International Cooperations between Centres of Excellence in neurodegenerative disease research

The CoEN initiative, launched in 2010, funds highly innovative research in the field of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementias and Parkinson’s disease. Under a call for proposals for collaborative research that will serve to underpin future studies, €3.7m has been awarded to eight new projects spanning the development of new disease models, the identification of biomarkers and the harmonisation of methodologies for clinical studies. These projects bring together a wealth of resources and expertise from a number of large research institutes in different countries to tackle scientific questions that are key to the advancement within the field.

The CoEN initiative is based on a joint programme initially agreed between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Deutsche Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen (DZNE, Germany) and the Medical Research Council (MRC, United Kingdom). The initiative was subsequently joined by the Flanders Institute of Biotechnology (VIB Flanders, Belgium), the Health Research Board (HRB), Ireland / Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), and the Ministero della Salute (MDS, Italy). The purpose of CoEN is to bring together leading international laboratories to undertake innovative research that will increase our understanding of how neurodegenerative diseases are triggered and progress, and accelerate the development of new approaches to treatment. Key to this will be the promotion of harmonised approaches and the sharing of resources across research groups within the participating national centres of excellence in neurodegeneration.

The funded projects are:

Standards for determining the vascular contribution to neurodegeneration
Joanna Wardlaw (MRC), Martin Dichgans (DZNE), Eric Smith (CIHR)

Integrated approach to identify novel genes for frontotemporal lobar degeneration
Marc Cruts (VIB), Christian Haass (DZNE), Dieter Edbauer (DZNE)

Mitochondrial dysfunction and susceptibility to Parkinson’s disease: New models of pathogenetic interactions
Donato A. Di Monte (DZNE), David S. Park (CIHR), Fabio Blandini (MDS), Anthony H.V. Schapira (MRC)

Early synaptic plasticity and network dysfunction in transgenic (tg) rat models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
Michael Rowan (HRB/SFI), Claudio Cuello (CIHR), Martin Fuhrmann (DZNE)

Immune subtype in Parkinson disease
Thomas Gasser (DZNE), Antonio P. Strafella (CIHR)

C. elegans models of mitochondrial deficiency in the nervous system
Daniele Bano (DZNE), Siegfried Hekimi (CIHR), Mario de Bono (MRC)

The GENetic Frontotemporal Dementia Initiative (GENFI): a new multi-centre platform for the study of frontotemporal lobar degeneration
Martin Rossor (MRC), Giovanni B. Frisoni (MDS), Torik Ayoubi (VIB), Mario Masellis (CIHR)

Identification of generic supressors of proteinopathies
David Rubinsztein (MRC), Joerg Gsponer (CIHR)

Contact information:
Prof. Pierluigi Nicotera
Scientific Director and Chairman of the Executive Board
German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)
Ludwig-Erhard-Allee 2
53175 Bonn, Germany
phone: + 49 228 43302-100

Dr. Katrin Weigmann
German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)
Press- and Public Relations
Holbeinstr. 13-15
53175 Bonn
phone: +49 228 43302 /263
mobile: +49 173 – 5471350

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