FNR CORE grants - valuable third-party funding for three research groups at LIH

2015 - 12- 08

FNR CORE grants - valuable third-party funding for three research groups at LIH

The National Research Fund Luxembourg (FNR) finances multi-annual thematic research programs with its central funding instrument CORE. This year, 31 projects have been selected by international expert committees. Three projects submitted by Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) received the third-party funding.

Discover below what these projects are about:

FNR ATTRACT fellow Prof Dirk Brenner, leading the Experimental and Molecular Immunology research group at LIH’s Department of Infection and Immunity, is one of the successful applicants. His CORE project will investigate antioxidant pathways in the context of inflammatory autoimmune diseases. ‘Increased levels of reactive oxygen species are often found in inflammatory diseases, which indicates a disturbed cellular redox state,’ tells Prof Brenner. ‘Our project aims to evaluate the possibility of an anti-inflammatory treatment strategy by interfering with reactive oxygen species-signalling mainly in T cells. We will use a combination of genetic and pharmacological approaches in rodent disease models that are relevant for human autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, to target redox homeostasis,’ he explains further. The CORE grant will cover one of Prof Brenner’s central projects and should help to position his group in the research field targeting severe inflammatory disorders.

For Dr Mahesh Desai, who started his work only two months ago at LIH in the Department of Infection and Immunity, the acceptance of his CORE grant application was excellent news. ‘This funding is an important stepping stone for me to develop a new line of research at the institute’, he states. Dr Desai’s work focuses on the connection of dietary fibre to intestinal diseases in the context of the gut microbiome. ‘My hypothesis is that fibre-deprived gut microbiota triggers inflammatory immune responses and renders the human host more susceptible to infection by gastrointestinal pathogens,’ he explains. With the help of a rodent model, he and a PhD candidate who can be hired thanks to the funding, will investigate amongst others how a fibre-deprived gut microbiota leads to enhanced inflammatory responses by eroding the colonic mucus layer.

Prof Bruno Domon, head of LIH’s Proteomics research group at the Department of Oncology and laureate of the FNR PEARL programme in 2010, now received a CORE grant for his innovative project named RESIST. He explains the project goal: ‘We purpose to develop mass spectrometry-based tools for time-resolved analyses of dynamic signalling pathways. Our approaches rely on the novel mass spectrometry methodology named parallel reaction monitoring, which we will use in conjunction with internal standards. The techniques will allow us to detect early perturbations of pathways indicative of drug resistance in model cell lines.’ Prof Domon is enthusiastic that the newly developed method, which is easily scalable, will be more broadly applicable to study the dynamics of biological processes when very precise measurements are required.