34 projects

Multi-omics evaluation of microbial co-infection as marker of COVID-19 severity -(CO-INFECTOMICS)

The main goal of this project is to understand if SARS-CoV2 co-infections are a predictive marker of disease severity in the Luxembourgish population. To achieve this, the study will compare the respiratory and stool samples of mild and severe SARS-CoV2 positive patients. Using metagenomics and metatranscriptomics, microbial profiles of the respiratory and intestinal tracts will be investigated, with a specific attention for co-infections. Moreover, individual microbial profiles will be correlated to the health parameters and immune response. We hope that the CO-INFECTOMICS project will ena...

Docking and binding affinity prediction for candidate small molecule inhibitors of COVID-19 prote...

Currently no vaccine or sufficiently validated pharmacological treatment is available for COVID-19. Drug-based strategies to reduce the viral load in patients with severe forms of COVID-19 include the repurposing of existing small molecule compounds that inhibit the activity of key viral proteins, or human proteins involved in mediating the viral entry or release from the host cell. However, so far, the identified small molecule inhibitors for SARS-CoV-2 target proteins studied in-vitro have significant limitations in terms of their binding affinity to the target, their bioavailability in t...

Screening for small molecule activators of mesenchymal stem cells as potential therapeutics for C...

Some COVID-19 patients have been successfully treated with mesenchymal stem cells. Most probably, the positive effect comes from the immunomodulatory function of mesenchymal stem cells on the inflammatory burst in the virus-damaged alveolar region. An already established 3D in vitro model representing the alveolar barrier will be enriched with mesenchymal stem cells to further increase the similarity to the human in vivo situation. We suggest to use these alveolar models as a tool to screen for small molecules that activate endogenous mesenchymal stem cells and that have therefore therapeut...

COVID19-induced changes to the plasma proteome

Studies focussing on human coronavirus found so far seven different viruses including SARS, MERS and COVID19. SARS, MERS and COVID19 present with various flu-like symptoms up to respiratory distress. Secondary symptoms include kidney problems, cardiovascular problems and neurological signs, like headache and nausea. In the case of the SARS infection, it has been shown that the virus can invade the central nervous system in patients and laboratory animals. The infection of epithelial cells by a coronavirus will lead to a change of the cellular protein composition in response to the virus' ...

MicroRNA biomarkers of COVID-19 severity

The Cardiovascular Research Unit of LIH proposes to apply its know-how on RNA biomarkers to identify circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) able to predict COVID-19 severity. This project is included in COVID-19 Task force WP02 and aims to fulfill the medical need of identifying patients at high risk of developing complications after infection by SARS-CoV-2 virus. The discovery of novel prognostic biomarkers will help tailoring healthcare to each individual for patient's benefit. Considering the importance of the inflammatory storm on disease severity and patient outcome, we will focus on inflamma...

HUMAN GENETIC VARIANTS AS PREDICTORS OF THE IMMUNE RESPONSE TO COVID-19

One of the main unanswered questions is why some individuals infected with COVID-19 develop severe disease, whilst others do not. Current evidence suggests that genetic variations influence human immune reactions to microbial infections, including both innate and adaptive immune responses. Here, we aim to evaluate the impact of genetic factors on the variability of the innate immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. On top of a large screening of the classical immune response genes (e.g. IFNs, ILs, TLRs, MHCs), we are particularly interested in the IRG1/ACOD1 gene, which we previously di...

Investigating hindbrain infection by SARS-CoV-2

Emerging reports suggest an infection of the hindbrain, which e.g. regulates the unconscious breathing process, by SARS-CoV-2. Some patients report that they have to breath actively/conscious. We suggest to use hindbrain organoids, infect them with the virus, investigate phenotypes and test candidate small molecules.

Low-cost breath sensors for SARS-CoV-2 for home usage

Based on our research on liquid crystal droplets and shells demonstrating their responsiveness to specific substances in their surrounding, e.g. lipids, I would like to explore the possibility of making low-cost tests for SARS-CoV-2 that people can use in their home. We also make polymer fibers in our labs, and by using the right polymer, we can make a filter that a persons breathers through (mounted in, e.g., a face mask), and then the filter is dissolved in water, which is the natural surrounding for our liquid crystal droplets and spheres. If viruses have been caught in the filter, they ...

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