"A great project needs a great team"
University of Milano
Department of Sciences and Biomedical Technologies
The Department is carrying out studies about genetic mechanisms of hypertension in humans and rodent animal models and dissection of hypertension into intermediate phenotypes; it is investigating the role of salt sensitivity in hypertension and end organ damage and the role of renal function abnormalities in hypertension and associated end organ damage. The Department is developing a software for genetic analysis of complex traits.
The Department laboratories are provided with ABI 7500 fast RT PCR system for high speed SNPs genotyping and expression; fully robotised Illumina Bead Station 500 GX, for array based high-throughput SNPs genotyping and expression; Fully equipped Hypertension Clinics for cases recruitment and phenotyping (ABPM, MR, electrophysiology, ultrasound techniques for assessing the level of TOD, salt sensitivity etc.)
In the HYPERGENES, the Department will be in charge of providing its historical cohort, perform the genomic and post genomic analysis and genotyping by Illumina technology. Besides UNIMI will be the project coordinator, managing the administrative aspects of the project and leading the scientific and technological development.
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Department of Molecular and Cardiology Research
Coordinator of the European Project on Genes in Hypertension (IC15-CT98-0329-EPOGH).
The study coordinating centre holds the EPOGH database and has a track record in coordinating large-scale clinical trials (SYST-EUR, APTH, THOP) and international projects, such as the international database on ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and international database on self-recorded blood pressure.
This Beneficiary has field centres in Lausanne, Leuven, Milan, Münster, Novosibirsk, Padua, Pilsen, Shanghai and Valencia; a database construction/maintenance and statistical analyses in Leuven; core facility for echocardiography in Leuven and core facilities for genotyping in Milan and Münster.
Jagiellonian University Medical College
First Department of Cardiology and Hypertension
The First Department of Cardiology and Hypertension runs a large hypertension clinic with facilities for clinical research both on an in-patient and out-patient basis, has special expertise in echocardiography and in the field of the assessment of quality of life. The scientific interest in the field of cardiology ranges from cardiovascular disease, through the non-invasive assessment of vascular structure and function (large arterial properties, microcirculation in hypertension) through various aspects of arterial hypertension (diagnosis and treatment). The Department participated in large clinical trials (ADVANCE, SCOPE, VALUE) and international scientific projects (EPOGH, Syst-Eur).
This Partner represents an established group of: 8 cardiologists, 8 specialists in internal medicine, 6 residents in internal medicine ; 5 European Specialists in Clinical Hypertension; 16 researchers in possession of doctoral degree, 6 PhD students; 3 researchers trained in the management of population-based studies (University of Leuven, Belgium; Prof. J. Staessen); 2 researchers trained in assessment of heart rate and blood pressure variability (University of Milan, Italy; Prof. G. Parati).
The facilities available for the project are: hypertension out-patient clinic; in-ward clinic for hypertensives and cardiac patients (34 beds); ultrasound laboratory (VIVID7 GE, Sonos 5500 HP devices, both equipped with probe for vascular measurements); non-invasive tests laboratory (ABP monitors Spacelabs 90207, Holter ECG monitors MultiTechMed GMBH DMS 300-9) deepfreezer for storing of biological samples.
In the framework of EPOGH study the First Department of Cardiology and Hypertension was involved in baseline evaluation and is currently involved prospective follow-up of the 326 subjects (86 nuclear families) recruited in Krakow for the EPOGH cohort (1999-2000), phenotyping with office BP measurements, 24h ABPM, standard ECG, blood chemistry, echocardiography (also TDI), Sphygmocor, collection of samples for further genotyping; participation in statistical analyses and preparation of publications.
Over scientific interests involve: assessment of coronary microcirculation in hypertensive patients with left ventricular hypertrophy; role of aldosterone in the remodeling of heart and large arteries in hypertension; relation of microalbuminuria and arterial stiffness in patients with hypertension and diabetes mellitus, inflammatory markers in patients with hypertension and peridental disease, morning blood pressure surge – relation to end-organ damage, functional and biochemical changes in hypertensive women in perimenopausal period, genetic factors in hypertensive left ventricular hypertrophy.
