Supporting the academic community and the new generation of researchers
MIRIADE (Multi-omics Interdisciplinary Research Integration to Address DEmentia) launched in November 2019 to train early-career scientists as experts in the effective development of novel biomarkers for dementia. It is part of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Program, the European Union’s flagship fellowship program. ENPICOM joined MIRIADE partners from Europe, North America, and Asia to support the next-generation researchers.
Addressing the dementia challenge
About 50 million people worldwide suffer from dementia. The deterioration of cognitive abilities impacts not only the patient but the patient’s family as well. Unfortunately, there are no reliable tests to detect the underlying pathophysiology before symptoms appear. MIRIADE aims to change that.
By bringing together scientists from academia, industry, and patient organizations, MIRIADE will produce a new generation of scientists specifically trained to optimize and accelerate the development of novel biomarkers for dementia and bring effective biomarker tools to the clinical setting.
Through a series of initial work packages, MIRIADE will equip young researchers with an exceptional combination of skills in big data analysis, biomarker assay development, innovation management, and a comprehensive understanding of medical needs. Additional work focuses on ethics, disseminating results, and continuing education in biomarker research. As part of their training, all researchers will be seconded to an industrial partner for a few months.
Supporting the academic community
ENPICOM’s unique, multi-disciplinary team works closely with academic research centers on a variety of immunomics projects to accelerate innovation. For this project, ENPICOM will have a researcher from VU Amsterdam join their team for 3-6 months. This industry-academic crossover will give the trainee a taste of working in the industry and will lead to interesting insights into the latest analysis methods and applications from both sides.
Prof. Dr. Sanne Abeln, Associate Professor of Bioinformatics & Systems biology at VU Amsterdam commented: “The ability to detect proteins (biomarkers) that can differentiate between health and disease in patients with neurodegenerative disease is essential for (early) diagnosis. Even though several candidate biomarkers have been found over the last five years, it is very difficult to make a detection protocol that is stable enough to apply in a clinic setting. Currently it is very difficult to predict which proteins may be the most successful biomarkers for detection. We hope to use several tricks from existing protein bioinformatics (machine learning) methods to select which proteins can be detected with high precision, and by which binding partners (antibodies). The expertise from ENPICOM in immunomics research will help to adapt existing algorithms for this purpose.”
Dr. Henk-Jan van den Ham, Senior Scientist at ENPICOM, commented: “The MIRIADE project applies to Alzheimer’s Disease research similar methods and techniques, such as big data analysis and biomarker identification, that we use at ENPICOM for immunomics research. Gaining depth and breadth in training prepares early-stage researchers to be future research leaders. We are excited to contribute to training tomorrow’s innovators.”
Partners in innovation
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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 860197.