Founded in 1964, INSERM is a public scientific and technological institute, which operates under the joint authority of the French Ministries of Health and Research. The institute is dedicated to biomedical research and human health, and is involved in the entire range of activities from the laboratory to the patient’s bedside. It also partners with the most prestigious research institutions in the world that are committed to scientific challenges and progress in these fields. INSERM will be participating with 3 teams in REMEDIA.
Partner 1a: Mondor Institute of Biomedical Research (IMRB) - GEIC2O team
Principal investigator: Dr. Sophie Lanone
The general scientific objective of GEIC2O team is to understand the interplay between genetic and environmental factors in the development of lung diseases throughout the life (namely from children to adults).
We particularly focus on lung diseases of non-genetic (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD) and genetic (Cystic Fibrosis and surfactant disorders) origins.
The large pluridisciplinarity of GEIC2O team staff comprising MD (lung specialists – adult and pediatricians, occupational medicine, geneticists, ear/nose/throat specialists, and lung pathologist) as well as PhD (in cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry, genetic, bioinformatics and respiratory physiology) allows us to develop a comprehensive scientific approach ranging from in vitro experimental work to preclinical models and patient cohorts.
Four main research axes:
- Molecular bases of cigarette smoke-induced COPD
- Genetic and cellular bases of CF and surfactant disorders
- Resolution of inflammation in lung diseases – New theme
- Environmental aggressions and course of lung diseases
Partner 1b: Mondor Institute of Biomedical Research (IMRB) - CEpiA team
Principal investigator: Prof. Etienne Audureau
The IMRB CEpiA team is a research team focusing on developing geriatric clinical epidemiology and studies aimed at improving understanding of the ageing processes leading to frailty and multimorbidity, both at the hospital level and in primary care setting.
CEpiA is a multidisciplinary team that gathers the complementary capabilities of epidemiologists and biostatisticians, geriatricians and general practitioners involved in both academic primary care research and clinical practice in the field.
CEpiA has gained an expertise in handling large scale long-term follow-up cohorts (ELCAPA cohort, N=3000 older cancer patients enrolled; SUCCEED study >700 patients aged over 50 years enrolled), in building of predictive models based on clinic biological markers and in analysing and mining large databases such as the French claims database linked to hospital discharge database in geriatric setting, or the OMG (Observatoire de Médecine Générale).
Partner 1c: Research Institute for Environmental and Occupational (IRSET)
Principal investigator: Dr. Bénédicte Jacquemin
Headed by Dr Bernard Jégou, this team is part of the Research Institute for Environmental and Occupational INSERM 1c: Health (IRSET – INSERM Unit 1085) is composed of ten teams focused on well identified research areas, and two R&D platforms.
Its mission is to improve human health by studying biological processes and environmental factors that influence them, and to enable public authorities to make informed decisions.
To do so, IRSET is a multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research center fostering tight links between different facets of research, training, expertise, technology, and clinical studies, with the ultimate aim to better understand the effects of environmental factors - physical, chemical (from industrial, agricultural, urban and pharmaceutical origins), biological, sociocultural - and their possible interactions on human.
Principal investigator: Prof. Patrice Coll
LISA (Laboratoire Inter-universitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques), is a mixed research laboratory between Paris-Est Créteil University (UPEC), University of Paris (UP) and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).
The main research themes in LISA relate to the understanding of the functioning of Earth’s and planetary atmospheres and of the impacts related to the changes of the atmospheric composition due to human activities.
The methods used are based on direct observations in the atmosphere, on experimental simulations performed in the laboratory and on various numerical modeling approaches. It comprises 130 persons belonging to 5 research teams, and 2 transverse departments: one devoted to the Technical/Engineering support (around 30 persons), and one devoted to the administrative support (8 persons).
The scientific output of the LISA over the last 5 years amounts to more than 100 publications/year, including high-cited ones: Nature, Science, PNAS etc.
In the field of training, LISA took care in the same period the passage of 25 university PhD graduations, and is in charge of one of the main Masters for Environmental Sciences (SGE Master, master-sge.com, around 150 students/year).
Teams from LISA are invested in several European projects and report > 100 international collaborations with laboratories around the world, mainly Europe and North America.
