The DEVELAGE project ended december 2014.
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WELCOME TO DEVELAGE

Pathways common to brain development and ageing:
defining strategies for preventive therapy and diagnostics

OVERVIEW

ABOUT THE PROJECT

DEVELAGE was a research project exploring molecular pathways in the brain shared in early development and ageing. Our research led us to identify protein processing defects as early pathological processes contributing to neurodegenerative diseases (NDs) like Alzheimer`s (AD). The consortium understands DEVELAGE as a founding incentive and will continue to collaborate. Several research teams are now exploring different avenues to interfere with these processes with the aim to find ways to prevent or delay disease progression.




OUR AIM

The demographic changes our societies are facing have a major impact on the prevalence of age-related diseases. Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease are thus a major societal concern and threaten the sustainability of health care systems in Europe. One of the major challenges in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease is early detection, when therapeutic measures can still slow disease progression. However, the current knowledge is insufficient to identify the transition of normal brain ageing into Alzheimer’s disease-like brain damage. By using extensive human brain samples Develage could show degenerative processes in brains of healthy individuals occur, but at a lower level. This has extensive implications for preventing the onset of disease.

THE CONSORTIUM

COORDINATOR 
MEDICAL UNIVERSITY VIENNA

Gabor G. Kovacs, MD, PhD 
Medical University Vienna

AMSTERDAM MEDICAL CENTER

Eleonora Aronica, PhD
Amsterdam Medical Center

SAPIENZA UNIVERSITY OF ROME

Sigfrido Scarpa, PhD
Sapienza University Rome

TIERÄRTZLICHE HOCHSCHULE HANNOVER

Elke Zimmermann, PhD
Tierärtzliche Hochschule Hannover

UNIVERSITY OF MONTPELLIER 2

Jean-Michel Verdier, PhD
University of Montpellier 2

UNIVERSITÉ PARIS DIDEROT

Homa Adle-Biassette, PhD
University Paris Diderot

BIOLUTION GMBH

Iris Grünert, PhD
biolution GmbH

INSTITUT CATALA DE SALUT
HOSPITAL UNIVERSITARI DE BELLVITGE

Isidro Ferrer, PhD
Bellvitge Hospital Universitari

PROJECT REFERENCE

HEALTH-F2-2011-278486 
Scientific Officer: Antonella CANALIS 
Coordinator: Prof. Gabor Kovacs, Medical University Vienna 
EU Funding: EURO 2.994.137 
Duration: 36 months from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2014 

Contact: office@develage.eu

LEGAL STATEMENT

The EU project “DEVELAGE” was a collaborative project of the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union with the Grant Agreement No.:
FP7-HEALTH-2011-278486.

CORDIS LINK

 

IMPACT

OUTPUT


MAIN APPROACH

The main approach of DEVELAGE aimed at evaluating normal brain ageing and brain development to improve our understanding of what goes wrong in disease. Using advanced animal models and human tissue we have identified new factors suitable to reverse or halt disease progression, which may be exploited as therapeutically relevant target-molecules:

DNA METHYLATION

We explored the pattern of DNA methylation in many neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Based on our DNA methylation maps of mouse and human brain we identified new target genes in Alzheimer’s disease.

α-SYNUCLEIN

We have shown that brain cells internalize disease-associated proteins like α-synuclein, suggesting prion-like cell-to-cell spread of the disease by uptake from surrounding structures.

SIRTUIN EXPRESSION

We observed complex patterns of sirtuin expression in correlation with tissue damage, which should be taken into account when searching for therapies interacting with sirtuins.

micro-RNA-146a

We have defined an important role of microRNA-146a in human neurological disorders associated with chronic inflammation, which may represent a novel target for therapeutic strategies.



OUTLOOK


Develage has successfully explored the links between brain development and neurodegeneration through the analysis of common cellular processes. While the research has achieved significant progress and answered many questions it is the nature of research that these results pose new and exciting prospects for research. The unique combination of expertise with large collections of brains, new animal models and modern molecular biology provides a firm basis for approach these research challenges through further collaborative research. The Develage consortium therefore maintains strong links through regular meetings and symposia to foster scientific exchange. The consortium actively explores funding opportunities on the national and European level to finance the ambitious research approaches. If you are interested to in our research please inform yourself here about our future activities and the outcome of our research in the form of publications.

