IMPRiND Project

Our consortium

Academia
EFPIA
Research Institute
SME
University of Oxford
University
H. Lundbeck A/S
Copenhagen
University of Cambridge
Cambridge
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
Cambridge
Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens
University Medical Center Göttingen
Université de Bordeaux
Aarhus Universitet
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Paris
Institut de Recherches Servier – IdRS
Croissy-sur-Seine
University of Dundee
VIB Center for the Biology of Disease
Leuven
Deutsches Zentrum fur Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen
Tübingen, Munich
Janssen Pharmaceutica NV
Beerse
AbbVie Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG
Ludwigshafen
Ely Lilly Ltd.
Windlesham
EFPIA
Novartis
Basel
SCIPROM
St-Sulpice
The IMPRiND consortium is uniquely positioned to deliver the project objectives as it combines some of the world-leading laboratories in this area of research with access to state of the art academic and industry facilities. Our expertise spans both Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases, with focused complementary interests in all the relevant areas (e.g. biophysical characterisation of proteopathic assemblies; cellular mechanisms of protein propagation, secretion and degradation; iPSC and organotypic cultures; fly and zebrafish genetics; animal models; drug discovery).

It comprises 18 partners in 7 European countries, including 6 universities, 5 research centres, 6 pharmaceutical companies and 1 SME specialised in scientific project management.

In addition, two non-European institutions are involved in the consortium: Harvard Medical School and Hamad Bin Khalifa University.
Oxford, United Kingdom
Academia
The University of Oxford (UOXF) is consistently ranked among the top five multidisciplinary Universities worldwide with one of the best biomedical research campuses. Its Medical Science faculty was ranked first in the UK with a £350 million research income in 2014/15 alone.

UOXF is the coordinator of IMPRIND and contributes to the following aspect of the project:
  • Data Management, curation and dissemination (WP5 co-leader).
  • Cellular assays of misfolded protein propagation and clearance and mechanistic studies (WP2).
  • Validation of targets that regulate synuclein levels in iPSC-derived dopaminergic neurons (WP4).
Associate Professor of Neurology at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences. His research focuses on molecular mechanisms of alpha-synuclein clearance and proteotoxicity. He is also a Consultant Neurologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital, leading regional multidisciplinary clinics in Movement and Neurogenetic disorders.
Associate Director and Principaé Investigator runs the life/biomedical group at OeRC, seats on the ELIXIR-UK Executive Board and is consultant for Springer and Nature.
Copenhagen, Denmark
EFPIA
H. Lundbeck A/S (HLU) is a global fully integrated pharmaceutical company including research, clinical development and marketing. HLU’s research and development (R&D) efforts are dedicated to creating new and innovative pharmaceuticals for the treatment of brain disorders. With around 1000 employees in R&D and an annual turnover of ~ 13.5 billion DKK. HLU is one of the World’s leading pharmaceutical companies specialized in central nervous system disorders.

HLU is the IMI project leader of IMPRIND and contributes to the following aspect of the project:
  • Characterization of protein assemblies (fibrils) in an in vivo PD model (WP2)
  • Cross-lab validation of selected in vitro assays and genetic screening in PD in vitro models (WP3).
  • Validation of selected targets by adenoviral knock-down in a PD in vivo model (WP4).
Principal Scientist, with more than 15 years of experience within life science and neurodegenerative disorders and highly experienced in setting up methodologies to facilitate drug discovery and development, has been project leader at a number of early projects at H. Lundbeck.
Cambridge, UK
Academia
University of Cambridge (UCAM) is one of the top five multidisciplinary universities world-wide with a long history of discovery in biomedical research. The Clifford Allbutt Building is a translational neuroscience institute part of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences with expertise in spinal cord injury, stroke, head injury, AD, HD, PD.

UCAM investigates the propagation of proteopathic assemblies in human IPSC-derived neurons and other neuronal cells using microfluid and transwell systems (WP2 and 4).
Professor of Molecular Neurology in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at UCAM, she was elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2010 and Fellow of the Royal Society, London in 2013. She has received several awards including the Potamkin Prize of the American Academy of Neurology and the Van Andel Prize for outstanding achievements in Parkinson’s disease.
Cambridge, UK
Research Institute
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) is a world-class research laboratory, dedicated to understanding important biological processes at the molecular level. LMB seeks to understand the structures of molecules and molecular machines as well as their fates and functions within cells, and how these contribute to the workings of complex systems, such as the brain, and to problems of human health and disease.