One of the LISA group thematics deals with the Air Quality, Health Impacts and Cultural Heritage.
Since 25 years, researchers and engineers are involved in studying processes and impacts of Atmospheric Pollution, using tools like experimental simulation at the laboratory, observations and numerical modeling. The work is supported by grants from ANR for French National Programme for Research, Programme d’investissement d’avenir (H2020 and EU Program like EuroChamp-2020 and ERA4CS-Dustclim, LabEx IPSL, EUR IPSL, project Make Our Planet Great Again ACROSS…), INSU-CNRS, …
Principal investigator: Prof. Ralph Epaud
The Centre Hospitalier Intercommunal de Créteil (CHIC) has the particularity to be a regional hospital with a strong link to the university especially for department committed to CF. Indeed Paediatric, Pulmonary and Ear- Nose-Throat departments are all headed by academics with strong involvement in basic and clinical research.
The CHIC hosts a Clinical Research Centre (CRC), certified in 2012 by the General Directorate of Care Supply. The CHIC clinical research centre (CRC) coordinates research and analysis of patient data. Research staff in charge of data collection and entry are assigned to the CRC. A clinical research associate is responsible for collecting clinical data. The pre-analytical processing and storage of biological samples are managed by a Biological Resource Center (CRB).
Principal investigator: Prof. Mette Sørensen
The research centre at the Danish Cancer Society employs 250 researchers and staff. The Principal Investigator (Mette Sørensen) works at the Diet, Environment and Genes (DGE) Unit. This Unit has a strong profile within epidemiology, with many experienced epidemiologist, and support from both biostatisticians and data managers.
A major overall aim of the Unit is to identify risk factors (and preventive factors) for disease in the work- and external environment. The perspective in identification of risk factors in the environment is to facilitate prevention of disease. We study a broad range of topics of traditional and genetic epidemiology, within the areas dietary patterns, lifestyle, environment and work environment, including biomarkers and gene-environment interactions. Furthermore, the diet Cancer and Health cohort are placed at this Unit, together with extensive expertise in using this cohort.
Principal investigator: Dr. Ariel Beresniak
Data Mining International SA (DMI) is an independent international research agency (SME) based in Geneva (Switzerland). DMI is specialized in advanced simulation modelling for decision-making in public health, risk assessment, Health Economics modelling, multi-criteria analyses, and optimal disease management strategies. DMI has managed international projects worldwide for the World Health Organization (WHO): Yellow Fever Risk Assessment initiative, Meningitis outbreaks prediction modelling in Africa, Human influenza global risk assessment and country capacity to respond, and the INSURE project (Infection Hazards Susceptibility Reduction).
DMI is also very active in European research as scientific coordinator or partner (FP7-ECHOUTCOME, FP7 SEMANTIC HEALTH NET, CHAFEA-FLURESP, 2020-VALUEHEALTH), or as sub-contractor in IMI (EHR4CR) and SANCO projects (EGOHID). DMI brings innovative solutions to international and national health organizations from the public and private sectors, including academia, public health and regulatory organizations, and other interest groups and stakeholders. Through its activities in applied research in public health, DMI has developed a network of public health activities at regional, national, and international levels.
Principal investigator: Dr. Joanna Holbrook
Cambridge Epigenetix aims to change the way medicine is practiced by reducing several routine and important diagnostic screening tests to a simple blood draw using the power of the 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) epigenetic modification.
Principal investigator: Prof. Kai Simons
Lipotype is a leading lipidomics provider and delivers comprehensive, absolutely quantitative lipid analysis services for clinical and biological samples on a high-throughput scale. Drawing on many years of cutting-edge research experience, Lipotype offers high quality lipid analysis services for a wide range of customers and applications including tissue and blood lipidomes, biomarker identification for clinical researchers, pharma and biotech companies as well as for the small-scale profiling needs of academic researchers. Lipotype is a spin-off company from the Kai Simons and Andrej Shevchenko labs of the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany.