Science and Technology LTD
Opened as the IBM Scientific Center in 1972, the IBM Israel (IBM-HRL) counts close to 400 individuals; 25 percent of the technical staff have doctorate degrees in computer science, electrical engineering, mathematics, or related fields.
IBM-HRL is involved with two groups:
At the last 15 years the Healthcare and Life Science research group in HRL performs an extensive research in the area of medical imaging, medical image archiving, and medical data interoperability and exchange. In recent years the group concentrates on building an interoperability infrastructure for medical data exchange based on the IHE Cross Enterprise Document Sharing (XDS) profile.
Adjacent activity in the IBM Haifa Research Lab focuses on proteomic research. During the last five years, the HC & LS group researchers collaborated closely with biologists and biochemists in several laboratories, and developed tools to improve the analysis process in general, and to solve problems encountered by our colleagues, in particular.
The IBM-HRL machine learning group has a broad experience in the field. Various machine learning algorithms, and in particular Bayesian networks and support vector machines, have been successfully applied in projects dealing with simulation-based verification, information retrieval and time series analysis as well as bioinformatics. In particular, members of our group have a long-standing expertise in the core machine learning methods, data mining, and generative-discriminative techniques as well as applying machine learning and data mining in bio-medical and bio-informatics domains.
In the Hyper-Genes project, IBM will be in charge of data mining, theoretical models in System Biology development and providing technical support to genomic analysis; besides IBM will design and develop the data integration infrastructure, building the BII and will lead the post genomic analysis by the BII.
IMS Istituto di Management Sanitario S.r.l.
IMS Istituto di Management Sanitario (Healthcare Management Institute) is a consulting company, founded at the beginning of 2000, bringing together multidisciplinary professional skills developed in the last twenty years in different fields. It involves professionals with experiences in hospital and Health fields, developing projects in prestigious Italian and international Health Institutions.
IMS exclusively focuses its activities in the Health sector, in order to face problems linked to the Health area with a strongly innovative approach. The team is experienced in management of complex and comprehensive research projects in the field of ICT for health and in the field of molecular and genetic epidemiology.
IMS therefore presents itself as a privileged interlocutor for Governamental Institutions (Ministries, Councils, Scientific Societies), for public and private Institutions, Universities and companies working in the Healthcare and social assistance field, but also an interlocutor for the heads of different healthcare structures (hospitals, surgeries, ambulatories, departments, operating unites…), who are committed to a continuous optimisation of resources and improvement of the quality of services.
IMS is implementing several project related to health and medical information system, electronic patient record and RIS-PACS systems integrated with the HIS application (MPI, ADT, CPOE, emergency, etc.) at hospital and regional level.
Due to a central role that the Medical Imaging Area is gaining in healthcare sectors, IMS is strong involved in several projects related to information technology, organisation and technology assessment in medical imaging domain.
IMS has acted as technical coordinator in the ERDDS project, in the ambit of the EC e-Content programme.
IMS is experienced in the management of administrative issues linked to the preparation and submission of proposals.
In the HYPERGENES project, IMS will be involved in two major fields:
Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Medical Sciences
Institute of Internal Medicine
The IIM SB RAMS is an internationally recognized core centre conducting prospective long-term epidemiological studies such as WHO MONICA project (Multinational MONItoring of trends and determinants in CArdiovascular disease) followed by MORGAM cohort project, Cohort study of CVD in Eastern Europe. The Institute combines the epidemiological research with molecular biology in experimental settings. Prof Nikitin’s group conducted the European Project on Genes in Hypertension (IC15-CT98-0329-EPOGH) in Novosibirsk, Russia, in collaboration with Dr J. A. Staessen, who coordinates EPOGH. TheInstitute has necessary facilities for epidemiologic and fundamental research in cardiology: survey centre; instrumental facilities and expertise in ehcocardiography and vascular ultrasound; biochemical laboratory, laboratory facilities and expertise for DNA extraction and analyses.
