Projects funded by Europe

Interreg-Eurlipids Project

  • An Interreg EMR project involving the Mass Spectrometry Laboratory (PI De Pauw Edwin, Quinton Loic), EURLIPIDS, a Virtual Platform for Lipid Research.

Building on the Euregio’ s knowledge and expertise in the field of lipid-technologies, the project aims at establishing an excellence platform for lipid-based research and technological     solutions (“Lipid Valley”). Bringing together research institutes, clinics, industrial partners and SMEs, the platform will be built on three pillars:

  1. a study component for MA and PhD students to strengthen the human capacities for lipid research in the EMR;
  2. research for new analytical methods (biomarkers, biomedical materials);
  3. economic valorization of the research activities through the development and market launch of new clinical products.

Indeed, as underlined by the partnership, the planned research and valorization activities shall lead to patent-protected solutions which will enable the participating industrial partners, SMEs and resulting spin-offs to gain direct advantage from their participation in the project.

EU-FT-ICR Project

  • An infrastructure project: H2020 Infra EU_FT-ICR_MS – DLV-731077, in which the ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry platform is included in a European network for access to research infrastructure.

The EU FT-ICR MS project aims to establish a European network of FT-ICR (Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance) mass spectrometry (MS) centers in association with a manufacturer and a SME software company.

The Project has 4 objectives :

  1. Provide the EU academic, SME and industrial communities’ with access to world-class FT-ICR MS centers.
  2. Build an EU community of end-users and FT-ICR MS scientists.
  3. Open access to data and open source software to the EU FT-ICR MS network.
  4. Strengthen the FT-ICR MS application fields by promoting innovative and cooperative research between European FT-ICR MS academic scientists and private companies(instrumentation and software)

Projects funded by the FNRS

EOS-LOGO-wide

  • EOS (Excellence Of Science, FNRS-FWO) project has been granted in 2018.

The Mass Spectrometry Laboratory (PIs Edwin De Pauw and Loic Quinton) participates in the project “Ecological roles of cyclic lipopeptides from plant beneficial rhizobacteria: a chemical-biology approach to decipher primary functions of secondary metabolites”, coordination HÖFTE Monica, UGhent.

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  • MucoSWEATOmics

The aim of the study is to identify new biomarkers of CFTR function in sweat and in sweat gland. Sweat is a watery solution containing trace amounts of proteins and peptides that may contribute to the antimicrobial defense system of the skin barrier, playing a role in innate immune responses against potential pathogens. The peptide and metabolite composition of sweat has not been fully explored. Evidence suggests that the composition of the skin barrier could vary with diseases. The causes and consequences of the changes of sweat proteins and peptides in humans are unknown. This clinical trial will focus on multiomics analysis of sweat, mainly of the antimicrobial peptides that play a key role in the host-pathogen interaction. Antioxidants, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds may contribute to the regulation of systemic inflammation and pathophysiological disorders. In cystic fibrosis, inflammatory responses are altered, exaggerated and persistent, even in the absence of infection. It is therefore relevant to study the influence of CFTR mutations on the profile of antimicrobial peptides expressed in sweat. The clinical study will potentially lead to the discovery of novel non-invasive biomarkers of the disease in sweat.

About MucoSWEATOmics

  • VenomsForLiege – V4L

The project aims at taking advantage of the potential of underexploited venoms to discover and characterize valuable modulators of SK and HCN ion channels. These receptors are targets of high interest for the understanding of the central nervous system functions. Indeed, the huge potential of animal venoms to provide highly selective ligands of cell receptors is not questionable, scorpions are, for example, among the most remarkable producers of toxins affecting ion channels. In this context, our project, VenomsForLiège proposes to deeply investigate 40 crude venoms to seek for atypical and innovative ligands for SK and HCN ion channels. The workflow will start with a MS-based fast affinity screening to allow a rational selection of the most promising venomous species for our study. The latter will be analyzed through an integrated methodology combining sourcing of the species, transcriptomics (venom glands), proteomics (crude venoms), peptide production (recombinant synthesis, purification and folding) and electrophysiological characterization to look for highly selective ligands for SK and HCN channels. The toxin-receptor complexes will finally be modeled by the help of cryo electron microscopy to understand the mechanism of action of such toxins. The tools and methods developed for this project will be applied similarly to support the development of new peptidic compounds, but also non-peptidic ones, with potential therapeutic applications (drug design). The co-PIs of  this study are the Dr Alain Brans (Protein synthesis, InBios, Sciences Faculty), le Dr Frédéric Kerff (Cristallography, InBios, Sciences Faculty), le Prof. Vincent Seutin (Pharmacology, Medecine Faculty) et le Prof. Jean-François Liégeois (Drug Design,CIRM, Medecine Faculty).

  • RHIZOCLIP

Plant roots often carry Bacillus and Pseudomonas bacteria that protect the plant against pathogens. This beneficial effect (biocontrol) results from secretion of bacterial metabolites. Those are either antimicrobial or trigger the plant’s own defense responses. These metabolites include cyclic lipopeptides (CLPs), which are biosurfactants composed of a fatty acid tail linked to a cyclized oligopeptide. The objective is to answer the following key questions: which CLPs are readily formed on plant roots; how is their production modulated by pathogenic fungi and other CLP producers; are these CLPs essential for root colonization; how do plants respond to their perception; why do some CLPs have antifungal activity and how do CLPs interact with each other. We are also interested in the evolutionary origin of CLP diversity and we will propose a novel classification based on their chemical and biological properties.

