Thomas Arendt graduated with a medical diploma and a medical thesis from the Medical Faculty of Leipzig University in 1982 and subsequently received a postdoctoral training in neurochemistry, neuroanatomy and neuropathology (Leipzig University). In 1984, he worked as a visiting scientist in the Academy of Medical Sciences in Moskow and in 1986/1987 he received a Wellcome Fellowship and joined the group of Prof Gray and Prof.Marchbanks at the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London to work on experimental behavioural sciences and stem cell transplantation as an experimental approach to counteract neurodegenerative processes. From 1987 to 1996, he was research group leader at the Paul Flechsig Institute. In 1990 he was promoted to a Doctor of Science for Neuroscience (Habilitation and venia legendi). He became full Professor for Neuroanatomy and Head of the Department for Neuroanatomy at the Paul Flechsig Institute in 1996. Since 2005, he is Managing Director of the Paul Flechsig Institute of Brain Research. Over the last 40 years he has been working on therapeutic and diagnostic strategies of neurodegenerative disorders. In the early eighties of the 20th century, he was involved in identifying the degeneration of the cholinergic system in Alzheimer´s disease laying the basis for todays´ only available treatment. He is one of the pioneers of the “cell-cycle theory” of Alzheimer´s disease which he developed further towards a diagnostic and therapeutic concept.
Anne-Laurence Boutillier performed her PhD in Neurosciences in Strasbourg (France). She studied the transcriptional regulation of a pituitary gene (the pro-opiomelacortin gene), studies she continued during her post-doctoral training at Mount Sinaï in New York. Hired in 1996 at the CNRS, she started investigating the mechanisms of neuronal survival and death in simplified models and later in animal models of neurodegenerative diseases, with a strong interest in the CREB Binding Protein (CBP), a transcriptional co-activator with acetyltransferase functions. Since 2013, she co-directs a team at LNCA that studies the implication of epigenetic regulations in neuro-plasticity and neuronal activity during learning and memory. Epigenetic regulations are essential for the spatio-temporal regulation of gene expression. By integrating environmental factors in transcriptional responses, they allow the adaptation of the genome to the environment. The team’s projects aim to characterise epigenetic and transcriptomic signatures altered in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease and Huntington disease and decipher the underlying mechanisms in order to identify new targets for therapeutic interventions. Further studies are focussed at restoring proper epigenetic regulations in animal models by pharmacological (HAT activator molecule) or non-pharmacological (enriched environment, exercise, nutrition...) approaches.
Luc Buée is a French scientist (Directeur de Recherches au CNRS), Director of the new "Lille Neuroscience & Cognition” Institute and Head of the Inserm laboratory « Alzheimer & Tauopathies » at the University of Lille, France. His group is also part of the laboratory of Excellence (LabEx) DISTALZ and the Centre of Excellence in Neurodegenerative disorders (LiCEND). He has worked on Alzheimer disease and related disorders for about thirty years. He started his work on Alzheimer's disease with a PhD training at Mount Sinai Medical Center, NYC. He was then involved in the initial characterization of tau aggregates among neurodegenerative disorders. He has then developed experimental models to better understand the role of post-translational modifications in tau aggregation and tau secretion. His group is currently working on the pathophysiological consequences of neurofibrillary degeneration and their links to the amyloid pathology and neuroinflammation in Alzheimer disease. His group was/is also involved in different international consortia.
Luc Buée is also involved in different scientific advisory boards and operating committees (Inserm, Janssen Horizon, PSP France, Rainwater Charitable Foundation...). He is also the representative researcher elected by academics at the French Foundation Plan Alzheimer. He is the main organizer of the Eurotau meetings. Since November 2019, he is the President of the French Society for Neuroscience.
Dr. Julien Chapuis has been an Assistant Professor at the University of Lille, France since 2014. In 2015, he received research support from the French Alzheimer’s Association to study the genetic factors of AD involved in APP metabolism. He has been developing his own project based on new cellular High Content Screening models to characterize the functionality of the genetic risk factors identified by GWAS approach and in particular their impacts on the APP metabolism.
Dourlen P, Kilinc D, Malmanche N, Chapuis J, Lambert JC. The new genetic landscape of Alzheimer's disease: from amyloid cascade to genetically driven synaptic failure hypothesis? Acta Neuropathol. 2019
Dourlen P, Chapuis J, Lambert JC. Using High-Throughput Animal or Cell-Based Models to Functionally Characterize GWAS Signals. Curr Genet Med Rep. 2018;6(3):107-115.