The IIM SB RAMS will be involved in Step 1 of project: (i) with providing the clinical and environmental data, and biological material (DNA) for case-control and further analysis; (ii) follow-up survey for incidence of EH in existing cohort and ascertainment of cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular end points. The Institute has long-term experience in conducting of population surveys and prospective follow-up, studying of cardiac, vascular (BP, ultrasound) and biochemical phenotypes, and research in population genetics. In the frame of collaboration activity the Institute participated in WHO MONICA Project, EuroStroke Project, EPOGH Project, and currently it is involved in several international collaborative studies on CVD (particularly HT) epidemiology and genetics. The research team for current project is high-skilled. The IIM SB RAMS can contribute step 2 in generating of disease-associated pathways. In the frame of Step 4 IIM SB RAMS will participate in the dissemination of integrated experience and study results.
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health
Imperial College London is currently one of the major colleges of the University of London, and will become an independent university from 1st August 2007. The quality of the College’s research has consistently been judged to be of the highest international standard and the proportion of income from research grants and contracts is one of the highest of any UK university.
The Faculty of Medicine is one of the largest in the UK with significant research and teaching activities.
The Department of Epidemiology and Public Health carries out research in Environmental Epidemiology and Small Area Health Statistics; Biostatistics and Statistical Genetics; Largescale Population Collections; and Cancer Epidemiology. The Department has substantial funding from the UK Research Councils as well as from the EU, including for the European Prospective Investigation on Cancer (EPIC) and leads the London Regional Collaborating Consortium for the UK Biobank study; Paul Elliott, the head of department, is a member of the UK Biobank steering committee.
INSERM Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale
INSERM U772 "Genes and blood pressure" research laboratory
The main goal of our research laboratory, INSERM U772 "Genes and blood pressure" located at the Collège de France, is to identify genes and genetic variants that may affect blood pressure regulation and sodium and water homeostasis. This research unit is strongly linked to the Department of Genetics being located at the Hospital Georges Pompidou in Paris. Four main strategies are used. The first corresponds to the analysis of candidate genes in large case control studies. We have made an effort to recruitment families with familial essential hypertension (European Network EURNETGEN), secondary hypertension (renal fibrodysplasia, primary hyperaldosteronism, phaeochromocytomas in the COMETE Network). The second is to use the classical reverse genetic approach aiming at identifying loci and genes involved in mendelian forms of hypertension. We have recently contributed to the identification of the WNK1 and WNK4 genes as responsible for Gordon syndrome. The third corresponds to the analysis of the in vivo relevance of genetic variants shown to be functional in vitro. This analysis was recently performed for a loss-of-function polymorphism of the human tissue kallikrein gene. The fourth approach corresponds to the use of experimental models (conditional overexpression, conditional inactivation) to dissect the function of some genes of interest.
Our main task will be to provide clinical and biological data combined to DNA in 800 hypertensive patients living in France but originating from North Africa to allow powerful genome wide association studies. In the last 10 years, we have participated to this approach, with the collection of > 900 hypertensive families included in the French HYPERGENE dataset. We have studied several candidate genes and candidate loci. The hypertension Unit of the HEGP directed by Prof P.F. Plouin (PU-PH) is a national reference centre for this disease and sees over 1000 new patients per year. This centre constitutes an indispensable recruitment centre for patients and families with essential hypertension. We will continue our effort of collaboration for these large studies through the collection of hypertensive index cases and their families, allowing extension or replication of candidate genes or loci through the analysis of cases and matched controls and the analysis of concordant or discordant sibling pairs.
University of Warwick
Cardiovascular Medicine & Epidemiology (CVME) group
The University of Warwick is one of the leading Research Universities in the United Kingdom. It provides a strong research base for its Medical School, established in 2000. The research strengths include the evaluation of behavioural interventions in primary and secondary prevention, epidemiology and public health, cardiovascular and metabolic research, translational and system biology research. The Cardiovascular Medicine & Epidemiology (CVME) group was established in 2005 with the arrival of Prof FP Cappuccio, now head of the group. It has expanded rapidly to a multidisciplinary group of 17 with clinicians, epidemiologists and public health experts, statisticians, biochemists, social scientists, nursing staff and administrative support. The CVME group carries out translational cardio-metabolic research including laboratory science, clinical investigations (predominantly into hypertension and cardiovascular disease) and epidemiology. Prof Cappuccio is currently Treasurer of the British Hypertension Society and Technical Expert for the World Health Organisation.