LMB develops standardized tools and assays for alpha-synuclein and tau aggregation, and generates clonal cell lines that express aggregated tau for the purposes of producing homotypic tau preparations for in vitro seeding and other studies (WP2).

is a molecular neurobiologist with many years of experience in the study of the molecular underpinnings of common human neurodegenerative diseases, with a particular emphasis on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Society of London.
Athens, Greece
Research Institute
Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA) consists of 3 Research Institutes, two of which, the Centre for Experimental Surgery and Translational Research and the Centre for Basic Research contribute to IMPRIND by providing a leading base for neurobiology research into neurodegenerative disorders.

BRFAA studies secreted α-synuclein in the interstitial fluid of mouse models (WP2 and 4), elucidates the role of exosome-associated α-synuclein in the propagation of α-synuclein pathology (WP2), and generates AAV viruses and lentiviruses to express genes in the autophagy pathway and validate selected targets in vivo (WP4)

Associate Professor with >10-year experience in the department of Basic Sciences, BRFAA and visiting Professor in the Department of Experimental Medicine at Oxford University. Professor of Neurology in the Second Department of Neurology of the Medical School of the University of Athens, Head of the Outpatient Clinic of Memory and Movement Disorders at the “Attikon” Hospital and Collaborating Scientist at the BRFAA with >15-year experience.
Göttingen, Germany
University
University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG-GOE) is a leading research institution with a strong history of EU-funded projects. The Department of Neurodegeneration and Restorative Research is internationally recognized for their work in neurodegeneration.

UMG-GOE manages the use of BiFC models of α-synuclein and Tau oligomerization (WP2) and contributes to the miniaturization of screening assays for primary genetic and pharmacological screens.

Director of the Department of Neurodegeneration and Restorative Research, will lead the project at UMG-GOE and directly supervise the postdoctoral researcher that will be appointed to perform the experiments.
Bordeaux, France
Academia
University of Bordeaux (UBX) features the Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases that focuses on Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases. It conducts both preclinical and clinical studies for the development of new therapeutic (symptomatic and disease-modifying) approaches of neurodegenerative disorders by facilitating the translational research from bench to bedside.

UBX is IMPRIND’s ethic manager and leader of WP4. Its contribution includes implementation of transdifferentiation of fibroblasts into neurons with development of non-human primate model of tau propagation and degeneration (WP4) and establishment of neuronal models of early proteotoxicity using neurite arborisation as a readout (WP2).

INSERM Research Director, head of the Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases, has co-authored over 220 peer-reviewed publications and is listed in the Top 1% of the most cited neuroscientists (H factor= 62). He is particularly known for his work in non-human primates.
Aarhus, Denmark
Academia
The Neurodegenerative Disease Laboratory is part of the Dandrite, the Danish Research Institute of Translational Neuroscience located in the Department of Biomedicine at Aarhus Universitet (AU). A major focus of the group is α-synuclein, which is thought to be the main culprit in PD pathogenesis. The investigations are conducted at molecular, cellular and in rodents and involves heavily on international collaborations. The laboratory provide a training ground in Neurosciences for pre- and postdoctoral students from Denmark and abroad supported by grants from the European Union, USA, Denmark, and International Non-Profit Foundations.

AU develops and validates cellular assays based on cell lines and primary cultures of rodent neurons that characterize the early phase when cells has taken-up prion-like misfolded a-synuclein aggregates and starts to generate and build-up intracellular a-synuclein aggregates. With a focus on the changes in cytosolic calcium levels and their use to monitor the early degenerative phase (WP2)

Professor of Medical Biochemistry with > 20 years experience at AU. He has published extensively in the field of molecular mechanisms of alpha-synuclein pathobiology. He is also collaborating with pharma companies and serves as consultant for the Michael J Fox Foundation consortium investigating alpha-synuclein.
Paris, France
Research Institute
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) is the largest governmental research organisation in France and the largest fundamental science agency in Europe. The Life Sciences Institute weights 30% of the CNRS with over 300 research units.

CNRS co-leads WP2 that aims to develop screening assays for alpha-synuclein and tau propagation and contributes by the generation and characterization of disease-relevant fibrils; establishing in vitro amplification methods and document propagation, post-translational modifications and cellular responses. CNRS will also contribute to the target validation (WP4).

