This project has received funding from the Horizon Europe Research and innovation funding programme under Grant Agreement Project 101079181 — SAME-NeuroID
HE Twinning project: SAME-NeuroID: Project summary
Project name: Standardized Approaches to Modeling and Examination of Neuropsychiatric Disorders
Project number: 101079181
The SAME-NeuroID project is a joint initiative of Łukasiewicz-PORT (Poland) and outstanding European neuroscience leaders: Paris Brain Institute (France), Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich (Germany), Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam (Netherlands) to accelerate the consortium’s positioning at the forefront of neuropsychiatric research.
The scientific focus of this initiative will include standardizing protocols for modeling neurobiological parameters associated with neuropsychiatric disorders, one of the most serious problems in modern society. An estimated 27% of the EU adult population suffers from at least one mental disorder, often throughout their lives. One reason for this overwhelming statistic is an inadequate understanding of the biological basis of psychiatric illnesses. Recent advances in epidemiological and genetic studies have opened up the possibility of exploring gene-mind relationships. To take full advantage of these findings, there is a fundamental and urgent need for unified, well-defined models to understand disease mechanisms and identify targets for new therapeutic strategies. The standarization of relevant models forms the core of research collaboration within the Twinning project.
The SAME-NeuroID platform, which will be developed with partners, will provide a strong foundation for the future design of new therapeutic strategies in psychiatric disorders.
In addition, the partners will undertake a series of joint initiatives:
- to exchange knowledge on technology transfer
- to support the development of young researchers
- to manage research excellence
- to disseminate key discoveries in the field
- to raise public awareness of mental health.
Łukasiewicz Research Network – PORT Polish Center for Technology Development
Witold Konopka – D hab. (Ph.D.) Principal Investigator, Head of the Neuroplasticity and Metabolism Research Group. We strive to define the precise mechanism that regulates peripheral metabolism by the brain. We focus on regulation of eating – especially the feeling of hunger and satiety.
Role in the project: Coordinator of the SAME-NeuroID
Michał Ślęzak, PhD – Principal Investigator, Head of Astrocytes Biology Research Group. The main focus is the role of astrocytes in neurophysiology and neuropathology. Combines advanced genetic manipulation of astrocytes with state-of-the-art methods to visualize the effects of interventions on metabolic and synaptic function of astrocytes in vitro and circuit-specific behavioral phenotypes relevant to psychiatric disorders.
Role in the project: Coordinator of Twinning research agenda at Łukasiewicz-PORT
Michał Malewicz, PhD – Director of the Life Science & Biotechnology Center, Head of Genome Dynamics Research Group. He conducts interdisciplinary research in the field of biological sciences, biotechnology and molecular medicine. The main areas of interest are DNA repair mechanisms, mutation fixation processes and evolution of the genome structure.
Role in the project: Leader of interdisciplinary research
Tomasz Prószyński, PhD – Principal Investigator, Head of Synaptogenesis Lab. He is interested in modeling neuropsychiatric disorders in mouse models and in cultured cells. His research focuses on the function of the Angiomotin family of proteins in the brain.
Role in the project: Leader of interdisciplinary research
Agnieszka Krzyżosiak – (PhD) Research Engineer, Research Group, interested in understanding how aged cells get prompt to neurodegeneration. We investigate the protein quality control pathways in human-relevant in vitro models as well as in vivo for improved translatability of our research.
Role in the project: “In vitro” task supervisor
Bartosz Zglinicki, PhD – Research Engineer, Post-doc. He focuses on creating tools and methods for reliable and unbiased analysis of animal behavior.
Role in the project: “In vivo” task supervisor
Katarzyna Kowal, PhD, Eng. – PORT Chief Technology Transfer, Areas of expertise and interest include materials science, biomedical engineering, biotech developments.
Role in the project: Technology Transfer
Beata Lubicka – International Project Acquisition, EU Research and Innovation Programmes.