The CVME group has been involved and is currently carrying out studies in the following areas: epidemiology of cardiovascular disease in developed (Wandsworth Heart & Stroke Study; Eat for Life; Immidiet [EC FP5 Project]; Olivetti Prospective Heart Study; Whitehall II) and developing (Kumasi study; Spatial variations in childhood disease) countries. The group houses large repositories of human biological samples including serum, plasma, urine and DNA from most of the above population studies. Priority is given to the study of biomarkers of risk using inflammatory pathways and the gene-environment interactions.
University of Sassari
Hypertension and cardiovascular prevention centre
The Hypertension and Cardiovascular Prevention Centre (appointed as a Center of Excellence by the European Society of Hypertension) is an outpatients unit, provided of all noninvasive cardiovascular evaluation facilities. The Centre can count apprimately 2000 new hypertensive patients per year (first visits), 10000 control visits on more than 5000 patients.
The Centre is a clinical research unit and is involved in official regional cardiovascular evaluation and prevention projects applied to a statistically significant sample of the Sardinian population; it is the coordinating centre of a pharmacogenetic study on angiotens in receptor blockers; it is the national coordinating centre of international clinical trials on new drugs; it is involved in research activities in the field of genetics of hypertension, pharmacogenomics, genetic epidemiology.
CPG Microfluidics Division - Lab
ST is one of the world's largest semiconductor companies, with net revenues of US$9.85 billion in 2006 and market leadership that is spread across many fields. The group totals approximately 50,000 employees, 16 advanced research and development units, 39 design and application centres, 17 main manufacturing sites and 78 sales offices in 36 countries. Since its creation, ST has exhibited an unwavering commitment to R&D. In 2006, ST spent US$1.667 billion in R&D, which was some 16.9% of its 2006 revenues. That effort produced 607 patent applications in 2006, maintaining ST’s track record as one of the industry’s most innovative and prolific inventors. ST is also active in numerous collaborative research projects worldwide as well as playing a key role in Europe’s advanced technology research programs such as MEDEA+ and the framework programs of the European Union. It is also a leader in important forward-looking industry initiatives such as ENIAC (European Nanoelectronics Initiative Advisory Council) at the European level or the "Poles de Compétitivité" (e.g. Minalogic near Grenoble and SCS in the Provence area) at the regional level.
The CPG Microfluidics Division - Lab on Chip Unit is the ST Microelectronics research unit focused on the development of innovative solutions for the diagnostic market. STMicroelectronics has developed In-Check™ an open platform for molecular biology test, based on a single disposable device (biochip) that integrates all the functions needed to identify multiple oligonucleotide sequences in a sample, including an integrated high-speed PCR reactor, a medium density microarray and the microfluidic handling. A dedicated, low-cost set of optimized instruments is also provided, which consists in a compact solid state, user-friendly optical reader able to automatically analyse the microarray and to provide an easy-to-read diagnostic report within few seconds and a Temperature Control system (TCS). An automatic function for the update of existing databases for the surveillance of target diseases is also potentially available. ST Lab on chip Unit is actually committed in developing biochips for viruses and bacteria detection in Beneficiaryship with European, US and Asian leading providers of molecular detection tests. Within this project, ST is committed in integrating of the selected biomarkers in the In-Check platform, in developing and optimizing PCR protocols in order to deliver a fast and low cost tool suitable to carry out a rapid diagnostic test. The platform will allow a rapid screening of large sample size (e.g. cohorts).
University of Lausanne
Department of Medical Genetics
The Department of Medical Genetics (DMG/DGM) is a research unit within the School of Biology and Medecine (SBM/FBM) of the University of Lausanne. Its activities focus mainly on medical genetics, with an interest in simple or monogenic as well as complex multifactorial traits. To study underlying pathophysiological processes in these inherited defects, our philosophy is to use multi-disciplinary strategies, from pure in silico biocomputing to classical genetics and functional experiments on cellular or animal models. The development of pharmacogenetics also represents one of the major research themes from our Department. Support for our current projects is provided by institutional sources and extra-mural grants such as from the Swiss National Science Foundation.
