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Université Libre de Bruxelles
Country: Belgium
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348 Projects, page 1 of 70
  • Funder: EC Project Code: 865176
    Overall Budget: 2,286,540 EURFunder Contribution: 2,286,540 EUR

    Brain endothelial cells (ECs) are endowed with a set of molecular and metabolic adaptations that stringently orchestrate the molecular and cellular transit between the brain and the circulatory system. These adaptations constitute the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and are pivotal to brain homeostasis and protection. Accordingly, BBB dysfunction is a unifying hallmark of many cerebrovascular diseases, including stroke, multiple sclerosis and neurodegeneration. Healing the BBB to treat to the brain is therefore emerging as a powerful therapeutic avenue for a spectrum of human CNS disorders. In addition, through its neuroprotective function, the BBB represents the main obstacle for CNS drug delivery. There is consequently an urgent need to identify methods to control BBB in health and disease. Of pivotal importance, BBB is not genetically hardwired, but instead results from ongoing neurovascular communications taking place between the ECs and the other components of the neurovascular unit. Shedding light on these communications, and raising our understanding to the mechanistic level will undoubtedly yield transformative therapeutic strategies for human brain disorders. A key obstacle in the study of BBB permeability resides in its complex regulation across cells and tissues. This complexity cannot be recapitulated in cell culture experiments. Our laboratory has recently identified and validated the transparent zebrafish as ideally suited to facilitate these studies, by empowering non-invasive genetic analyses of BBB function under normoxia. Together with a conserved BBB genetic instruction program, the zebrafish cerebrovasculature qualifies as a an alternative “miniature BBB model” where neurovascular communication can be studied at an unprecedented pace. Ctrl-BBB will pioneer synergistic approaches between the zebrafish and the mouse model, to bring BBB research in the era of highly parallel genetic approaches and BBB-focused therapeutic strategies for brain disorders.

  • Funder: EC Project Code: 101065037
    Funder Contribution: 175,920 EUR

    Nanoreactors are attractive systems for emerging technologies because they allow the manipulation of matter on a molecular scale to fabricate macroscale products. Consequently, nanoreactors have been used to carry out molecular synthesis and catalysis, where such processes are controlled and stimulated by confined space. However, the current nanoreactors suffer from a lack in the flow-control of substrate that can access their interior and they have not been used to build large supramolecular structures. To overcomes these disadvantages and improve the application of nanoreactors, in this project we propose a novel design of a nanoreactor based on the combination of liposomes and molecular transporters (LipoNanoReactors). We envisage that by a controlled transport of ions (metal cations or organic anions) through phospholipid membranes, we will be able to build supramolecular structures inside liposomes, where the final structure could be modulated by the rate of ion flow and confinement effects. As a result, this strategy will allow us to control the physical and chemical properties of such structures on a nanometric scale. Further than achieving supramolecular assembly inside liposomes, the present proposal looks to facing challenges as supramolecular isomerism, crystalline phase purity, and particle size control. Accordingly, this project opens new horizons in the field of crystal engineering, solid-state chemistry, and material sciences.

  • Funder: EC Project Code: 751954
    Overall Budget: 160,800 EURFunder Contribution: 160,800 EUR

    gd T cells are the prototype of unconventional T cells and play an important role in the protection against infections and cancer. The group of David Vermijlen has recently discovered a human Vg8Vd1 T cell receptor (TCR) which was highly enriched in every individual (therfore "public") infected in utero with human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), and that reacts towards adult cancer cells, suggesting that it can detect signals of "cellular stress" induced in both infections and cell transformation. The major aim of this project is the identification of the ligand of this cross-reactive public Vg8Vd1 TCR. Two strategies will be adopted to address this aim. In the first strategy (indirect approach), a list of candidate ligands will be tested for the capacity to stimulate the TCR via functional assays. This list of genes is provided by gene expression profiling of target cells known to stimulate the public TCR ("stimulator cells") verus non-stimulators, as well as from data in literature. In the second strategy (direct approach), in order to isolate or "fish" the ligand from a strong stimulator cell line we plan to adopt several methods, such as: i) production of blocking antibodies, ii) generation of "gd bodies", iii) proximity dependent biotinylation (BioID). The direct binding of promising ligand candidates with the public Vg8Vd1 TCR will be further investigated by surface plasmon resonance. Finally, in order to address the potential of this project for cancer immunotherapy we will evaluate the killing of primary cancer cells expressing the ligand by public Vg8Vd1-transduced PBMCs. The background of the MSCA applicant on HCMV-host interplay will highly complement the expertise of the group of David Vermijlen on gd T cells. As the public Vg8Vd1 TCR is present in every individual, the identification of its ligand will have broad implications as a possible target for the development of novel vaccination and cancer immunotherapy strategies.

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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 797178
    Overall Budget: 160,800 EURFunder Contribution: 160,800 EUR

    MIGREMOV (Movements, Migration and Emotion: East/West Mobility, Transnational Bonding, and Political Identities in Polish Activists' Biographies) is a qualitative research project aimed at studying the role of migration and transnational connections in building political identities and developing social movements. It focuses on the case of Polish activists from 3 movements: the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and queer (LGBTQ) movement, the women’s/feminist movement and the Jewish movement. It uses the biographical method of collecting life stories, as well as a Life History Calendar to reconstruct these activists’ trajectories throughout the post-socialist period (1989 to the present). It concentrates on the interactions between the process of endorsing political identities and the experiences of East/West migration and of transnational affective ties such as friendships and erotic/amorous relationships across borders and nationalities. MIGREMOV raises crucial questions for both European societies and social sciences: How does moving physically and mentally between geo-political and cultural contexts influence the process of becoming and being an activist? Does activism create specific opportunities and paths toward transnational lives? How do national identities and political ones intersect, and transform over time, in such contexts? Special attention will be given to the role of emotions, for traveling between contexts and transnational bonding is as much of an emotional journey as activism itself. Therefore, the various emotions attached to places (Poland and abroad, East and West, city and countryside…) and periods (moments of changing places, stays abroad and returns to Poland, encounters with new friends or partners, moments of higher or lower level of activism, etc.) will help outline the emotional maps parallel of these trajectories.

  • Funder: EC Project Code: 885093
    Overall Budget: 2,500,000 EURFunder Contribution: 2,500,000 EUR

    It is now widely recognized that within a tumor, not all cancer cells are alike and different tumor states (TS) exist. This process is known as tumor heterogeneity. Some cancer cells actively proliferate, while others differentiate, migrate and give rise to metastasis, or enter in a dormant state and resist to chemotherapy. The identification of distinct TS and the mechanisms that regulate their identities and functions is critical for our understanding of tumor heterogeneity. The different TS can acquire distinct phenotypes responsible for tumor progression, metastasis, and therapy resistance. In this project, using multidisciplinary approaches that combine single-cell lineage tracing, single-cell genomics, epigenomics and transcriptomics together with pharmacological treatment and genetic perturbations, we will define in a comprehensive and integrated manner the identities and functions of distinct TS at single-cell resolution in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Then, we will develop new genetically engineered tumor models expressing different fluorescent proteins to visualize the dynamics of TS in real time in vivo using intravital microscopy. Moreover, we will assess the roles of the identified TS by lineage ablation and identify the intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms that regulate their transitions and functions, which will help to define new tumor vulnerabilities and provide new therapeutic opportunities.

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