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Brussels, Belgium

De Jonckheere J.F.,De Duve Institute | De Jonckheere J.F.,Scientific Institute of Public Health
Infection, Genetics and Evolution

Naegleria fowleri, a worldwide distributed pathogen, is the causative agent of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. Because it is such a fulminant disease, most patients do not survive the infection. This pathogen is a free-living amoeboflagellate present in warm water. To date, it is well established that there are several types of N. fowleri, which can be distinguished based on the length of the internal transcribed spacer 1 and a one bp transition in the 5.8S rDNA. Seven of the eight known types have been detected in Europe. Three types are present in the USA, of which one is unique to this country. Only one of the eight types occurs in Oceania (Australia and New Zealand) and Japan. In mainland Asia (India, China and Thailand) the two most common types are found, which are also present in Europe and the USA. There is strong indication that the pathogenic N. fowleri evolved from the nonpathogenic Naegleria lovaniensis on the American continent. There is no evidence of virulence differences between the types of N. fowleri. Two other Naegleria spp. are pathogenic for mice, but human infections due to these two other Naegleria spp. are not known. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. Source

De Duve C.,De Duve Institute
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences

The origin of life on Earth may be divided into two stages separated by the first appearance of replicable molecules, most probably of RNA. The first stage depended exclusively on chemistry. The second stage likewise involved chemistry, but with the additional participation of selection, a necessary concomitant of inevitable replication accidents. Consideration of these two processes suggests that the origin of life may have been close to obligatory under the physical-chemical conditions that prevailed at the site of its birth. Thus, an extrasolar planet in which those conditions were replicated appears as a probable site for the appearance of extra-terrestrial life. © 2011 The Royal Society. Source

De Jonckheere J.F.,De Duve Institute | De Jonckheere J.F.,Scientific Institute of Public Health
Experimental Parasitology

In this short overview of the genus Naegleria a brief historical sketch is given since the discovery of this amoeboflagellate in 1899 and the finding in 1970 that one species, Naegleria fowleri causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis in man. Eight different types of this pathogen are known which have an uneven distribution over the world. Until now 47 different Naegleria spp. are described, of which two other species cause disease in experimental animals, and their geographical dispersal is indicated. The presence of group I introns in the SSU and in the LSU rDNA in the genus is discussed, as well as the possibility of sex or mating. It is also mentioned that the genome of N. fowleri should not be compared to that of Naegleria gruberi, to know why the former is pathogenic, but to the genome of its closest relative Naegleria lovaniensis. © 2014 Published by Elsevier Inc. Source

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH-2007-1.2-2 | Award Amount: 4.70M | Year: 2008

The CARS EXPLORER seeks to demonstrate the concept of innovative light-based contrasting technologies for functional in situ imaging in life science and biomedical research. Our ultimate goal is to develop an endoscope based on non-linear optics (NLO) and laser pulse phase shaping. Non linear laser pulse interactions with living tissues provide unique possibilities, such as an absence of sample preparation, direct multiparametric visualization with molecular specificity and cellular resolution, and deep sample penetration. Nevertheless, the effective transfer of NLO to biomedical applications faces major technological challenges related to the delivery of ultra-short laser pulses, the weakness of the signal produced in biological samples and the difficulty in interpreting generated contrasts. Therefore, the CARS EXPLORER interdisciplinary consortium includes partners with expertise ranging from optical physics to the clinic. The work plan is split into 5 RTD workpackages: three are intended to overcome specific technological problems with (1) the development of dedicated methodology using phase shaping for NLO imaging of deep biological tissues, (2) the development of specific photonic crystal fibre optics for the excitation, delivery and collection of NLO signals, and (3) the extraction of relevant information from NLO signals generated in biological tissues. The two other workpackages will determine the assets and constraints in NLO imaging through appropriate experimental biological models. These models will also assess each technological improvement made on the microscope and endoscope prototypes. Last, to bring the concept to the diagnostic level, we will explore the molecular and morphological NLO signatures associated with tumor development in skin cancer. In addition to the challenge of developing pulse shaped NLO-based endoscope technology, this project will have strategic and economic impact by providing a non-invasive functional exploration method.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-ITN-2008 | Award Amount: 3.72M | Year: 2009

Aims: provide a cutting edge research training programme encompassing complementary approaches to the investigation of liver and pancreatic development and disease. Provide early stage researchers with a balanced mix of experience and skills in academic and industry based research. Give early stage researchers a set of transferrable skills which will improve their employment and career prospects. Objectives: 1) To provide a broad multi-disciplinary approach to liver and pancreatic development and disease which will ensure a solid foundation in research technology and methods. 2) To offer a number of multi-centre and cross-sector projects. 3) To organize regular meetings which will provide task-specific and complementary training in skills essential for career development. Implementation: 1) involvement of highly successful research leaders and groups (with expertise in different disciplines including systems biology and bioinformatics, developmental biology, genomics, genetics and epigenetics, cell biology, engineering and drug development) in design and running of this programme will ensure the cutting edge research methodology and multidisciplinary approach to training. 2) Each research project will involve minimum two partners. 3) Partners will alternate in organizing network meetings which will include laboratory courses, single-topic conferences and network workshops. 4) The experienced researchers recruited to the network will spend more time in the industrial setting and have more leadership training and responsibilities.

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