PMSMatTrain focuses on gaining a comprehensive understanding of the progressive phase of multiple sclerosis (PMS) from basics to translation, fully supported by eight beneficiaries (six research institutions and two SMEs).
The consortium will develop a multi-modal “tuneable” hydrogel-based medical device designed to bring about biphasic release of anti-inflammatory molecules and neuroprotective drugs as well as generating a clinically-relevant in silico model of drug elution and dispersal within the central nervous system. Using “state-of-the-art” 3D organotypic cultures and disease-relevant oligodendrocytes produced from MS patient-derived stem cells, the project will allow investigation MS pathophysiology as well as analysing the role of therapeutic molecules in combatting inflammation and promoting regeneration and neuroprotection. The industry partners will develop the end-device by providing standardised manufacturing protocols for scaled-up production and commercialisation of the final product.
PMSMatTrain is a multidisciplinary European Training Network that will educate and train 15 Early Stage Researchers in functionalised biomaterials, materials science, stem cell biology, in vitro & pre-clinical models, molecular biology, in silico modelling, functionalisation strategies and prototype design.
Programme fellows will experience both public and private sector research and development and will be best placed to secure employment as high calibre, innovative and well-trained graduates.
Five students will be based in the CÚRAM lab at NUIG, while the remaining 10 will be based in institutions in Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and the Czech Republic. PIs involved are Prof Trevor Owens (Denmark), Dr Tanja Kuhlmann (Germany), Dr Bertrand Huard (France), Dr Damiana Pierogostina (Italy), Dr. Marlene Verhoye (Belgium), Dr Peter Ponsaerts (Belgium), Dr Martin Pravda (Czech Republic), Dr Anna Rodriguez (Spain).
European Union, Innovative Training Network Scheme. Dr FitzGerald is the lead PI and Coordinator of this doctoral training network. A total of 15 early-stage researchers (PhDs) will be trained in MS- and biomaterial-related research, including brain development, neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration, de- and remyelination.