Coordinator of the LipiDiDiet Project
Hartmann's group is the most cited for the topic of lipids in Alzheimer's disease. Hartmann was the coordinator of the preceding FP5 LipiDiet project. He has published highly on different aspects of AD covering a broad range of topics ranging from basic aspects of the molecular and cellular biology of AD over new approaches to the early diagnosis of AD to clinical trials. As an excellent molecular and cellular biologist he shifted over the last decade a major part of his attention towards lipid based disease intervention and disease prevention in AD. He provided the first experimental proof that statins lower amyloid levels in vivo, conducted the first pilot prospective double blind placebo controlled statin treatment trial to slow down disease progression in AD and identified the molecular mechanism by which cholesterol regulation is linked to Aß production. Hartmann strongly believes that scientific progress can only be achieved by close interaction between basic and applied science. His work was awarded the prestigious Alois Alzheimer price at the centennial anniversary of the discovery of Alzheimers disease 2006. His broad knowledge base, high international reputation in the field of dementia research, as much as his managing capabilities qualify him as the coordinator for the high demands LipiDiDiet will bring along.
Fassbender is an expert on neuroinflammation and microglia properties, especially in AD. Because inflammation is a very important aspect with a high likelihood to represent on MOA that is actually responsible or contributing to the DHA mediated in disease progression arrest he was asked to join the consortium. He also has a very good background on the role of lipids in AD (Fassbender PNAS 2001). Using in vivo microdialysis techniques, they first demonstrated that aggregated Aß, the main component in senile plaques of AD, but soluble Aß cause pronounced innate immune responses in the living brain. They identified the LPS receptor, as a receptor mediating Aß-induced microglial activation associated with release of strongly neurotoxic molecules and as important receptor for Aß phagocytosis. Taken together this clearly qualifies him as a member of the consortium. Moreover, he is a coordinator of a previous successful EU project (MANAD).
University of Eastern Finland
The Tanila group works on the neurobiological underpinnings of memory impairment both due to subtle age-related changes and as a consequence of beta-amyloid accumulation, as well as on diet and drug based therapies for AD in transgenic mouse models. This is of course the ideal combination one looks for in a project like this.
The Soininen group has a long-term experience and she has conducted several large projects in molecular epidemiology, genetics, diagnostics and therapy of Alzheimer's disease, as well as neuroimaging in aging and dementia. She has been running large scale population based studies in life style and genetic risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment. Her list of publication includes 366 papers and over 270 original publications. She is an coordinator of another EU project and has been P.I. in 15 Clinical Drug Trials in the last 6 years. She will be heading the clinical trial project, for which she is ideally suited. Among her staff a Miia Kivipelto, MD, PhD, and docent in neuroepidemiology, who is maybe the most promising young expert on epidemiology of Alzheimer's disease for the topics of our research and already an authority on that topic (51 publications). Kivipelto has positions in Finland and Sweden and will together with Gustafson head the epidemiological studies.
University of Szeged
Penke is a specialist in biochemistry, with vast knowledge of lipid biology and very advanced analysis technologies present. They have a world wide recognition for the very high quality of Aß-peptides they produce and have excellent animal facilities especially for the non mouse models. They also have excellent training facilities for state of the art biochemical equipment.
Penke's group is working with the early diagnosis and prevention of Alzheimer's disease.
Tel Aviv University
Our laboratory focuses on the study of cross talk between genetic and environmental risk factors with parituclar emphasis on beta amyloid and apoE4 and the effects thereon of lipida.
Michaelsons group is the leading European specialist for ApoE in dementia mouse models. They have available the latest knock-in mice in all the different allelic variations as well as the KO and transgenic mice. They have established a very large variety to address neuropathological changes including various stimuli. It is known that education is a risk reducing factor in dementia in humans and using the enriched environment scheme Michaelson was able for the first time to demonstrate in vivo that a part of the ApoE 4 dependent pathology is actually dependent on neurogenesis or cognitive input. This lab therefore provides currently the only experimental setting world wide available in which the diets can be tested in the animal in a setting that tries to approximate the human situation. Moreover, the only non-transgenic mouse model ever developed has been generated by Michaelson and represents today a most suitable tool to study in a small animal model – in a short time frame – the aspects of amyloid plaque formation and disintegration on the individual mouse levels at the endogenous genetic background.