Principal investigator: Dr. Gerhard Pohlmann
The “Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft für angewandte Forschung e.V.“, Europe‘s leading organization for applied research, consists of 72 institutes. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft acts autonomously in defining its own strategic orientation, on which it bases its planned research activities. This orientation is closely aligned to the objectives of national and European economic and research policies. It is an independent organization and takes a neutral stance with respect to the demands of individual interest groups in the domains of politics, industry or society. Around 70 percent of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s contract research revenue is derived from contracts with industry and from publicly financed research projects. International collaborations with excellent research partners and innovative companies around the world ensure direct access to regions of the greatest importance to present and future scientific progress and economic development.
Principal investigator: Prof. Spyros Pandis
Foundation for Research & Technology Hellas (FORTH) is one of the largest research centers in Greece with well-organized facilities, highly qualified personnel and a reputation as a top-level research foundation worldwide. The Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences (ICE-HT) was established in 1984, and is one of the six research institutes that constitute FORTH.
Currently, ICE-HT runs approximately 60 RTD projects in cooperation with industrial partners, universities, and research institutes from all over the world. ICE-HT has its own 6000 square meter facility, and more than 115 staff members and research associates (40 of which are PhD holders). The Institute has well equipped laboratories that have been used in a variety of research and technology problems involving physicochemical phenomena. ICE-HT is in close cooperation with the Department of Chemical Engineering in the University of Patras. Energy and the Environment is one of the three major areas of research and development of ICE-HT. The Laboratory for Air Quality Studies (LAQS) in FORTH has approximately 25 years of experience in the study of urban, regional, and global air quality and climate and has participated during the last 10 years in the EUCAARI, MEGAPOLI, CITYZEN, ACTRIS, ECLIPSΕ, PEGASOS, EUROCHAMP2020 and FORCeS EU projects. The group consists of about 20 researchers and its work focuses on air quality and climate change.
Principal investigator: Prof. Patrick Wagner
KU Leuven, founded in 1425, is the oldest and largest university in Belgium. In 2019, KUL is at place 48 of the THE World University Ranking and on place 1 of the Reuters’ Ranking of Europe’s most innovative universities.
The project will be hosted within the Laboratory for Soft-Matter Physics and Biophysics of the Department of Physics and Astronomy (part of the Faculty of Science). The laboratory with 5 full-time and 2 part-time professors is in a strong growth phase regarding staff members, scientific output, and instrumental facilities. The team has solid expertise in the physics of polymers, glasses, liquids and biological matter, especially at the molecular and cellular levels. The analytical facilities include dielectric spectroscopy, microgravimetry, photo-acoustics, calorimetry, and scanning probe microscopy including nanoscale optics.
Principal investigator: Prof. Torkjel M Sandanger
UiT is the world’s northernmost University with 11,000 students, 670 PhD students and 2,700 employees. The Department of Community medicine is responsible for several cohorts and large bio-banks. The systems epidemiology research group, where Torkjel M Sandanger is the Principal Investigator, has a strong profile within molecular epidemiology, cancer epidemiology and epidemiology. The group consist of experienced epidemiologists, biostatisticians, students and data managers.
The research group focuses on studying molecular alterations in blood prior to cancer diagnosis using different OMIC techniques (eg. epigenetics, transcriptomics and metabolomics) in order to enhance our understanding of immunological changes in blood prior to and in the early stages of cancer. Our studies include traditional and systems epidemiology approaches to identify preventable risk factors of disease. Key aspects are dietary patterns, nutritional status, lifestyle and environmental factors, as well as the mechanism of actions for chronic diseases.
The Norwegian Women and Cancer Study with the 60 000 biobanked blood samples is coordinated through the systems epidemiology research group.
Principal investigator: Kristina Fiedler
Founded in 2000, Inserm Transfert SA is the private subsidiary of the French National Institute of the Health and Medical Research (Inserm), dedicated to technology transfer (from invention disclosure to industrial partnership). Inserm Transfert runs a comprehensive set of technology transfer activities from classical value chain activities to unique solutions:
- Scouting & Intellectual property management, with a philosophy of giving a chance to all innovations (portfolio of 1673 patent families in 2017)
- Early development & Proof-of concept support for therapeutics and diagnostics (biomarkers), with a philosophy of maximum consolidation of the earliest phases, with more than 15 M€ since 2009 with the objective to create value. In 2017, 281 projects were detected and about 400 contracts and licences were signed.
