UCD is Ireland’s Global University and is one of Europe’s leading research-intensive universities. As Ireland’s largest university, with its great strength and diversity of disciplines, UCD embraces its role to contribute to the flourishing of Ireland through the study of people, society, business, economy, culture, languages and the creative arts, as well as through research and innovation.
UCD is currently ranked within the top 1% of higher education institutions world-wide. UCD is also Ireland’s most globally engaged university with over 30,000 students drawn from over 139 countries, including almost 5,000 students based at locations outside of Ireland. The spectrum of research and innovation at UCD encompasses individual scholars, research groups, start-up companies and large-scale collaborations with industry and other partners. Research is conducted within each of the University’s extensive range of disciplines, and in multidisciplinary research programmes addressing challenges of global scale.
The UCD Diabetes Complications Research Centre (DCRC) focuses on the macro and macrovascular complications of diabetes and obesity. It comprises a multidisciplinary research group with expertise in molecular cell biology, genetics, bioinformatics, pharmacology, systems biology, chemical pathology and clinical medicine. Investigators are based in the UCD Conway Institute, the Mater Misericordiae University and St Vincent’s University Hospitals and work closely with international collaborators in academia and industry. Research programmes are funded by national and international sources including Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), The European Union, Wellcome Trust, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), European Renal Association (ERA), European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) and biopharma industry.
The UCD College of Social Science and Law (CSSL) is the leading centre for education and research in the social sciences and related disciplines in Ireland. The College of Social Sciences and Law actively strive to ensure that social science research is not only innovative but also produces real and tangible societal impact. The importance of interdisciplinary research in advancing scientific understanding is particularly encouraged, with SOPHIA affording the opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary way between the DCRC and the CSSL.
UNIVDUN is one of the UK’s leading universities, internationally recognised for its expertise across a range of disciplines including science, medicine, engineering and art and is home to 18,000 students and more than 3000 staff. It has a reputation for excellence in research and continues to successfully attract leading researchers from across the world. The University of Dundee School of Medicine is a world-leading research centre for examining the genetics of common diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma and COPD, and how genes may affect response to therapy within these diseases. The participants from University of Dundee are based in the Division of Population Health & Genomics within the School of Medicine. The school provides a high-quality research and training environment for more than 500 scientists and clinicians. The schools’ research goal is to improve the understanding of the mechanisms of disease to address important health problems and to deliver practical solutions leading to health improvement for individuals, communities and populations. In 2015 the Medical School was ranked first in the UK for research that makes a difference in Clinical Medicine and the impact of this research was judged to be world leading, changing the practice of medicine globally and improving health and quality of life. A 2016 Clarivate report rated the University of Dundee top in the world for pharmaceutical research. The University has been involved in 17 IMI projects, receiving €27M in funding.
Lund University Diabetes Centre (LUDC) is a centre of excellence for precision diabetes medicine funded in 2016 (until 2024) by the Swedish Strategic Science Foundation and is one of the leading diabetes centres in the world. The Centre, which hosts about 350 scientists and scientific staff, is known worldwide for its research in genomics and precision medicine as it relates to obesity, pre-diabetes and diabetes.
The University of Exeter is a research-led university, ranked in the top 12 in the UK and in the top 200 in the world. It is the UK’s fastest-growing and fastest-rising research university. REF2014 confirmed its status as a leading research intensive university, with the University securing the third largest percentage share increase in QR funding. As a member of the elite Russell Group of Universities, EXE is firmly committed to the value of research. Its world-class research environment has been enriched with over £230 million in recent investments.
The department involved in SOPHIA: The Institute of biomedical and Clinical sciences (IBCS) at University of Exeter has an internationally leading reputation for research in the most common disease consequence of obesity – type 2 diabetes. In 2019, the department received a prestigious £6 million award from the UK government (Research England) to expand Diabetes related research in Exeter. Students and Fellows from the Diabetes research team have won the best young (< 45 yr) European Researcher award 3 times in the last 7 years and the top young UK Diabetes Researcher award in 7 of the last 14 years. With access to the laboratory and Clinical Research facilities in the RILD (Research Innovation Learning and Development) building (£28 million investment) on the site of the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, SOPHIA staff will have easy access to specialist diabetes and obesity clinicians and collaboration with National Health Service (NHS) partners. The department also includes Prof Rob Andrews, a clinician who leads the largest bariatric surgery clinic in the UK.