Stichting Katholieke Universiteit - Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center
Kiliaan group has strong focus on vascular factors in AD and neurodegeneration in general in relation with diet interventions. Kiliaan actually comes from a nutritional industry background and has established her laboratory in academia a few years ago. At the department of Anatomy and department of Cognitive Neuroscience, extensive knowledge is present on haemodynamics and vascular wall biology, (functional) neuroanatomy and histology of the brain and neurodegenerative diseases. The department of Anatomy has a long history of experience with histological, immunohistochemical and electron microscopy techniques, that will be applied in this project to investigate the pathology of blood vessels in the brain. The research group works in very close collaboration with the department of Radiology. The main research focus of the department of Radiology concerns biomedical applications of Magnetic Resonance (MR) with topics haemodynamics and energy metabolism in small rodents and vascular assessment by MRI using various contrast agents. MR instruments with high field power of 7 Tesla and 11.7 Tesla will be used for advanced Arterial Spin Labelling (ASL) MR technology and the so called Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) technology to enable to determine neuron damage in an early phase and connectivity between brain areas and white matter lesions in mice brain.
University of Gothenburg
Skoog is the leading authority on vascular dementia epidemiology, the role of vascular factors in AD and vascular cognitive impairment. The group focuses on the epidemiology of AD, with clinical diagnostic and etiologic approaches, and a strong Molecular Epidemiology focus related to use genetic and other biomarkers.
Gustafson, author of first reports on relationships between adiposity and AD, cerebrovascular disease, and brain atrophy. Epidemiologic studies in Gothenburg are unique due to the length of time populations have been followed, clinical dementia and cognitive assessments, somatic disorder ascertainment, and routine and detailed risk and protective factor measures. All participants engage in a one day clinical examination, and world-renowned Swedish registry data is used to track those lost to follow-up. The Blennow group adds a strong focus on the measurement and development of blood and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers for AD and genetic analyses of APOE which are used in the epidemiologic studies. Epidemiologic studies will directly benefit from Prof. Blennow’s determination of CSF and basic science biomarkers.
Blennow is head of the Clinical Neurochemistry Laboratory at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden. The laboratory has a long-standing experience in CSF analyses for brain disorders. The research group has a focus on CSF biomarkers for AD with a large experience in protein analyses, immunoassays and proteomics/mass spectrometry.
Blennow is beyond doubt the most productive specialist on AD CSF biomarkers and the leading authority. Very recently his breakthrough discovery of very early diagnosis of prodromal/MCI AD caused a shift in the way early AD diagnosis is seen.
Danone Research is part of Group Danone, one of the most successful health food companies in the world. Its mission is to bring health through tasty, nutritious and affordable food and beverage products to as many people as possible. Group Danone enjoys leading positions on healthy food in four businesses: fresh dairy products, waters, baby nutrition and medical nutrition. Our Medical Nutrition products range from enteral medical nutrition to advanced medical nutrition for people with special nutritional requirements. The strategy of the Medical Nutrition division is to raise awareness of the value of Advanced Medical Nutrition in the disease management and support of people across the healthcare spectrum; and to develop and market targeted high-value nutrition for every important patient category.
Danone Research – Centre for Specialised Nutrition in Wageningen, The Netherlands, is a science-driven and consumer-led research organization that specializes in Baby Nutrition and Medical Nutrition. We create formulas that provide clinically substantiated growth, development or health benefits to vulnerable consumers – infants, toddlers, elderly and patients. For this purpose we perform research into the complex interaction between nutrition, biological processes and disease mechanisms in the human body. We work in multi-disciplinary teams ranging from immunologists, biologists and microbiologists, to neuroscientists and metabolism experts. We enjoy support from a network of international partners that includes research institutes, universities, hospitals, and industrial suppliers. There is a strong focus on the elderly population and nutritional needs in chronic disease. We see enormous potential in disease targeted nutrition; focusing on improving clinical outcomes by helping to delay the progression of specific conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Lars-Olof Wahlund has a long standing high level contribution in the field of dementia and AD. The research group focuses on early diagnostics in dementia and Alzheimer´s disease. Main focus is neuroimaging and MRI. Close collaboration with preclinical and epidemiological competence locally, nationally and internationally. The group has long experience in clinical trials on anti dementia treatment. The research group was the first to publish a clinical trial on Omega 3 fatty acid and Alzheimer’s disease in October 2006. It is obvious from this that this group is a partner of this consortium.
Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic - Institute of Physiology
A loss of cognitive functions accompanying natural aging and various pathological processes of central nervous system is connected with weakening of cholinergic transmission and disappearance of cholinergic neurons in basal forebrain.
The Dolezal group is concerned with the field of cholinergic physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology and neurotransmission. They will study the effect the diet has on synaptic function. This is a very direct basic science read-out for effectiveness an plays an important role for our in-vitro as much as our in vivo studies to select the right diets before they enter a clinical trial as much as to define the MOA. Dolezal has previously discovered that DHA alters synaptic transmission in the cholinergic pathway.
VU University Medical Center
Scheltens has long-lasting research experience in the field of magnetic resonance imaging and biomarkers in dementia with respect to early diagnosis and monitoring of treatment. Experience in leading clinical trials from phase 1 to 3, in a multicentre setting. Most relevant current experience is being PI of the Souvenir study with medical food in mild drug naïve AD patients, placebo-controlled, for 3-6 months. This qualification adds nicely to the other clinical centres involved.
University of Bonn
Lütjohanns group is arguably together with Björkhems group the world leading authority on brain cholesterol metabolites. He has collaborational links with most of the partnering institutions and his contribution will, as previously, ensure that this important topic is addressed by highest standards. His analysis techniques are highly sensitive, straight forward, fast and very robust, fortunately they are quite affordable as well.
European Research and Project Office GmbH
Eurice has been involved in EU Framework Programmes since FP4. As a well experienced and professional project management office, Eurice will support the coordinator in all tasks related to project management and coordination, as well as provide support regarding all innovation-related activities such as dissemination and exploitation of project results.
Eurice is a member of the “European Association of Research Managers and Administrators (EARMA)” and a partner in the IPR helpdesk project which offers basic assistance in Intellectual Property Rights issues and is co-funded by the European Commission.
Eurice has a strong focus on Life Science projects, and the responsible project officer, C.Giehl, has research experience in the field of neuroregeneration and –degeneration herself.
Heidelberg University Hospital
Section of Geriatric Psychiatry
Research of the section of geriatric psychiatry focuses especially on schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Neurobiological backgrounds and psychosocial influences are of major interest. One of the main focuses of the last few years has been laid on the early detection of AD, working with modern diagnostic methods like MRI and liquor-analysis. Publications have discussed the definition, diagnostic criteria and differential diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) as a potential prodromal state of AD. Research within the Interdisciplinary Longitudinal Study on Adult Development and Aging (ILSE) has focused on the epidemiology of psychiatric diseases and its interaction with physical health. Studies like ILSE have the potential of providing precious knowledge about possible risk- and protective factors concerning the development of cognitive impairments, which is of great interest with respect to new intervention and prevention strategies.
Johannes Schröder is the head of the Section auf Geriatric Psychiatry and its associated memory clinic at the University of Heidelberg. Moreover he is the vice-chairman of the ethics committee of the medical department. Johannes Schröder was appointed as a fellow of the Marsilius-Kolleg which is the centre of advanced studies at the University of Heidelberg. Within the Marsilius Kolleg he is the speaker of the interdisciplinary project “Perspectives of Ageing in the Process of Social and Cultural Change”. His long standing contribution to Alzheimer research was honoured with the Alois-Alzheimer price in the year 2006. His research group is an interdisciplinary team with specialists from the field of medicine, psychology, linguistics and neuropsychology.