Chapuis J et al. Genome-wide, high-content siRNA screening identifies the Alzheimer's genetic risk factor FERMT2 as a major modulator of APP metabolism. Acta Neuropathol. 2017.
Dr. Marie-Christine Chartier-Harlin (Inserm Research director) is a specialist of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. She defended in 1999 her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Lille, France. She pursued a post-doctoral research as a research fellow on the Genetics of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in London (UK), where she discovered the first APP mutation in J Hardy’s laboratory. After being recruited as an Inserm research scientist (1993), she came back to France and worked on the implication of the APOE gene in AD and AD process using molecular and biological methodologies. In 2001, she became Inserm research director, pursuing work on AD as well as Parkinson's disease (PD), and since 2005, she has devoted more attention on PD after she found that the sole overexpression of the alpha-synuclein is sufficient to develop Parkinsonism in a dose dependent manner. She took the direction of the PD lab with Pr Destée 2010 and since 2015 her research combines clinical, genetic epidemiology and molecular approaches including gene expression and translation investigation since her recent work put forward the role of translation in PD. They also study pre-clinical models including murine and cellular models, biological samples of PD patients and controls from Lille’ patient cohorts (>1000 AD and PD). This lab is part of Center of excellence labelled by the “Plan national sur les maladies neurodégénératives (2015)”. Her Hirsch factor is 39 and her work was cited more than 10 470 times. Dr. Chartier-Harlin was member and then President of the scientific committee of the European League against Alzheimer’s disease (LECMA (now Fondation Vaincre Alzheimer), 2005-2017) and is now member of its board of directors. She and her team received several prizes among which the Aimée et Raymond MANDE prize from the French National Academy of Medicine.
Frédéric Checler is a INSERM research Director (Exceptional class, DRCE INSERM) and head of the laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Biology Normal and Pathological Cerebral Aging at IPMC, Sophia Antipolis.
F. Checler received his PhD in Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology from University of Nice-Sophia-Antipolis (1983). He worked first on the field of proteases and neuropeptides metabolism, then moved to the fields of neurodegenerative diseases where he was mainly interested in proteolytic dysfunction and cell death mechanisms involved in Alzheimer’s disease then on dysfunctions taking place in Parkinson’s and prion diseases. More recently, his group has undertaken studies on cerebral cancers with the aim to delineate common denominators between neurodegenerative diseases and tumorigenesis.
F. Checler was ranked Top 1% researcher in the world “Biology and Biochemistry” (ISI WOK field of ranking at the end of 2011); He published over 250 articles in international journals, books, monographs, editorials, and reviews. He also attended 225 Invitations in International meetings and more than 100 invited seminars. Dr. Checler was the first President of the scientific committee of the European League against Alzheimer’s disease (LECMA (now Fondation Vaincre Alzheimer), 2005-2010) and is now member its the board of directors. He has been a Member of the steering committee of the French Alzheimer plan launched by President N. Sarkozy. He belongs to the laboratory of Excellence DistALZ (Development of Innovative STrategies for translational Approach in ALZheimer Disease) that gathers nine first-class teams.
His honors include: the BioMerieux award (1997); 1999 MHRI Kearney Fellow Award, Mental Health Research Institute; the Charles-Louis de Saulces de Freycinet Award, French National Academy of Science (2002); the “Grand Prix” Jaffé of the French Academy of Sciences (2013); “Grand prix” of Pompidou foundation 2014; Medal of the Departmental council; Medal of the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis (2013, 2014). He has been recently elected «foreign corresponding member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences».
Dr. Holger Cynis is biologist by education. He received his PhD in biochemistry from university of Halle (Saale), Germany. Currently he is heading the group for Molecular Biotechnology at the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology. Before joining Fraunhofer, he was a research fellow at the Center for Neurologic Disease, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA. Before switching to the academic world, he was project leader and senior scientist at Probiodrug AG, having 10 years of biotech experience. The major aim of Dr. Cynis’ work is in vitro and in vivo pharmacology in the context of drug development programs for neurodegenerative and inflammatory disorders. Current interest is in the field of generating translational models for AD research and the role of endogenous retroviruses for the development of demyelinating disorders.
He successfully investigated human glutaminyl cyclases as novel drug targets in Alzheimer’s disease and systemic inflammatory disorders. One particular interest was translational studies in cellular and animal models. Dr. Cynis has co-authored 10 patents and >30 publications. He is co-founder of PerioTrap Pharmaceuticals GmbH (2018).