The Department has active links with the nearby hospital's Medical Genetics unit, with scientists from the Centre Intégratif de Génomique (CIG) and our colleagues from the Department of Genetic Medicine and Development in Lausanne, as well as with numerous scientists from other departments in our University and worldwide.
The DGM is composed of 4 main research units, each one working synergistically on different aspects of medical genetics. Three out of these 4 units are participating in this project. Specifically, Jacques Beckmann and his group are presently involved in Pharmagogenetics and the study of the medical aspects of common variants in the general population. In the past, Dr. Beckmann has pioneered the use of markerassisted genetic improvement in plants and animals, focusing on Quantitative Trait Loci (QTLs) and contributed significantly to the elaboration of genetic, physical and gene maps of the human genome, as well as to the positional cloning of a number of disease loci, many of which are involved in muscular dystrophy.
Pharnext is the first European SME to focus on developing combinations of already approved drugs for novel therapeutic indications. It targets Neuro-immunological pathologies with an initial emphasis on orphan diseases. Opting for a large outsourcing policy, Pharnext is recruiting a staff of 15 and has been founded by experienced and renowned leaders of Genomics and European biotechnology.
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Softeco Sismat S.r.l.
Softeco Sismat S.r.l. is a private SME founded in 1979; it is a leading company in the Information and Communication Technology market in the industry, finance, public bodies, utilities and telecommunications sectors. Softeco has headquarters in Genoa and branch offices in Milan and Naples and operates with a qualified group of about 200 employees.
Thanks to its specific applicative and technological competence, Softeco Sismat is present on the market as a supplier of innovative solutions allowing its customers to exploit the potential offered by Information Technology and the Internet.
Softeco Sismat S.r.l. carries out complex IT and industrial projects by integrating systems, networks, products and technologies, supplementing its offer with the supply of technical and management consulting, as well as specialized services and training.
Softeco Sismat S.r.l. addresses the whole enterprise market concerning industry, finance, healthcare, services, logistics, utilities, infrastructures and telecommunications, and it counts some of the most important Italian and international enterprises and agencies among its customers.
Softeco Sismat S.r.l. main activities in the project will be focused on the design and the development of basic ICT modules and infrastructures required to support the research work. In particular Softeco will be involved in the following tasks:
Softeco Sismat S.r.l. has relevant expertise in the area of advanced IT tools for knowledge management and collaboration, including participation in several EU financed research projects such as WORKSAFE, which main target is the implementation of a web service, based on ontology and semantic web approach, for the dissemination and exploitation of information and data on cancer prevention; ERDDS which main objective is to disseminate and support a unified European radiology framework, based on a common classification; EuOrphan, a service for the dissemination of information concerning rare disease medicines. Softeco also participates in a project financed by the Italian State for the analysis and the prototyping of a software system to support the navigation among human body organs 3D reconstruction form MRI images.
Shanghai Institute of Hypertension
Centre for Epidemiological Studies and Clinical Trials
The Shanghai Institute of Hypertension is an independent institution specializing in clinical, epidemiological and basic research on hypertension, and is in close collaboration with Ruijin Hospital, a research-oriented general hospital located in Shanghai. Both the Shanghai Institute of Hypertension and Ruijin Hospital are affiliated to Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine. The Centre for Epidemiological Studies and Clinical Trials at the Shanghai Institute of Hypertension is conducting a population-based genetic study in China.
The Centre has several research platforms such as a field centre in the JingNing County; ultrasound techniques for measurements of cardiac and vascular structure and function; mass spectrometry for measurements of serum and urine heavy metals such as lithium; sequencing and high-throughput genotyping equipments.