EXE personnel working on SOPHIA
Erasmus MC is the largest and one of the most authoritative scientific University Medical Centers in Europe, based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The Erasmus MC ranks as first top European institution in clinical medicine and 20 in the world according to the Times Higher Education rankings.
The department of Epidemiology at EUMC is involved in SOPHIA. The research activities of the Epidemiology department are organized in three clusters including Epidemiology of disease, basic Epidemiology and clinical Epidemiology. The objective of Epidemiology of diseases includes scientific research in cardiovascular epidemiology, neuro-epidemiology, ophthalmic epidemiology and psychiatric epidemiology. Basic Epidemiology program includes research in the fields of genetic epidemiology, endocrinologic epidemiology and developmental epidemiology. Clinical Epidemiology program comprises three parts: clinical epidemiology in collaboration with radiology, biostatistics and pharmacoepidemiology.
EMC personnel working on SOPHIA
MU is a young, top-ranked, international university, renowned for the quality of the research and education undertaken in many areas. MU is the best performing young university in Europe (under 50 years old): it was ranked 6th in THE-Ranking of young universities ‘top 150 under 50’ in 2017 and was ranked 7th in the QS ‘top 50 under 50’ in 2017. In 2008, the academic hospital Maastricht (azM) and the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences (FHML) of Maastricht University merged into the Maastricht University Medical Centre MUMC+. By doing so, Maastricht holds the largest health sciences department of Europe. Since 2014 MU has been expanding it’s activities in the natural sciences, which led to the foundation of a rapidly growing Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) in 2018. An important focus of FSE is Systems Biology, Data Science, and Knowledge Engineering.
The Maastricht Centre for Systems Biology (MaCSBio) is an interfaculty research institute at Maastricht University, part of the faculties FSE and FHML. MaCSBio has full access to existing expertise and technology infrastructures essential for its research, including several large cohort studies with biobanks of biological samples (e.g. DIOGENES, Envirogenomarkers, CODAM, The Maastricht Study), and excellent ICT and computer cluster facilities maintained centrally by the university, as well as access to the central Dutch SURFsara high performance computing facility. MaCSBio participates in European infrastructure initiatives in relevant areas such as BBMRI, ISBE, and ELIXIR. The Department of Internal Medicine is part of CARIM School for Cardiovascular Diseases and FHML. It hosts among others two important prospective cohort studies that focus on obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and related comorbidities.
MU PERSONNEL WORKING ON SOPHIA
Ilja C.W. Arts
Marleen M. J. van Greevenbroek
Carla JH van der Kallen
ULM is a University in southern Germany with a strong focus on medicine and life science. It was founded 51 years ago, with a University hospital with 1274 hospital beds. Ulm belongs to the state of Baden-Württemberg (capital: Stuttgart).
The Central Institute of Biomedical Technology (ZIBMT, head: Prof. R. Holl) belongs to the Institute of Epidemiology and Medical Biometry (head: Prof. D. Rothenbacher) at Ulm University. The ZIBMT-group has 25 years of experience with clinical registries in diabetes (adult and pediatric) and obesity. Among other registries for patients with endocrine disorders, the group hosts the clinical registries DPV and APV. The group consists of 3 post-docs, 5 PhD candidates and 4 medical documentation experts, as well as 3 MDs. The experience is Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Nutrition, as well as medical aspects of chronic disorders, diabetes, obesity with a pediatric focus. The group has extensive experience with programming in SAS, using both standard as well as advanced (propensity score matching, group-based trajectory modelling, hierarchical modelling, geographic analysis. We yearly provide data for the German Diabetes Surveillance of the Robert-Koch-institute.