Protein degradation

Research by the Develage consortium have revealed protein processing and degradation as a crucial contributor to brain aging and neurodegenerative processes in proteinopathies like Alzheimer’s disease. We will explore these processes for their potential for diagnostic methods to identify patients earlier. This can expand the window for therapeutic intervention and reduce the burden of disease by improving the quality of life for patients and their families.

Epigenetic processes

Develage has explored successfully epigenetic changes during brain aging and the development of disease. As epigenetic processes are increasingly recognised as essential for the maintenance of cell fate and tissue integrity, current research focuses on the potential of known modifiers of epigenetic processes like DNA methylation for their potential to modify disease progression.

Animal model

Develage pioneered with the mouse lemur a new animal model for brain aging. The challenge is now to explore the potential of this animal model further by implementing modern reverse genetics and intervention studies.

DISSEMINATION

PUBLICATIONS

Currently a staggering 49 research reports have been published within DEVELAGE, this is one publication per month. And there are more to come!



MEETINGS

Researchers from eight partner institutions met regularly forming a closely knit network, which will support collaborations beyond the lifetime of the project. The total of seven internal meetings were attended cumulatively by 138 attendants indicating an intense scientific exchange.

EVENTS

The Develage project aimed to network scientists in brain research and spread the existing expertise to young researchers through workshops and scientific symposia. These events were adopted supported successfully the expansion of existing interactions and collaborations.

STRATEGY


DEVELAGE followed a conservative dissemination strategy to maximize cost effective awareness of the scientific output primarily in the scientific community. There was a considerable number of press reports in the general interest media in response to the initial press release and we are expecting further reports in response to the final symposium which brings together international scientists in Vienna on November 27, 2014.

COLLABORATION WITH EURONEWS

FUTURIS: Deep inside the brain // DEVELAGE starts at 5:25 min
Copyright © European Commission 2014 / euronews 2014

COLLABORATION WITH HELLO BRAIN


DVD: The age of the brain // Hello Brain various short films
Copyright © Hello Brain / ASAPS 2014

more information:
www.asaps-home.com // www.hellobrain.eu



IMPRESSIONS AND QUOTES

KICK-OFF MEETING
VIENNA

Gabor Kovacs

"In hindsight we achieved more than expected at the beginning. DEVELAGE generated new ideas and new projects which we were able to complete through our excellent collaboration."

"An important aspect of our international collaboration was the support for the younger colleagues. They particularly benefitted from being part of our network, and I was happy to see their progress and their integration into our research community."

PROJECT MEETING
ROME

ELKE ZIMMERMANN

"DEVELAGE expanded our professional network to human neuropathologists. This enabled us to develop a novel cognitive test which forms the basis for future research into the more complex patterns of cognition and to get novel insights into the evolution and pathology of the brain."

PROJECT MEETING
HANNOVER

ELEONORA ARONICA

"We established collaborations, which will continue and I really hope in the near future a follow-up project with the DEVELAGE partners will be successfully funded to boost our collaborative research."

PROJECT MEETING
BARCELONA

training session: "-OMICS WORKSHOP"

ANDREA FUSO

"DEVELAGE was my first experience with a multicentre project and I enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with such an outstanding group of skilled and competent researchers. This project has greatly helped to develop my research portfolio."

PROJECT MEETING
AMSTERDAM

ISIDRO FERRER

"DEVELAGE was a memorable initiative and I deem it very useful to progress in all the fields started in Develage maybe with a relaunch of the project."

PROJECT MEETING
MONTPELLIER

training session: "CURRENT CONCEPTS OF NEURODEGENERATION"

IRIS GRÜNERT

"We are proud to have been part of the DEVELAGE consortium, which we could support with our skills and expertise. We were able to streamline the administrative duties effectively to ensure that the scientists could focus on their research and got the most out of their financial allocation. I am therefore convinced we could contribute to the scientific success of this project."

FINAL PROJECT MEETING
VIENNA

training session: "HANDS ON: BRAIN CUTTING"

JEAN-MICHEL VERDIER

"The scientific discussions during the DEVELAGE meetings gave us new ideas for developing our own research programme, which we want to explore for a better understanding of the link between developmental pathways and neurodegeneration."

CONTACT


DEVELAGE OFFICE
Dr. Iris Grünert
Helmut-Qualtinger-Gasse 2/2
1030 Vienna
office@develage.eu
office@develage.eu
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