The Centre for Epidemiological Studies and Clinical Trials at the Shanghai IH has been involved in the data management, statistical analysis and publication of the Post-Stroke Antihypertensive Treatment Study (PATS) and Syst-China trial, leads several population-based genetic studies in the Chinese population, and currently holds the database of a multicentre population-based genetic study in China.
Charles University in Prague
2nd Department of Internal Medicine
Charles University in Prague is the largest university in the Czech Republic. The 2nd Department of Internal Medicine, which makes part of the Medical Faculty in Pilsen, has been involved in cardiovascular research for many years. The main research topics are: hypertension, heart failure, cardiovascular epidemiology, drug therapy of cardiovascular diseases etc.
The team of the 2nd Department of Internal Medicine is involved in the EPOGH: European Project on Genes in Hypertension, steered by dr. Jan Staessen in Leuven, Belgium. A large cohort of families with hypertensive subjects as well as of normotensive control families was examined. Phenotyping was performed in details, including noninvasive examination of large artery properties. Prof. Filipovsky, head of department, and his team are experts in this field. Genetic material was collected and stored. The team will contribute with its large experience in measurement of the subject phenotypes and will yield the genetic samples.
University of Padova
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
The Department of Clinical & Experimental Medicine (DCEM) of University of Padova (Italy) is a multichair structure including Internal Medicine, Metabolism-Diabetology, Clinical Pharmacology, Clinical Nutrition, Reumatology, Clinical Immunology as well as 2 post-graduation schools of Internal Medicine, 1 of Nutrition, 1 of Endochrinology, 1 of Immunology, 1 of Reumatology and 6 PhD courses. It has 105 medical doctors, 3 biology doctors, and 33 administrative/technical workers. Among the Padova departments, the DCEM is the most frequently cited in world medical literature. The Laboratory of Epidemiology of the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, coordinated by Prof. E.Casiglia, organizes and performs many epidemiological studies aimed at investigating cardiovascular risk and genetics at a population level. It will be involved in WP1, WP9 and WP10.
Current research activities of the Laboratory of Epidemiology relevant to the topic of the project includes participation as Italian partner in the European Genes in Hypertension (EPOGH) multicenter EU project (IC15-CT98-0329) coordinated by J.A.Staessen; E.Casiglia and V.Tikhonoff are also the coordinators of other population-based and genetic studies. Relevant qualifications, experience and knowledge is based on many large-scale population-based studies and controlled clinical trials such as the Cardiovascular Study in the Elderly (CASTEL), the Mirano and Camposampiero studies, the Genetically-Oriented Treatment Optimization (GOTO) study, and the Last Evidences of Genetic Risk Factors in the Aged (LEOGRA) study.
The Laboratory is a field centre for population-based phenotyping, for database construction/maintenance and statistical analysis, for echocardiography, for ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, and for genotyping.
With more than 12000 subjects screened, it is the most active Italian epidemiological structure acting in the field of population-based studies, and one of the most active in Europe as well.
Medical University of Gdansk
Hypertension Unit, Department of Hypertension and Diabetology
The Department of Hypertension and Diabetology is one of the leading centers in cardiovascular research in Central Europe. Its fields of excellence include: reflex regulation of blood pressure in health and disease; role of sympathetic neural mechanisms in pathogenesis and progression of hypertension; metabolic syndrome; medical databases and statistical analysis. The Hypertsnion Unit has its won out-patient clinic (15000 visits per year) and Human Physiology Laboratory, which are located in a new facility equipped with the state-of-art systems to assess cardiovascular control through computerized analysis of blood pressure and heart rate variability, direct recording of sympathetic traffic (microneurography).
The Department is currently involved in studied evaluating: role of environmental and genetic factors in the regulation of the cardiovascular system; autonomic responses in hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea, chronic renal failure and congestive heart failure; neural circulatory studies in sleep and sleep apnea; metabolicautonomic interactions in cardiovascular control. The partner participates in the INGENIOUS HYPERCARE network of excellence of the UE. Specific role in the project includes precise phenotyping of the subjects’ physiological and pathological characteristics related to Autonomic Cardiovascular Control (JRPA1), Oxidative Stress and Inflammation (JRPA2) and Sodium Homeostasis (JRPA3).