Role in the project: Management and Administration
Role in the project: Event and Communication Coordinator
Paris Brain Institute (The Institut du Cerveau – ICM)
Bassem Hassan – Scientific Director
Role in the project: Member of the Steering Committee
Geraldine Gouzer – Director of Scientific and Medical Affairs
Role in the project: WP4 YOUNG INVESTIGATORS Leader
Cristina, De Lemos – ICM Program manager
Role in the project: WP4 YOUNG INVESTIGATORS Manager
Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry
Mathias Schmidt, PhD – Research Group Leader. The Schmidt Lab studies the behavioural, neuroendocrine and molecular basis of individual stress vulnerability and resilience.
Role in the project: Member of the Steering Committee
Miriam Lorenz – EU Consultant in MPI
Role in the project: MPG Project Contact
Steven Kushner, PhD – Full Professor
Role in the project: Member of the Steering Committee
Dr. Femke de Vrij, PhD – Associate professor
Role in the project: WP2 STANDARDS TOWARDS TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER – EXPLOITATION
SAME-NeuroID was created together with three recognized European research centers:
- Paris Brain Institute,
- Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich,
- Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam.
Has a leading/cordinating role
The Polish Center for Technology Development (Łukasiewicz-PORT) is a part of the Łukasiewicz Research Network (Łukasiewicz), which is one of the largest R&D networks in Europe. The mission of Łukasiewicz is to create a knowledge-based economy that drives value. Łukasiewicz-PORT was transformed into a public research institute in 2018 and immediately became one of the leading units of the Łukasiewicz Network in terms of size, resources, and perspectives. The development strategy of Łukasiewicz-PORT is built on four pillars: biotechnology, nanoengineering, commercialization, and IP protection, which together form the basis of the excellence center and a reference for national R&D units.
The Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière (ICM) is a private state-approved non-profit foundation. The ICM is dedicated to high-level neuroscience research and is located in the heart of the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital (AP-HP). The ICM is based on a partnership between the public and private sectors. In March 2011, the ICM signed an agreement with its academic partners AP-HP, CNRS, Inserm and the University of Paris Pierre and Marie Curie (UPMC) making resources available. Therefore the ICM gathered the critical mass in neurosciences in the same building and the academic research teams work with the same research objectives and in the framework of the same research orientation/strategy.
The Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry (MPI) is a scientific institute, one of the 81 institutes in the Max Planck Society, based in the city of Munich in Germany specializing in psychiatry. MPI’s goal is to gain new insights into the causes of psychiatric disorders through a uniquely close combination of basic research, clinical research and patient care, and to transform them into new diagnostic options and treatments and preventions. Stress and trauma-related illnesses, such as depression and anxiety disorders, are the focus of our research and our clinical treatment offerings.
Day in, day out, the people of Erasmus MC, volunteers and students work with passion and dedication to achieve everything we stand for: safe, first-rate healthcare for patients with complex issues, unusual conditions or acute needs. But we also stand for top-quality teaching that attracts ambitious, inquisitive and talented students and seeks to answer the healthcare questions of tomorrow. And we stand for world-class scientific research that bolsters our understanding of diseases and disorders and helps to predict, treat and prevent them.
Neuropsychiatric disorders are an increasing burden of modern societies. Recent report of World Health Organization informed that approx. 1 billion people live with mental disorder, with largest fraction suffering from anxiety and depressive disorders. This overwhelming number stems largely from the insufficient understanding of neurobiological mechanisms of the disease. Recent studies identified hundreds of genetic risk variants which, when coupled to environmental risk factors, cause discrete disease manifestations. The next step is to resolve the gene-physiology-behaviour relationship underlying individual symptoms. Laboratories around the world have developed various models to address this challenge. However, these tools are often site-unique and data are rarely comparable across research units. The heterogeneity of approaches hampers the development of novel therapies, since comprehensive and reliable target validation is a prerequisite for designing new therapeutic strategies.
Scientific aim of the project is to establish the platform of Standardized Approaches to Modelling and Examination of Neuropsychiatric Disorders (SAME-NeuroID) at Łukasiewicz- PORT. The platform will meet the market needs for a unified and well-defined set of tools with which to investigate the biological basis of mental disorders with high reliability and reproducibility, a prerequisite for early validation of targets. The components of the SAME-NeuroID platform will be two types of complementary assays covering key aspects of target validation: in vivo assays for evaluating social behaviour deficits in rodents, and in vitro assays for examining cellular phenotypes related to psychiatric diseases in the context of human neural cells.