First class Director of Research at CNRS, is active in the prion field since 1999. He demonstrated that fibrillar huntingtin and alpha-synuclein assemblies propagate from cell to cell in a prion like manner. He established a structure-function relationship for distinct synucleinopathies.
Dundee, United Kingdom
Academia
The Drug Discovery Unit is an academic drug discovery unit based at the University of Dundee (DUNDEE) operating like a biotech company but within a university. It has significant expertise in the pharmaceutical industry, can perform early stage drug discovery from target validation to pre-clinical candidate stage and has the expertise in small molecule and fragment-based drug discovery and work across a portfolio of therapeutic areas by collaborating with academic researchers nationally and internationally.

DUNDEE contributes to the assessment of target druggability (WP3).

Prof. Paul Wyatt is the head of the Drug Discovery Unit. Professor Wyatt is a medicinal chemist with 23 years’ experience of drug discovery within the pharmaceutical industry, where he worked for Beecham, SmithKlineBeecham, GSK and Astex Therapeutics.
Leuven, Belgium
Research Centre
VIB Center for the Biology of Disease (VIB) is a life sciences research institute, based in Flanders, Belgium. Its mission is to perform frontline research, addressing significant questions and key issues relevant to major human health challenges. VIB focuses on basic molecular and cellular mechanisms by using the power of modern genetics and genomics as well as molecular, cellular and developmental biology.

VIB develops the Drosophila tau propagation model to identify genetic modifiers (WP2) and creates animal models of propagation integrating transplanted iPSC-derived neurons for validation (WP4).

Head of the Laboratory for the Research of Neurodegenerative Diseases and director of VIB. His scientific work is focused on the understanding of the fundamental mechanisms that underlie Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Head of the Laboratory for Neuronal Communication and director of VIB, he has made contributions to our understanding of synaptic function in health and neurodegenerative disease, focusing on key proteins, lipids and mitochondria that regulate synaptic activity and how these molecules and organelles are misregulated in Parkinson’s disease.
Tübingen – Munich, Germany
Research Centre
The German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) is a member of the Helmholtz Association dedicated to neurodegenerative diseases aiming at developing new preventive and therapeutic approaches. At DZNE fundamental research is closely related to clinical research, population studies and health care research by bringing together excellent scientific expertise all over Germany and following an interdisciplinary research approach.

DZNE co-Lead WP3, focusing on cellular assays using neuronal precursor cells derived from distinct areas of the foetal brain with genotyped tau H1/H2 haplotypes. It generates target list; ioinformatics; iPS based confirmation of hits confirmation; transcriptomics in iPS after pertubation Tau measurement on the Simoa platform (WP2, WP4) and standardizes the use of organotypic slice culture for the induction and propagation of pathogenic synuclein aggregates (WP4).

Prof. Mathias Jucker is a senior scientist and department head with expertise in cellular neurology with special expertise in preclinical aspects of cerebral proteopathies. is a senior scientist with strong expertise in both clinical and basis aspects of synucleinopathies and tauopathies.
is a senior scientist and speaker of DZNE Tuebingen with expertise in human genetics, genomics and cellular screening.

Beerse, Belgium
EFPIA
Janssen Pharmaceutica NV (Janssen) is a pharmaceutical company affiliated with the Johnson & Johnson Group, global market leader in healthcare products. Janssen is one of the most innovative pharmaceutical companies in the world, invests around $4.5 billion in research & development annually and is a top 10 company in global pharmaceutical sales.

Janssen contributes to analysis, cellular amplification and analysis of the AD and PSP derived Tau seeds in vitro and in vivo (WP2) and targets the validation using in vitro models (WP4).

Dr. Diederik Moechars
Research Director, with over 15 years of experience within neuroscience and more specifically Alzheimer ́s disease and highly experienced in running drug discovery projects from target identification to NME delivery and providing biology support up to Phase II at Janssen.
Ludwigshafen, Germany
EFPIA
AbbVie Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG is a fully owned subsidiary of AbbVie, Inc. located in Abbott Park, Illinois, US. AbbVie is a biopharmaceutical company operating worldwide with research in different therapeutic areas, e.g. immunology, oncology and neuroscience. The Neuroscience Discovery department has its main research facilities in Ludwigshafen, Germany. The research activities have a focus on disease modifying therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and Multiple sclerosis.

AbbVie co-leads WP2, supports the development and characterization of a DrosophilaTau propagation model and participates in the cross-validation of Tau material generated in WP2 using in vitropropagation assays. In addition, AbbVie targets validation using in vivo rodent studies (WP4) as well as data management, exploitation, dissemination and communication (WP5).

