In October 2023, HALRIC approved four new pilot projects with cross-border teams, who will work towards developing new technologies or better understanding detailed mechanisms of specific proteins, bacterial resistance towards antibiotics or of diseases such as ischemic stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
“HALRIC received six proposals in September and a few weeks later our Pilot Project Committee approved four of them. They were all well aligned with the criteria to collaborate across borders, disciplines and in new constellations. And we are very excited that two of the projects also have industry involvement since we are convinced that companies can benefit from the process or outcome of using both small and large-scale Research Infrastructures with experienced partners in the HALRIC consortium,” underlines Kajsa M. Paulsson, HALRIC Project Director, Lund University (Lead Partner).
Bacterial resistance towards antibiotics, is one of the top three health threats identified by the European Commission (2022). One of the new HALRIC pilot projects is a collaboration between the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), the Center for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB) in Hamburg and the industrial partner JD Coils. Together they want to increase the understanding of how invading bacteria fuel their proliferation, as well as suggest new ways to treat infections. They will do so by combining information on host-pathogen interaction from light microscopy with metabolic information from Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR).
“The technology to combine light microscopy and metabolic studies with NMR has so far been missing and we are excited to develop the microfluidic chamber needed to bring the two technical modalities closer together – in collaboration with CSSB and JD Coils in Hamburg. We will soon meet to further discuss the process and our aim is to develop a chip prototype that can become a product and reach the market,” says Pernille Rose Jensen, Principal Investigator on the project from the Technical University of Denmark.
The second pilot project is a collaboration between Lund University, Aarhus University and the Swedish company Strominnate Therapeutics. The researchers plan to use a combination of structural methods, such as infrared spectroscopy, circular dichroism, SAXS, and transmission electron microscopy, to analyze the molecular structures of dendrimers (artificial macromolecules) alone and in the presence of amyloids (highly ordered protein aggregates).
“Together we want to enhance our understanding of the interaction between dendrimers and amyloids with the overarching aim of finding a formulation that can protect neurons from the protein aggregates associated with Alzheimer’s disease. We believe this knowledge is essential and will contribute to boost interdisciplinary collaboration as well as to educate the young researchers involved in this research,” concludes Oxana Klementieva, Principal Investigator on the project from the Medical Faculty at Lund University.
Four HALRIC Pilot Projects were approved as part of the second call for proposals in September 2023:
Proof-of-concept study of the conformational ensemble of intrinsically disordered proteins – combining molecular dynamics simulations (online description coming soon)