Elly Hol is professor of “Glia biology of brain diseases” at the Utrecht University, professor of "Biology of glia and neural stem cells” at the University of Amsterdam, and a member of the Academia Europaea. She leads a research group at the University Medical Center Utrecht Brain Center. Her research is focused on the role of glial cells in brain diseases. The overall aim is to elucidate the molecular and functional changes in glia that contribute to the pathogenesis of neurological and psychiatric diseases. Her work is translational and includes studies on glial cells in human post-mortem brain tissue, in human cell models, and in mouse models for brain diseases. Elly was trained as a medical biologist with a specialization in molecular neurobiology. After her PhD in Utrecht, she obtained a Max-Planck Fellowship to work at the Max-Planck-Institute for Psychiatry in Martinsried. In 1997, she started as a post-doc at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience in Amsterdam, and between 2003 and 2013 she headed the group “Astrocyte Biology & Neurodegeneration”. As of 2013 she works as a principal investigator at the department of translational neuroscience, UMC Utrecht Brain Center. She is in the editorial board of Glia, chair of the scientific advisory board of Alzheimer Nederland, chair of GliaNed, director of the Neuroscience Master and PhD program of the Utrecht University Graduate School of Life Sciences, and director of education Division Neuroscience at the UMCU.
Paul Lucassen is full professor at the Brain Plasticity goup at the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, Center for Neurosciences (SILS-CNS) of the University of Amsterdam. Their research focusses on the molecular, nutritional, pharmacological and environmental regulation of Brain Plasticity. The main topics of their research revolve around adult neurogenesis & stem cells in relation to (early life) stress, nutrition, exercise, cognition, depression, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.
After obtaining his PhD cum laude at the Neth. Brain Institute, Amsterdam with Prof.Dr. Dick F. Swaab in 1995, Paul did a Postdoc on stress, apoptosis, APOE/dementia and depression at the LACDR in Leiden under the supervision of Prof. D.r E.R. De Kloet. From 1998 to 2011 he has been working as assistant Professor with Prof.Dr. M Joels, and later became associate Professor and group leader at the SILS-CNS of the University of Amsterdam. As of 2011 he was appointed as full professor of Brain plasticity and works as a principal investigator at this same institute. He is the author of more than 180 peer-reviewed scientific publications and 25 book chapters. He gave over 220 invited lectures. His Hirsch factor is 54 and his work was cited more than 9200 times. He received the Organon Price for Endocrinology in 1995 and the SILS Award in 2014. He is a visiting professor at the Wuhan University in China.
Manuela Neumann, M.D. is Professor of Neuropathology at the University of Tübingen, Germany, Medical Director of the Department of Neuropathology of the University Hospital, and Senior Group Leader at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases.
Her main research focus is to unravel the molecular pathology and underlying pathomechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases by studying human tissues and animal models. She is internationally recognized for her pioneering work on the identification and characterization of TDP-43 and FET proteins in frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. She has published over 160 peer-reviewed articles and has received several prestigious research awards, including the European Grand Prix from the French Foundation for Research into Alzheimer‘s and the Alzheimer Research Award from the Hans&Ilse Breuer Foundation in 2012.
Manuela Neumann serves as a member of the editorial board of Acta Neuropathology and as member of the scientific advisory board of Alzforum and the Alzheimer-Forschungs Initiative e.V.
Dr. Henrietta Nielsen earned her PhD from Lund University researching serine protease inhibitors in relation to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). She trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the VU Medical Center Amsterdam focusing on amyloid-beta clearance and the influence of amyloid-associated-proteins like apolipoproteins E and J in primary cultures of human astrocytes and microglia. Further work of hers at Lund University entailed biomarker discovery efforts focusing on CSF alpha-synuclein levels and various inflammatory markers in patients with AD and synucleinopathies like Parkinson’s disease and DLB. Dr Nielsen also spent several years as a research associate at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville FL where she studied the individual apolipoprotein E isoform levels in plasma and CSF from AD and controls. Dr. Nielsen now heads the Translational Neurodegeneration Research Team at Stockholm University with major efforts invested in assessing the role of alpha-synuclein in AD pathophysiology, and potential links between liver-derived apolipoprotein E and neurodegeneration of the brain. She serves as a senior editor of Molecular Neurodegeneration and an associate editor of the Journal for Alzheimer’s Disease while splitting her time between positions as an associate professor of neurochemistry at Stockholm University and an associate professor of molecular biology at Roskilde University.