- Setting up public multi-private partnerships on cohorts, databases, biobanks & public health management
- Collaborative Research Funding: setting up proposals and managing collaborative research projects (FP7, H2020, IMI, national programmes, etc.)
Wellspring Kft. (WLSG)
Principal investigator: Dr. Laurent Niddam
WLSG is a legal consultancy office specialized in government affairs and settlement of international disputes. WLSG advises private parties and governments on foreign investments and crisis management, including on corruption and ethical issues. In addition, WLSG has developed an expertise in state's responsibility to fulfil its moral mandate towards its citizenry. This international experience in legal mechanisms has been used in various fields to support decision making between collective and individual interests.
Project Management & Coordination
- To ensure the project reaches its objectives and expected impacts;
- To put in place the procedures and tools needed to ensure the progress of REMEDIA in conformity with work plan and to produce timely and quality results and oversee conformity of activities to EC rules and to the Consortium agreement;
- To organize project meetings, prepare project reports and ensure good internal communication amongst partners.
Data integration and exposome-phenotype associations
- To integrate within a unified database all preexisting data relevant to REMEDIA’s research objectives from the participating cohorts
- To enrich the resulting database with public available environmental and contextual information matched with subjects geocoded residence and newly conducted OMICs analyses in targeted case-controls studies
- To conduct descriptive analyses and unsupervised clustering approaches to characterize COPD/CF phenotypes
- To explore exposome-phenotype associations through an exposome-wide association study approach
The main objective of WP3 is the development of a sensor device that combines measurements of external exposome and health data in exhaled air.
More precisely, the objectives are:
- To develop an environmental sensor for relevant air pollutants (PM, VOC, NOx, O3…)
- To develop a biosensor platform for human exhaled air (exhalat)
- To specialize the sensor for a defined biomolecule for COPD patients
- To show correlation of biosensor signal with environmental sensor system in a clinical challenge setting
Simulation of exposome in preclinical models
The main objective of WP4 is to reproduce the health impacts of the exposome(s) in naïve, COPD or CF preclinical models.
More specifically, the objectives are:
- To generate representative atmospheres, especially in term of micro-pollutants (PM, VOC, NOx, O3…)
- To implement more complex simulated external exposome (noise, physical activity…)
- To expose preclinical models to these atmospheres
The main objective of this WP is to investigate the risk assessment of exposome related lung diseases.
The specific objectives of WP5 are:
- To develop original Artificial Intelligence (AI) models using machine-learning techniques to select and quantify the relative importance of the most predictive exposome factors for assessing the risk of lung disease
- To collect a selection of key exposome risk factors data for lung disease across EU member states and to construct an innovative synthetic risk indicator in order to design an exposome risk map of Europe related to lung disease.
The main objective of WP6 is to carry out economic assessment of the relation between exposome and the course of COPD/CF, and to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of candidate preventive strategies.
The specific objectives of WP6 are:
- To develop an econometric model between exposure and health outcomes
- To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of most relevant preventive strategies
Communication, Dissemination and exploitation activities
The main objective of the WP7 is to organize a well-targeted dissemination effort to ensure a maximum impact of the project and release the full exploitation potential of our results.
Specifically, the WP aims at:
- Raising awareness of the project, dissemination of the results to the relevant community (scientific community/policy makers/health regulators/NGO’s etc.)
- Provide guidelines & recommendations based on REMEDIA findings to better predict disease risk
- Promoting interaction with other Human Exposome projects and contribution to cluster formation, collaboration and tool-sharing (WP8)
European Human Exposome Network Activities
- Establish a European Human Exposome Network comprising all projects funded from the call ‘SC1-BHC-28-2019: The Human Exposome Project: a toolbox for assessing and addressing the impact of environment on health’ and implement joint actions
- Set up an external Network Advisory Board (NAB), providing strategic advice to the network
- Develop and implement a common communication and dissemination strategy for the European Human Exposome Network
- Develop and implement a joint strategy on how scientific evidence can be translated to policy
- Organise periodic meetings of the European Human Exposome Network
- Establish joint working groups on topics of interest
The objective is to ensure compliance with the ethics requirements set out in this work package.