31 December 2015

Funding award for Centres of Excellence in Neurodegenerative Disease Research

The Centres of Excellence in Neurodegenerative disease (CoEN) initiative, launched in 2010, funds collaborative research in the field of neurodegenerative disease, spanning age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Motor Neuron Disease. Under the third CoEN funding call, £3.6m (€4.9m, CA$7.4m) has been awarded for 11 international ‘Pathfinder’ projects, constituting innovative and creative proof of principle studies which, if successful, will provide a step change in neurodegeneration research.

The awarded projects take a ‘high risk, high pay-off’ approach to identify and validate new potential drugs and develop innovative therapeutic approaches for the dementias. These projects bring together a wealth of resources and expertise from a number of research centres of excellence in different countries to tackle scientific questions that are vital to advancement within the field.

The number of excellent quality proposals that were a good fit to the call exceeded the funds available. Of the 11 awards, 7 involve MRC-supported Centres of Excellence (units and centres).

The funded projects are:

  • Towards a unifying theory of Parkinson’s disease: Investigation of the biochemical and genetic role of Rab GTPases
    Dario Alessi (UK), Miratul Muqit (UK), Thomas Gasser (Germany)
  • Protection of neurons in vitro and in vivo from Synuclein toxicity by molecular tweezers
    Erwan Bezard (France), Carlos Matute (Spain), Richard Wade-Martins (UK)
  • Decoding Presymptomatic white matter changes in Huntington Disease (WIN-HD)
    Alexandra Durr (France), Sarah Tabrizi (UK)
  • Synaptic correlates of learning and memory dysfunction analysed by super-resolution STED microscopy in the hippocampus in vivo
    Martin Fuhrmann (Germany), Daniel Choquet (France)
  • GWAS in AD: focus on microRNA
    Sébastien Hébert (Canada), Jean-Charles Lambert (France), Luc Buée (France)
  • BAFF/APRIL in the central nervous system
    Bertrand Huard (France), Stefan Lichtenthaler (Germany)
  • Therapeutic targeting of impaired lysosomal flux in Alzheimer’s disease
    Cora O’Neill (Republic of Ireland), Rebecca Sims (UK)
  • Novel control of MT5-MMP on amyloidogenic and inflammatory pathways: validation in human iPSCs from Alzheimer patients and potential therapeutic perspectives
    Santiago Rivera (France), Alexander Dityatev (Germany)
  • Identifying effectors of mutant C9Orf72 ALS/FTD to combat neurodegeneration
    Kevin Talbot (UK), Georg Haase (France)
  • Using C. elegans to understand seeding and spreading of tau aggregation
    Rebecca Taylor (UK), Della David (Germany)
  • Mito-ND: Mitochondrial Neurodegeneration
    Massimo Zeviani (UK), Peter Heutink (Germany)

CoEN is an international initiative involving research funders in Belgium (Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie, Flanders),  Canada (Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CHIR)), France (Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)), Germany (Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen (DZNE)), Ireland (Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)), Italy (Ministry of Health), Slovakia (Slovak Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport), Spain (Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII) and the UK (Medical Research Council (MRC)). The aim of the initiative is to encourage collaborative research between recognised national centres of excellence in neurodegeneration research.

Six of the CoEN funding partners supported this third call for proposals: ANR (France), CIHR (Canada), DZNE (Germany), ISCIII (Spain), MRC (UK) and SFI (Republic of Ireland).