About Rhizoclip

Projects funded at federal and regional levels

  • KIT QUANTA : absolute quantification of proteins in complex matrices (blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid or CSF) thanks to a “universal” standardization kit 

In the world of biomarker discovery, there are few validations of biomarker candidates. The discovery and validation steps in the development of biomarkers remain quite challenging and lengthy. The need for high-throughput technique is therefore urgent. SRM method (Selected Reaction Monitoring) can solve the problem in offering high-throughput analyses. The difficulty of this method lies in the implementation of standardization for absolute quantification. Different standardization approaches now exist in proteomics but all have their limitations. One example is the use of isotopically-labelled peptides for the absolute quantification of proteins. This method is highly specific of the protein to quantify but do not take into account all the bias introduced at each step of the process needed before SRM analyses. In combination with this already well-known technique, our “kit” will allow to control the whole preparation process and therefore will be a useful and necessary tool for longitudinal studies or studies involving a large number of samples in the process of biomarker discovery. Several actors work in collaboration to reach this goal: the Mass Spectrometry Laboratory (MSLab) in ULiège, the laboratory of Proteomics and Microbiology (ProtMic) in UMons and Eurogentec S.A. This project has been possible thanks to the support of the the European Regional Development Fund.

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  • Next Generation Powder

The goal of the Nextgeneration Powder (NGP) project is to develop a new manufacturing process for spherical propellant powder with high particle size and energy content. This new powder willopen the door to the markets of ammunition and mortar, while keeping the specificity and advantages of the spherical powders (like flowability or loading density). The principle will consist in mixing a HE energetic base to environmentally friendly additives leading to a “green propellant” with a better control of combustion generating more pressure and therefore an extra pushing power for ammunition when fired.

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  • MEDIX

The consumption of pharmaceutical drugs is in constant increase and today there is a consensus in the scientific community that those environmental releases have a significant impact on the ecosystems. The goal of this project is to develop a completely innovative hospital wastewater treatment concept based on biological processes that would be energy-friendly and space-efficient and would help to control this form of pollution, which is not currently monitor.

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  • ECOSOL

The goal of the ECOSOL project is to add value to the brownfield sites by cultivating high value added plants for the pharmaceutical domain. These brownfields are special ecosystems which require a thorough knowledge of their biological behaviour because the plants must adapt to disturbed or contaminated soil. Those special conditions generate some selection inside their populations, forcing adaptation mechanisms that are important to know. The specific objectives of this project are:

  1. Identification of plants of interest and selection of candidate species
  2. Characterization of pre- to post-decontamination soils based on potential uses
  3. Selection of plants with high added value potential on brownfield sites
  4. In situ planting and agronomic study according to sanitation methods.

  • MEFURAN

The MEFURAN project aims are to gather data on the contamination level of Belgian selected foodstuffs by furan and alkylfurans and to study their formation in the coffee roasting process with a close collaboration with the industry. To achieve those goals, it is mandatory to develop and validate an analytical method able to measure furan, 2-methylfuran; 3-methylfuran and 2,5-dimethylfuran in food which comply to the European requirements. Then to construct a large sampling plan to randomly collect samples over the Belgian territory and the food suppliers involving supermarket as well as local commerce with a specific look at organic producers. Finally, a preliminary determistic and probabilistic risk assessment for furan and methylfurans ingestion through food chain for Belgian sub-populations of interest will be prepared.

  • Glycocell

The goal of the GLYCOCELL project is to gain a better understanding of the influence of the glycosylation profile on the immunogenicity of viral glycoproteins produced in genetically engineered BY-2 cell lines in the N-glycosylation pathway. In parallel, the project aims to optimize the culture conditions of BY-2 cells in order to increase their productivity. This dual approach should allow the production in sufficient quantity and in a controlled manner of an immunogenic viral glycoprotein having a predefined glycosylation profile more homogeneous and simplified with respect to the same glycoprotein produced in animal CHO cells.

  • ORTHENZY

Notre objectif est de développer une stratégie innovante capable de dégrader la matrice de biofilms se formant dans le cadre d’infections sur matériel orthopédique implanté. La stratégie repose sur l’utilisation d’un cocktail enzymatique optimisé pour dégrader la matrice de biofilms de diverses espèces fréquemment rencontrées dans le contexte d’infections orthopédiques, et aussi de biofilms multi-espèces. Ce cocktail est destiné à être utilisé comme adjuvant aux antibiotiques conventionnels. En effet, il ne présente pas d’activité bactéricide par lui-même mais permet de restaurer l’accès des antibiotiques aux bactéries en déstructurant la matrice du biofilm.

  • Biowin

    Fast and Reliable ultra-sensitive Identification of Streptococcus B at delivery (FRISBY) (PI G  Eppe) (2016-2020).

  • Epinox

    This project aims to identify new erythrocyte epitopes, representative of intravascular oxidation, for the production of immunological tests for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. These biomarkers will be evidenced by a non-biased proteomic approach on samples of erythrocytes from patients duly phenotyped clinically and healthy volunteers. Indeed, changes in oxidative stress specific to cardiovascular risk factors result in changes in abundance, localization and post-translational modifications (nitrotyrosination or carbonylation) of cytosolic and membrane proteins in erythrocytes. These expressional and / or post-translational changes will be correlated with measurements of endothelial function, oxidative stress and nitrosylhemoglobin (HbNO) in the same erythrocytes. This screening will allow us to reveal modified proteins which will thus provide new epitopes to generate antibodies used later in immunoassays to market.