Automated assay for label-free measure of complex social behaviors.
Animal studies are irreplaceable in investigating the relationship of dysfunction of specific brain microcircuits to behavioural manifestations of mental disorders. Animal models have suffered in the past from oversimplified extrapolation of observations in model systems to human-specific traits. However, the emergence of tools for quantitative and automated measure of traits can overcome the influence of bias originating from experimentator or specific approaches to data collection and/or analysis. A number of devices measuring specific behvaioral deficits were employed by consortium members. Within SAME-NeuroID, we will focus on experimental tools for measuring social behaviour, since deficits in this trait are a shared hallmark of various psychiatric conditions, such as autism spectrum disorders, depression and schizophrenia. Under the current collaboration, we will optimize a simple, affordable and efficient system for unbiased monitoring social behavior in rodents. Our setup will enable label-free registration of multiple animals in the home cage, followed by artificial intelligence-based analysis of complex behaviors. Crucial paramaters necessary for streamlining the process will be validated in wild-type and genetically modified animals of both genders, in order to facilitate broad adoption of the toolbox.
Robust assay for investigating human neuro-glia interaction.
The emergence of approaches based on human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) raises interest as a key driver for ‘personalized medicine’, since somatic cells for iPSC generation are obtained from the patients with defined medical history. These methods offer an unprecedented possibility to examine specific phenotypes of various types of neural cells related to disease in the context of human genetics. To date, a number of protocols has been published for generation of pure 2D cultures of iPSC-derived neurons or glia, a reductionistic approach to understand the biology of defined cell types. Continuous efforts are currently ongoing to ensure scalability of these methods and streamline the differentiation to achieve desired regional characterization (e.g. cortex, hypothalamus). Alternatively, iPSC can be steered to mimic the developmental sequelae of differentiation in mixed neuro-glial co-cultures, brain organoids and patterned organoids or assembloids, suitable for investigating complex cellular interactions. The main challenge with these tools remains their large degree of heterogeneity, albeit patterned organoids offer a more reproducible and less heterogenous in vitro model.
Within SAME-NeuroID we will validate scalable and reproducible model for investigating human neural cells dysfunctions related to psychiatric phenotypes. Based on a critical review of protocols available in partner laboratories we selected two protocols which offer high reproducibility, functional maturity of cells and screening capacity. During the project, we will share best practices in iPSC handling and differentiation to neural and glial lineages. Our strategy includes validation of cellular maturity and functionality (e.g. glutamate buffering for astrocytes; spontaneous neuronal activity in co-cultures, etc). Ultimately, we will establish standard operating protocols (SOPs) to be employed and validated in Łukasiewicz-PORT and across partner laboratories in the context of site-specific iPSC lines.
In summary, the SAME-NeuroID project shall enable establishing a novel toolbox at Łukasiewicz-PORT based on partners’ feedback and guidelines. Experimental data will form the basis for research articles and presentations on international scientific meetings. Furthermore, the established technology will be disseminated to reach additional R&D units and industrial entities for broadening the network of academic collaborators and increase the likelihood of being involved in innovative translation projects with various funding bodies.
On 7th October we hosted DR. ANNE BERTOLOTTI who delivered first of the twelve SCIENTIFIC SEMINARS scheduled.
Dr. Anne Bertolotti from Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology (MRC LMB) in Cambridge UK investigates the protein quality control systems in the aim to identify strategies preventing accumulation of aggregation-prone misfolded proteins in the cell. At Łukasiewicz – PORT, she gave a lecture on “Boosting protein quality control: A strategy against neurodegenerative diseases.” The meeting took place as part of the SAME-NeuroID project Standardized Approaches to Modelling and Examination of Neuropsychiatric Disorders financed by the Horizon Europe program.
After the Seminar Ann met with the group of young investigators to answer all difficult questions related to the bottlenecks in the young researchers’ career.