Florence Pasquier, MD, PhD in Cognitive Psychology, is professor of Neurology, head of the Memory Clinic at the University Hospital of Lille, France, also the French Reference Centre for Young Onset Dementia.
She leads a network of memory clinics in the North of France (4 million inhabitants), and the Regional Network for Care of Demented Patients Méotis, which aims to coordinate public and private medical, social, and psychological resources for patients with dementia. She is involved in clinical research on cognitive and behavioural disorders in Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. She uses a multidisciplinary approach thanks to clinical and basic research collaborations in neurology, neuropsychology, behaviour, biology, and brain imaging.
Her main domains of interest are 1) early and differential diagnosis of dementia with a special concern about non-Alzheimer diseases (frontotemporal dementia, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies,…) especially frequent in young patients 2) the links between vascular and degenerative diseases, and 3) the natural history of dementia, with the aim of improving the clinical management of these diseases. ORCID https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9880-9788. She is PI of the Lille Centre of Excellence for Neurodegenerative Diseases LICEND, member of the Labex DISTALZ, of Inserm1171 “Cognitive impairment in neurodegenerative and vascular disorders”, and current VP of the Inserm Neurosciences committee. Her group belongs to DIAN-TU, and GENFI-2.
MD & Medical license, 1994, Charles Univ., Prague, Czech Republic
DrMedSc (PhD) 1994, Uppsala Univ., Sweden
Docent (Assoc. Professor) 1999, Medical Biochemistry, GU, Sweden
Professor 2015- , Clinical Neuroscience, GU, Sweden
Member of Academia Europaea (Medicine and Physiology)
Prof. Pekny’s laboratory focuses on the development of novel strategies for brain repair and regeneration. With their collaborators, they redefined the concept of reactive gliosis in injured brain (PNAS, 2006), and showed that reactive astrocytes play key roles after CNS trauma, in post-traumatic neuroprotection (J Cell Biol., 1999; J. Neurosci., 2004) and in the progression of neurodegenerative diseases (J. Neurosci., 2011; FASEB J., 2013). They demonstrated that the integration of neural transplants and neural stem cells can be improved by modulation of reactive gliosis (Nature Neurosci., 2003; Stem Cells, 2007), and showed that astrocytes control the neurogenic niche via Notch signaling which depends on the intermediate filament (nanofilament) system of astrocytes (Stem Cells, 2012; J. Neurochem., 2015; Cereb. Cortex, 2019). Pekny’s laboratory demonstrated that reactive astrocytes play a major role in ischemic stroke, and identified astrocyte intermediate filaments as a potential target for pharmacological intervention in CNS diseases (JCBFM, 2008; Stroke, 2012; Physiol. Rev., 2014; Acta Neuropatol., 2016; Cerebral Cortex, 2017).
Dr. Stephan Schilling is biochemist by education. He received his PhD in biochemistry and habilitation (Dr. Sci.) in pharmacy from the university of Halle(Saale), Germany. Currently, he is heading the group for Protein and Drug Biochemistry at the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology. Before joining Fraunhofer, he was project head and director of Enzymology at Probiodrug AG, having >10 years of biotech experience. The major aim of Dr. Schilling’s work is drug target validation and discovery of lead molecule for treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, inflammation and fibrosis. One special research interest is the role of posttranslational modifications of proteins in pathophysiological conditions. He successfully investigated human glutaminyl cyclases as novel drug targets in Alzheimer’s disease and systemic inflammatory disorders. One particular interest was translational studies in animal models for defining required target occupancy in clinics. Dr. Schilling has co-authored more than 25 patents and >60 publications. He is co-founder of Periotrap pharmaceuticals GmbH (2018).
Annerieke has always been fascinated by the complexity of the brain, i.e. how changes in its molecular and cellular components and its circuitry can affect how we think, feel and behave. During her studies in Biological and Neuropsychology, Annerieke became intrigued with memory formation and the loss of it in Alzheimer’s disease. From 2007 to 2012 she conducted her PhD at the School of Mental Health and Neuroscience at Maastricht University (the Netherlands) in 2012, where she investigated the effects of prenatal stress and phosphodiesterase inhibition on the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, gaining expertise in Alzheimer mouse models, mouse behavior, immunohistochemistry and microscopy. Wanting to enhance her molecular biology skills, she started her postdoc within the laboratory of Prof. Bart De Strooper. By using combining miRNA deep sequencing, qPCR, in situ hybridization, local miRNA overexpression and mouse behavior, she found 6 neuronally expressed miRNAs that could contribute to Alzheimer-related memory deficits. Moreover, by combining human GWAS data and mouse transcriptomics Annerieke unraveled that genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease determines how microglia react to amyloid-β pathology, but not to TAU pathology. Annerieke is currently continuing this line of research by investigating how microglia from people with high polygenic risk differ from those with a low polygenic risk.
