AETIONOMY final symposium and IMI neurodegeneration initiatives

In December 2018, the AETIONOMY project reached the end of its funded period. The challenge that it faced when they started the project five years ago was more than ambitious. Specifically they set out to create a mechanism-based taxonomy for two neurodegenerative diseases that are known to be idiopathic – which means, that the aetiologies of the diseases are unknown. However, they have come close enough to meeting the goal of the project to share and celebrate its achievements, hence the organization of the final symposium of the AETIONOMY project.

Event objectives

  • Presentation of the major achievements of the AETIONOMY consortium.
  • Exploring other IMI neurodegenerative disease research projects with an aim to map the AETIONOMY outcomes into the bigger picture of the Innovative Medicines Initative’s (IMI) project portfolio.
  • And learning, what other related initiatives in Europe are doing and in a special keynote, how private funding has led to an unparalleled effort in the area of translational neuropsychiatry in the United States.

The final symposium of the AETIONOMY project is aligned with major dissemination events of the IMI AD platform (e.g. the special session organized at AD / PD 2015 in Nice and the IMI “Collaboration in Alzheimer’s disease & beyond: the present and future of the IMI initiatives in neurodegeneration” symposium in Brussels in March 2017).

The sheer amount of excellent work in IMI projects in the area of neurodegenerative diseases makes it impossible to provide each project with a 45 minutes talk; the main achievements of AETIONOMY and the main achievements of IMI neurodegeneration projects are communicated in short presentations of 15 minutes. However, several keynotes and “perspectives” talks were afforded more time and allowed for deeper discussion.


AETIONOMY final symposium and IMI neurodegeneration initiatives

Hilton Bonn, Berliner Freiheit 2, Bonn, Germany
In the following agenda, you will find for each talk a link refering to

  • a photo of the speaker and
  • the slide presentation (PDF)
  • a recording (MPEG-4) of the presentation.


Day 1 – November 29th


08:30 Registration & Welcome Coffee
09:15 Introduction
Dr. Phil Scordis, UCB Biopharma SPRL
Prof. Dr. Martin Hofmann-Apitius, Fraunhofer Institute SCAI
09:30 The IMI research program in neurodegeneration: delivering on the promise
Elisabetta Vaudano, Innovative Medicines Initiative



10:00 Vision: Towards a mechanism-based taxonomy of neurodegenerative diseases
Prof. Dr. Martin Hofmann-Apitius, Fraunhofer Institute SCAI
10:30 Knowledge: The AETIONOMY knowledge base
Dr. Reinhard Schneider, University of Luxembourg
10:45 Mechanisms: NeuroMMSig, the mechanism-enrichment server
Daniel Domingo Fernández, Fraunhofer Institute SCAI
11:00 Coffee break
11:45 Simulation: The Virtual Dementia Cohort
Prof. Dr. Martin Hofmann-Apitius, Fraunhofer Institute SCAI
12:00 Stratification: Mechanism-based stratification of patient-level data
Dr. Holger Fröhlich, UCB Biosciences GmbH
12:15 Disease Progression Aspects: AD and PD progression models
Meemansa Sood, Fraunhofer Institute SCAI
12:30 Classification: The AETIONOMY PD cohort and first results of the mechanism-based classification
Prof. Jean-Christophe Corvol, ICM: Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière
12:45 Proteomics: Validating selected candidate mechanisms by high throughput proteomics
Prof. Per Svenningsson, Karolinska Institutet
13:00 Lunch


Afternoon Session: AETIONOMY and beyond

14:00 Keynote I: Dementia – big problem; Big Data – big solution?
Prof. John Gallacher, University of Oxford, Dementias Platform UK


Related IMI neurodegeneration initiatives

15:00 EMIF-AD – Identify predictors of Alzheimer’s Disease in the pre-clinical and prodromal phase
Dr. Pieter-Jelle Visser, VU University Medical Center
15:15 Coffee break
15:45 EPAD – European prevention of Alzheimer’s dementia consortium
Prof. Craig Ritchie, University of Edinburgh
16:00 ADAPTED – Alzheimer’s disease apolipoprotein pathology for treatment elucidation and development
M.D. Ph.D. Agustin Ruiz, Institut Català de Neurociències Aplicades (Fundació ACE)
16:15 PHAGO – Inflammation and AD: modulating microglia function – focussing on TREM2 and CD33  
Prof. Dr. Harald Neumann, University of Bonn
16:30 PRISM – Psychiatric Ratings using Intermediate Stratified Markers: providing quantitative biological measures to facilitate the discovery and development of new treatments for social and cognitive deficits in AD, SZ, and MD
Prof. Dr. Martien Kas, University of Groningen
17:00 Coffee break
17:30 RADAR-AD – Remote Assessment of Disease and Relapse in Alzheimer’s Disease
Prof. Dag Aarsland, Kings College London
17:45 Special Invitation: Neurodegeneration Research from an Academic Perspective: JPND strategies
Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Gasser, University of Tubingen
19:00 Dinner


Day 2 – November 30th, 2018:
Morning Session: Translational Neuroscience – the bigger picture


09:00 Welcome Coffee
09:30 Wrap-up Day 1
Dr. Phil Scordis, UCB Biopharma SPRL and Prof. Dr. Martin Hofmann-Apitius, Fraunhofer Institute SCAI
09:45 AETIONOMY crosstalk to the Human Brain Project: Building bridges between major initiatives
Prof. Dr. Viktor Jirsa, Director CNRS and Institut de Neurosciences des Systèmes
10:30 Interdisciplinarity in Translational Neuroscience – Easier said than done
Prof. Dr. Rudi Balling, Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine
11:00 Coffee break
11:30 Keynote II: Bridging the Translational Gap: an Integrative Systems Modeling approach for Precision Brain Health
Dr. Magali Haas, CEO & President Cohen Veterans Bioscience
12:30 Lunch break


Afternoon Session: Discussion on data sharing and collaborations, and the future of the IMI

13:30 Panel Discussion: Data sharing and collaboration between IMI neurodegeneration research projects – experiences and suggestions for improvements.
IMI-project coordinators from industry and academia, Elisabetta Vaudano
14:30 Future Directions – after 10 years of IMI
Dr. Pierre Meulien, Innovative Medicines Initiative
15:30 Summary and Conclusion
Dr. Phil Scordis, UCB Biopharma SPRL and Prof. Dr. Martin Hofmann-Apitius, Fraunhofer Institute SCAI
16:00 Closure