INDRC will apply the most advanced knowledge of neural networks and integrative neurophysiological systems that control memory, cognitive function, and brain health towards developing early intervention therapies with the greatest potential for reversing and preventing Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders. The research will use multimodal disciplines to identify and unlock therapeutic points of intervention in perturbed neurodegenerative conditions using an integrative systems approach aimed at slowing, stopping, and when possible, reversing pathogenic processes that drive neurodegenerative disorders.
Brain systems biology is based on the understanding that maintaining healthy brain function requires a complex integration of systems composed of individual components. Therefore, the BSB program will deploy and integrate advanced cross-disciplinary neurophysiology, neural networks, molecular science, proteomics, and computational analyses tool to discover and develop new effective therapies and intervention modalities.
Brain Homeostatic Regulation & Clearance (BRC)
Maintenance of brain homeostasis and regulation of the brain clearance process is critical for the proper functioning of the ageing brain. Investigative research tools will be applied to understand the interconnection and regulation of the blood-brain barrier, interstitial and cerebrospinal fluids, and perivascular spaces within the brain parenchyma that regulate the removal of brain proteins and cellular waste products, which play a critical role in neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease.
The BRC program aims to uncover a foundational understanding of how perturbation of these processes affects disease progression, and links to genetic markers opening opportunities for points of intervention, identification of molecular or fluid biomarkers and improved personalized therapeutics based on disease phenotypes.
Proteomics & Protein Dynamics (PPD)
Conformational dynamics, oligomerization and aggregation propensities of proteins and peptides connected with AD and neurodegenerative disorders are key for understanding the molecular basis of this disease and the development of effective treatment.
Proteomics & Protein Dynamics Program (PPD) will conduct mechanistic studies and applied research projects initially in
Analysis of dynamics of Aβ42 peptide
Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationships
Bioinformatics & Artificial Intelligence (BIF)
Artificial intelligence (AI) has increasingly gained attention in bioinformatics research aiding in analysis and understanding the drivers of complex disorders and optimize interventions. AI technologies are useful in many areas, starting from collection and analysis of vast amounts of data, prediction of cognitive impairment of patients to improve the prognosis of the disease, to discoveries of potential drugs and biological targets for better treatments.
Within the Bioinformatics & Artificial Intelligence Program (BIF), we aim to leverage the team’s world-class expertise in both foundational AI and its applications to
Develop new machine-learning models to identify potentially active molecules for a variety of neurodegenerative disorders (ND)
Provide new advanced machine learning models for the analysis of computer simulations for assessment and verification of ND drugs
Develop autonomous cognitive assessment technology and autonomous non-biased image recognition to speed up and increase the efficacy of ND clinical trials
Share best practice with healthcare professionals to increase trust in AI and computer simulations
Genetics & Genomics (GEN)
Discovering the role of genetic risk and protective factors is an important area of neurodegenerative disorders research. Identifying genetic variants may help researchers find the most effective ways to treat or prevent neurodegenerative disorders in an individual.
The Genetics & Genomic Program (GEN) aims to further determine how genetic risks, protective factors, as well as lifestyle and environmental factors, affect the disease presence and progression. Additional genes and loci that contain genetic regulators influence genes on specific disease biomarkers, such as a number of amyloid plaques or neurofibrillary tangles, or concentrations of beta-amyloid and tau in cerebrospinal fluid. Identification of mutations that cause early-onset familial AD can help vulnerable groups to benefit from new interventions and treatments as soon as possible.
Socio-Economic Impacts (SEI)
The program includes research on the cost of illness in the area of neurodegenerative disorders, including novel approaches to the quantification of indirect costs, including their effects on informal caregivers. Evaluation of cost-effectiveness of potential new therapies for neurodegenerative disorders is necessary to help to guide clinical and applied research. The preparedness of healthcare systems is a key to adopt and effectively administer novel therapies to all indicated patients, with a specific focus on socially, economically, geographically and culturally disadvantaged groups. Improvement of screening processes, implementation of emerging diagnostic tools (e.g. blood-based biomarkers) as well as identification of barriers leading to delayed reporting of initial disease symptoms will have a strong impact on society. Finally, the assessment of the clinical and economic potential resulting from better care coordination and disease management will be provided.
Artificial Intelligence & Bioinformatics
Social Science & Humanities
Integrate knowledge and develop new insights on neurodegenerative disorders
Combining applied clinical research,life science, computer science and engineering to formulate and answer important new question