Professor St George-Hyslop has made major contributions to the understanding of the functional genomics of multiple human neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer disease, frontotemporal dementia and ALS. He has played a major role in cloning of genes associated with susceptibility to these disorders including APP, APOE, PS1, PS2, SORL1, TREM2 and several others. He has built protein structural, molecular, cellular and animal models of these disorders, and used them to explore candidate therapeutics including early work on anti-Abeta vaccines, inhibitors of Abeta aggregation, and inhibitors of gamma-secretase, and microglial modulators such as CSF1R inhibitors. He is currently University Professor in the Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine at The University of Toronto, and Professor of Experimental Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge. He has received numerous academic honours including election to the Royal Society of London, Royal Society of Canada, US National Academy of Medicine, the Order of Canada and the UK Academy of Medical Sciences, as well as the Howard Hughes International Scholar Award, Potamkin prize, Metropolitan Life Award, Dan David Prize, Ryman Prize, Zenith Award and Royal College of Physicians of Canada Gold Medal in Medicine.
Prof. Harry Steinbusch is appointed as Professor in Cellular and Translational Neuroscience at University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. He is involved as Strategy Advisor Academic Relations in particular in relation to China, Japan and Korea. He is the Director of the Dutch - China Universities Network, including 12 Universities in both countries. He is Past-President of the International Neurotoxicity Society. He is Founding-Director of the European Graduate School of Neuroscience, a gathering of 8 universities in the EUregio, between the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France and Luxembourg. He has been involved for 13 years as Director of the School for Mental Health and Neuroscience at UM. He is Founding-Director of NENS - Network of European Neuroscience Schools. He is Founding and current Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy, current i.f. 2.4. He is affiliated with the KPMU in Kyoto, Japan; University Of Colombo, Sri Lanka; University of Sao Paulo, Brazil and Capital National University, Beijing, China.
His research interest is focused on the neurodevelopmental influences between depression and neurodegenerative diseases, i.e. Alzheimer’s Disease as studied in animal models and human material. This approach will be implemented to start and prevent neurodegenerative processes. These studies uses a broad range of techniques, i.e. molecular neurobiology, quantitative neuromorphology, animal behavior and epigenetics. He has thus far guided 99 Ph.D. students. He has gathered a total of 495 papers. He has been twice coordinating a Marie Curie Early Stage Training site. He was coordinator of an Erasmus Mundus + program between 4 Euron universities and 3 universities in Japan. He is affiliated on 27 editorial board and member of 20 International review committees. His current Hirsch factor is 93, citations without self-citations: 34,538 and his M-factor is 2.3.
Wiesje van der Flier (1975) is full professor and head of clinical research at the Alzheimer center Amsterdam at Amsterdam UMC, the Netherlands, where she works since 2004. She studied neuropsychology at the University of Utrecht. In addition, she is clinical epidemiologist. She is leads the Amsterdam Dementia Cohort, an ongoing memory-clinic based cohort including over 6000 patients with deep phenotyping (MRI, EEG, CSF biomarkers, and PET) and linked biobank (blood, DNA, CSF). The Amsterdam Dementia Cohort is at the basis of many of the studies performed at the VUmc Alzheimer center. Van der Flier has been (co)promotor of >20 theses and is currently supervising ~10 PhD projects. Van der Fliers main research areas are (i) finding the origin of disease, (ii) diagnosis&prognosis, (iii) intervention and prevention. Together with colleague Philip Scheltens, she has written a book, het Alzheimermysterie, which was published by the Arbeiderspers.
Sheela Vyas is INSERM researcher in the Department of Neurosciences Paris-Seine at University of Sorbonne. She leads research team working on environmental stress and chronic inflammation in neurodegenerative diseases in the laboratory “Gene regulation and Adaptive behaviors”. Her research focus is molecular dissection of actions of glucocorticoid, stress hormone which exert wide ranging regulatory actions impacting neuronal, immune and endocrine systems. The research is preclinical using refined mouse models, in vitro cell cultures and organotypic slices as well as translational involving patient samples.