Dr. Thomas R Jahn
Lab Head Neuroscience Discovery, IMPRiND WP2 co-lead, Dr. Thomas R Jahn is a structural and molecular neurobiologist with an strong expertise in protein folding/misfolding and neurodegenerative disease.

Dr. Michaela Heimann
Basel, Switzerland
EFPIA
Novartis is a multinational pharmaceutical company based in Basel, Switzerland aiming at discovering and developing breakthrough treatments and finding new ways to deliver them to as many people as possible. Novartis has a strong commitment to fighting psychiatric and neurodegenerative including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We are collaborating with Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in the U.S., leading the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative, to explore two new disease-modifying compounds for people at risk of developing AD.

Novartis co-leads WP3 and creates list of potential targets for high throughput cellular screening; miniaturizing assays and generates focused genetic libraries; performing focused genetic screens; assessing toxicity, cellular response and druggability of hits; and integrating bioinformatics, annotation and data.

Fiona Elwood
Fiona Elwood is Head of Neurodegeneration at Novartis, Boston. She is a PhD Biologist with 10 years of drug discovery experience in neuroscience and immunology with a focus on target validation, lead identification/optimization and biomarker discovery for both small and large molecule programmes.
Croissy s/ Seine, France
EFPIA
Servier is a global pharmaceutical company with active CNS programs in the clinic and research focusing on proteinopathies, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Servier co-leads WP4, develops zebrafish models in AD and PD and validation of newly identified targets (WP4) and implements transdifferentiation protocols to model AD (WP2).

Dr. Esther Schenker
Project Director in the Department of Neuropsychiatry with experience in academia and pharmaceutical industry, and 15 years in drug discovery with focus on cerebral ischemia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Windlesham, UK
EFPIA
Eli Lilly and Company is the 10th largest pharmaceutical company in the world, with headquarters located in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A.
Lilly’s Erl Wood Research Centre in Windlesham, Surrey, UK which opened in 1967, was the first and is now the largest research site outside of the U.S, and has played a key role in some of the company’s most important scientific breakthroughs. The site has become a centre of excellence in neuroscience research.
Our research teams continue the quest for new medicines for neurodegenerative disorders, cognitive diseases and pain.
The Lilly Neurodegenerative Disease program at Erl Wood is primarily focused on the discovery of disease modifying therapies for Alzheimer’s disease. Current research areas include Tau and Neuroimmunology targets, leveraging local internal expertise.

Lilly characterizes and amplifies disease-relevant proteopathic assemblies (WP2), integrates bioinformatics, annotation and data (WP3), and establishes complex models for tau propagation and prioritize animal models for screen validation (WP4) .

Dr. Suchira Bose
Principal Research Scientist at Lilly, project leader for tau and α-synuclein related discovery programs, she has a background in protein folding/ mis-folding and molecular chaperones, 15 years of experience in neurodegeneration research and drug discovery, expertise in pre-clinical models and target validation.
St-Sulpice, Switzerland
SME
Founded in 2005, SCIPROM is an SME specialised in the management of collaborative research projects. SCIPROM supports coordinators from the first project idea to the final report, in project set-up, negotiation, management and communication. At present, SCIPROM has 5 employees.
SCIPROM is part of the Executive Committee and contributes to Project Management, Communication and Dissemination:
  • Project office, contact point and support for the coordinator and all partners of the consortium

  • Contractual, financial and legal management (Consortium Agreement, EU contract negotiations and amendments, IPR issues, supervision of financial reporting and auditing)

  • Scientific editing, compilation of scientific and financial reports, collection of audit certificates

  • Co-organisation of project meetings and workshops/satellite events

  • Communication: Creation and maintenance of the project website; project brochure

Senior Project Manager, co-founder and executive director of SCIPROM. Responsible for the management of Swiss and international (EU FP 4-8) research projects. She is a senior scientist in biophysical chemistry and has extensive knowledge of research policies and administration.
Senior Project Manager and Webmaster, co-founder & technical director of SCIPROM. He is a physical chemist and senior scientist, with extensive experience in research management and, IT.
Financial Officer. She is a highly qualified accountant with sound experience in financial management of FP6, FP7 and H2020 projects.
Designer. Holding a Master in Social Sciences, he is a communication expert and an experienced web and print designer.
Project Manager. Food industry engineer with substantial experience in quality control, project management and legal matters.

This project receives funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 116060. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and EFPIA.

This work is supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education‚ Research and Innovation (SERI) under contract number 17.00038.

The opinions expressed and arguments employed herein do not necessarily reflect the official views of these funding bodies.