to participate in the study.
- The LCSB hosts ELIXIR-LU, the Luxembourgish node of the European infrastructure for life science information ELIXIR, which focuses on long-term sustainability of tools and data for Translational Medicine.
- CONNECT project (Connecting neural networks: Nervous-system-on-Chip Technology). In this consortium, researchers hope to develop a nervous-system-on-a-chip which could be used to test new drugs against Parkinson's disease.
- CIRCLES is a EU-funded research project, in which the is responsible for the generation and analysis of metagenomic data from a variety of microbial reservoirs..
- The FAIRplus project [RS2] aims to develop tools and guidelines for making life science data FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). It aims to increase the discovery, accessibility and reusability of data from selected projects funded by the EU’s Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI), and internal data from pharmaceutical industry partners.
Resources and collaborations
The LCSB is an interdisciplinary team-based research centre on Campus Belval, where the following infrastructure is available:
- Lab environment responsive to present needs and capable to accommodate future demands
- Environment to foster interaction and team-based research
- Settings with appropriate balance between open and closed / wet and dry labs
- High content cell culture screening and imaging facility
- Metabolomics and Mass Spectrometry Platform
- Sequencing Platform
- The LCSB bioinformatics core facility, which offers access to high performance computing and large data storage
- A zebrafish platform for gene-function analysis and in vivo screening of small molecules
- A mouse facility to study gene-disease relationships in vivo
Products and services
The LCSB moved into its new building on Campus Belval in September 2011 in the House of Biohealth, and in 2014 into Biotech II. The infrastructure of the buildings include an administrative floor, experimental molecular and cellular biology laboratories, bioinformatics and computational biology offices and a datacenter and dedicated animal facilities.
Major partnerships and collaborations
Close collaboration with clinicians and patients are of utmost importance to the LCSB. Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease and description of diseases as networks are at the focus of the LCSB’s research. It aims to contribute to earlier diagnosis and personalised treatment, for instance through its coordinating role in the recently established National Centre of Excellence in Research on Parkinson’s Disease.
The LCSB promotes the translation of fundamental research results into (clinical) applications that can directly benefit the patients. Two examples are the recently launched projects: ParkinsonNet Luxembourg and pdp (Programme Démence Prévention) that focus on integrated care networks. Such networks allow the continuous improvement of the exchange between patients and different healthcare professionals, and ensure optimal treatment.
ParkinsonNet Luxembourg, modeled after the Dutch ParkinsonNet, aims to bring together healthcare professionals and facilitates Parkinson-specific specialisation, interdisciplinary collaboration and exchange of knowledge. Considering the many sides of Parkinson’s disease and the multitude of symptoms that vary from patient to patient, the treatment of the disease requires the interaction between doctors, therapists and many other healthcare professionals. It is thus important that occupational, speech and physical therapists, neurologists, neuropsychologists and researchers are working closely.
Pdp (Programme Démence Prévention) is a project financially supported by the Ministry of Health. It aims to efficiently reduce the risk of developing dementia and focuses on preventive measures for people suffering from mild cognitive impairment.
The LCSB also hosts the Luxembourgish node of ELIXIR, the European infrastructure for life science information. It aims to facilitate long-term access to those research data and to tools for scientists in both academia and industry. This will allow the reuse of previously generated translational data to address new research questions and dramatically save time and cost.
- 109 Researchers (Prof., ass. Prof., Post-docs, PhD)
- 60 Doctoral students and students
- 0 Engineers
- 29 Technicians
- 45 Other
- Life Sciences, health and biotechnology
Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB)
University of Luxembourg, Campus Belval, 7, avenue des Hauts-Fourneaux, L-4362 Esch-sur-Alzette
Phone: +352 46 66 44 64 23
Fax: +352 46 66 44 69 49
Dr SCHMITZ Sabine
Head of Communications
Phone: +352 46 66 44 64 23