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Paul Wilmes will receive the €2m grant over five years for his “ExpoBiome” project
Photo: Science Relations
Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine associate professor Paul Wilmes has received a €2m grant from the European Research Council for a project exploring the role microbial molecules has on the immune system of individuals with Parkinson’s and rheumatoid arthritis.
As the University of Luxembourg announced on Wednesday, Wilmes will receive the “prestigious” grant over five years for his “ExpoBiome” project, which sees the development of promising “high-resolution measurement techniques” for studying such diseases.
“For rheumatoid arthritis, we know for example that periodic fasting reduces symptoms in many patients,” Wilmes said in the press statement. “One hypothesis is that the activity of the microbiome is reduced due to the lack of nutrients and that this has a positive effect on the chronic inflammation characteristic of the disease. However, it is still unclear whether microbial molecules play a role and if so, which ones.”
The grant will allow Wilmes and his team to further investigate the details on the interplay between the human immune system and microbial molecules, opening up potential new avenues for diagnoses and treatment, including lifestyle strategies. His work has also pioneered “HuMix”, a human-microbial gastrointestinal interface which, Wilmes says, “determine which microbial molecules are formed in the gut and how they affect the course of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or Parkinson's”.
LCSB director Rudi Balling praised Wilmes’ “long-standing experience in the field of microbiome research and has earned an excellent reputation internationally.” He added: “It is of tremendous value for the LCSB and the University of Luxembourg that this grant offers Paul the opportunity to continue his research in the Grand Duchy.”