VIB Center for Molecular Neurology

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VIB U-Antwerp Center for Molecular Neurology

Science Director: Christine Van Broeckhoven

Mission statement

The overall objective of the VIB Center for Molecular Neurology (CMN) is the enhancement of our current molecular appreciation of, and ability to effectively treat, complex neurodegenerative diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system. To achieve this objective two main aims are crucial to our success, i) an improved understanding of the genetic, transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic etiology of neurodegenerative diseases and ii) the development of effective translational pipelines and eventual therapies, that are specifically tailored to our well-characterized patient cohorts, for remedy development.

The department activities can be described as ‘Translational Integrative Neuroscience’. Our efforts have a strong translational directionality, where the patient has a central position in the research process both at the conceptual and the experimental level. An invaluable strength comes from the combination of extended patient biobanking, molecular signature discovery and high-dimensionality data integration, within a coherent system for pharmacotherapeutic and diagnostic strategy creation. We strongly believe that a higher-order interrogation of data from a whole-organism-wide appreciation of neurodegenerative diseases is required for the generation of the most effective therapeutics that exert their actions in an integrative systems-level manner.

Our key goals:

1. Identify novel genetic, epigenetic, transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomics signatures of neurodegenerative disease as well as disease-modifying factors in multigenerational families and patient/control cohorts.

2. Create translationally-effective cell and animal models of disease for mechanistic investigation, diagnostic interpretation and therapeutic intervention.

3. Generate molecular biologically-, bioinformatically- and clinically-informed therapeutic strategies for neurodegenerative disease remediation through targeted interrogation of our translational biobank and high-dimensionality patient-disease information matrix.

4. Develop a mechanistic appreciation of the etiology and progression of neurodegenerative disease at a somatic level. This will involve enhanced biosampling (increased tissue diversity) and biometric testing (i.e. neuroimaging, biofluid biomarkers, neuro-psychological testing) to develop disease signature whole-body ‘heatmaps’ to prioritize optimal therapeutic tissue-targeting.

©2017 VIB Center for Molecular Neurology