University Hospital of Tuebingen
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Research of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the University Hospital of Tübingen (Chair: Prof. Andreas J. Fallgatter) focuses on several psychiatric disorders. In the last years dementia and Alzheimer´s disease (AD) have become important issues. Various studies with neuropsychological, neuroimaging, neurophysiological and neurochemical methods have been performed to elucidate the neurobiological backgrounds of dementia disorders and its prodromal and preclinical states. Moreover the department participated in health service research to evaluate the psychosocial influences on the course of dementia. In cooperation with the Hertie Institute of Clinical Brain Research and the German Center of Neurodegenerative Diseases studies comparing AD and Parkinson´s Disease have been accomplished and a great population based study to evaluate risk factors for neurodegenerative diseases has been started.
PD Dr. Thomas Leyhe is specialist in Psychiatry, Neurology and Geriatrics. He is head of the memory clinic and the dementia research group at the University of Tübingen. His research group has performed a great number of studies with neuropsychological, neuroimaging and neurochemical methods in patients with neurodegenerative, immunological and endocrinological disorders. He conducted several multicenter clinical trials in AD from phase 1 to 3 and has extensive clinical experience with patients with cognitive impairment.
Central Institute for Mental Health
Department for Geriatric Psychiatry
Lutz Frölich has started his scientific work by investigating animal models mimicking biochemical and histological features of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) (funded by Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds) and also doing pathobiochemical research on AD with post-mortem brain tissue (several projects funded by the German brain league). Here, his main focus was on the role of the brain insulin receptor system in the pathogenesis of AD (funded by BMBF program - Diseases of the Basal Ganglia). In clinical studies, he was among the investigators in studies on the diagnostic validity of psychometric tests, the diagnostic utility of the quantitative EEG and several neuroimaging modalities (MRI, fMRI, MR-spectroscopy) (e.g. funded by AFI, NEST-DD study, funded by 5.FP of EU). His recent work mainly focused on prospective cohort studies on the clinical presentation, genetic influence, validity of biomarkers and therapeutic strategies of Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment (The German Dementia Competence Network, funded by BMBF; DESCRIPA study, funded by the 6.FP of EU; EDAR study funded by 7. FP of EU) as well as on development of guidelines (Steering committee of the DGPPN/DGN S3 guideline on dementia, WFSBP guideline committee on Dementia), and on the design and conduction of clinical trials. In particular, this was research on the clinical course of dementias (ICTUS study, funded by 5.FP of EU), the importance of risk factors and prevention (e.g. psychosocial risk factors of AD, funded by AFI; EuroCoDe project, funded by the 7.FP of EU) and randomized controlled clinical trials of new therapies for dementia in particular Alzheimer’s disease (e.g. combination therapy in AD and MCI). He is among the steering committee or principal investigator in the following ongoing national multicenter clinical trials: 1. Simvastatin effects in amnestic MCI on conversion to AD (funded by BMBF/DFG program on clinical trials), 2. Neuropsychologically-based Behavioural Therapy in early AD (BMG-Lightower projects), 3.) Buproprione as treatment for apathy in AD (funded by BMBF/DFG program on clinical trials), 4.) several Phase IIa – III clinical trials in AD, sponsored by pharmaceutical companies.
He is Co-chair of the Executive Committee of the European Alzheimer’s disease consortium (EADC) and is Chief Organizing Officer and among the Executive Committee of the German Dementia Competence Network.
He has published more than 200 original data and review articles in peer-reviewed journals and 70 book chapters or other publications.
University Hospital Regensburg
Department of Psychiatrie and Psychotherapy
PD Dr. med. Stephan Schiekofer is Head of the Center for Geriatric Medicine at Bezirksklinikum Regensburg , Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of University of Regensburg, Germany. He studied Medicine at the Medical School in Heidelberg, Tübingen and performed in Munich for his Medical License. Dr. Schiekofer performed a postdoctoral Fellowship at Whitaker Cardiavascular Research Institute at Boston University. He is spezialised in General Internal Medicine and Laboratory Medicine. He is actively involved in the research of Geriatric Medicine, Endocrinology and Diabetology and also spezialised in Nutrition Medicine and Neurodegenerative Disorders.
PD Dr. med. Stephan Schiekofer
University Hospital Regensburg