Venue: Łukasiewicz – PORT, str. Stabłowicka 147, 54-066 Wrocław
And Microsoft TEAMS platform
Neuropsychiatric diseases affect nearly one third of the European adult population. Existing therapies are largely suboptimal as we lack understanding of disease mechanisms, clearly underscoring the need for novel solutions. The scope of the EU-funded SAME-NeuroID is to support the research capacity of the Life Science and Biotechnology Centre (LS&BC) of the Łukasiewicz-PORT institute in Wrocław in Poland. The project constitutes a partnership with neuroscience centres in France (Paris Brain Institute), Germany (Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry), and the Netherlands (Erasmus University Medical Center), which will share knowledge and technology and undertake staff training. Collectively, these activities will render Łukasiewicz-PORT a neuroscience hub of excellence, increasing its future research prospects and international visibility.
1st day 11 January 2023
13.00 – 14.30 – Lunch
14:30 – 16:00 – WP1. Unified in vitro tools for SAME-NeuroID platform, in situ/on line Assumptions for the Research Strategy for the implementation of a new neuropsychiatric research platform
16:00 – 18:00 – WP1. Unified in vivo tools for SAME-NeuroID platform, in situ/on line Assumptions for the Research Strategy for the implementation of a new neuropsychiatric research platform
2nd day 12 January 20239:30 – 12:00 Project Management issues (Team Work, TTO engagement, events organization)
10:00 – 13:00 interviews for local TV
13:00 – Lunch
14:30 – End of the meeting
The five young researchers from Łukasiewicz – PORT will participate in the Brain to Market Summer School organised by Paris Brain Institute (ICM)
On March 16th 2023 took place the Senior Staff Training titled “How to improve successful participation in European R&I funding programmes” dedicated to preparing projects for competitions organized as part of Horizon Europe. The invited expert – Prof. Lucyna Woźniak, Vice-Rector for Research Strategy and International Relations, Medical University of Lodz, was our expert and lead Q&A session. We invited all Leaders of the Research Groups in Łukasiewicz – PORT to participate and share their concepts for the new projects.
Consortium agreement signed!
Łukasiewicz-PORT today signed a consortium agreement under the Horizon Europe Widera – Twinning Actions program. Our partners are the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry MPI (Munich), the Erasmus Medical Center EMC (Rotterdam) and the Paris Brain Institute ICM (Paris). The idea for the project was born during the 1st PORT FOR HEALTH: NEUROSCIENCE conference, held at the Łukasiewicz-PORT campus in Wroclaw, October 15-17, 2021. Among many great neuroscientists, we hosted Dr. Bassem Hassan of ICM, Dr. Mathias Schmidt of MPI and Dr. Steven Kushner of EMC, who gave inspiring talks. Shortly after the conference, a consortium was formed to leverage the potential of the Life Science and Biotechnology Center of the Łukasiewicz-PORT through a joint project focused on developing the SAME-NeuroID platform for unified models of neuropsychiatric phenotypes. We are very much looking forward to the cooperation, which has now officially started!
We meet in Cracow!
Several leaders of the SAME-NeuroID project met at the Neuronus 2022 Neuroscience Forum in Cracow, Poland. Dr. Mathias Schmidt gave an insightful Keynote Lecture on the influence of genetic and environmental factors on stress resilience. During the meeting, Dr. Michał Ślęzak chaired the session „Astrocytes”, Dr. Agnieszka Krzyżosiak chaired the session „Mitochondrial Dysfunctions in Neurological Disorders”, while Dr. Bartosz Zglinicki gave a talk „Simplified approach to analyze data from automated T-maze and to characterize behavior with deep learning”. In the energetic atmosphere of this vivid meeting, our scientists, led by Dr. Witold Konopka, discussed the SAME-NeuroID research strategy with Dr. Schmidt and other neuroscience leaders such as Dr. Florian Engert (Harvard University), Dr. Valery Grinevych (University of Heidelberg) and Dr. Suzana Herculano-Houzel (Vanderbilt University).
- Witold Konopka – Project Coordinator
tel.: +48 725 259 049
- Michał Ślęzak – Scientific Coordinator
tel.: +48 510 132 460
- Marta Małolepsza – Event & Communication Manager
- Beata Lubicka – Management and Administration
tel.: +48 727 665 560