ULM PERSONNEL WORKING ON SOPHIA
Nicole Prinz (née Scheuing)
UGOT is among the largest universities in Northern Europe (approx. 47,000 students and 6,400 employees). With its eight faculties, UGOT is also the most wide-ranging and versatile university in Sweden. UGOT is an active international university engaged in collaborative projects and partnerships all over the world. In FP7, UGOT participated in approximately 180 projects, both as a coordinator and a partner and has to date become beneficiary in over 100 projects in H2020.
The Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine at UGOT has a research focus on metabolism, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. The Department supports and promotes research and teaching in translational medicine to improve health and to benefit society. The Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) study, led by Professor Lena Carlsson Ekander at the Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, is the only prospective controlled study in the world with very long-term (20 years) follow-up, designed to determine the effects of surgically induced weight loss on obesity and obesity-related comorbidities. The SOS study, started in 1987, includes 2010 surgically treated subjects with obesity and 2037 matched controls with obesity who received conventional obesity treatment. The quality and importance of the SOS study is illustrated by the publications in leading medical journals and its impact on current bariatric surgery guidelines. The Wallenberg Laboratory for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research, also located at the Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine and directed by Professor Fredrik Bäckhed, hosts 15 research groups with a wide range of skills and expertise ranging from molecular cell biology, microbiology, lipidomics, mouse genetics and gnotobiotics to clinical studies and epidemiology. The laboratory is viewed as a model for successful translational research, and encourages collaborations with national and international researchers and the pharmaceutical industry.
UGOT PERSONNEL WORKING ON SOPHIA
Lena Carlsson Ekander
The APC Microbiome Ireland is a Science Foundation Ireland funded centre founded in 2003 and coordinated by University College Cork (UCC). UCC is Irelands first five-star university (with internationally-recognised research in science, food, engineering, medicine, business, law, social sciences and the humanities) with over 20,000 students, more than 800 research staff, undertaking scholarship across 140 schools and departments. The University is ranked in the top 2% worldwide based on the quality of its research outputs and provides the full range of academic disciplines playing a crucial role in the development of Ireland’s knowledge-based society.
The APC Microbiome Ireland at UCC investigates the role of gut microbiota in human health and disease. Their mission is to ‘link science with industry and society through excellence in research, education and outreach in gastrointestinal health’ and it has been funded to the value of €100 million since its foundation by competitively won grants and industry collaborations. The 320+ researchers of the the APC Microbiome Ireland at UCC focus on active international research collaborations across the boundaries of traditional research sectors, fostering a lively trans-disciplinary environment with clinicians, clinician-scientists and basic scientists from diverse backgrounds working in teams, sharing ideas and resources. The scale and scope of their research on the microbiome is of relevance to all branches of human medicine and veterinary science, is very important to the economic welfare and health of society and is one of the hottest topics in biology. A particular strength is its significant inter-sectoral partnership. The institute has secured more than €30 million from industry collaborations since 2003. The APC Microbiome Ireland at UCC currently comprises 3 academic partners: UCC and its associated teaching hospitals Cork University Hospital and the Mercy University Hospital, Teagasc Moorepark Food Research Centre (a government funded agri-food research organisation) and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT).
UCC PERSONNEL WORKING ON SOPHIA
Susan Anne Joyce
George Washington University GWU
The United States Congress chartered the George Washington University on February 9, 1821. In his last will and testament, George Washington envisioned a university in the heart of the nation’s capital that would serve as an intellectual hub for the country. GW is the largest institution of higher education in D.C with ~28,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled. Its main campus is in Washington, DC but the Biostatistics Center is located in Rockville, MD.
The Biostatistics Center is a research center under the Milken Institute School of Public Health of the George Washington University. Founded in 1972, the George Washington University Biostatistics Center was established by some of the founding fathers of the modern day clinical trials. These pioneering NIH researchers in the field of biostatistics include Jerry Cornfield, Sam Greenhouse and Nathan Mantel. The original purpose of the center was to provide biostatistical expertise and data management capabilities of the highest scientific rigor for large multi-center studies funded by NIH. This is still true today: more than 98% of our $69-million annual funding is from NIH. All of our funding supports the design, conduct and analysis of multi-center studies directly, or the development of methods that will facilitate these activities, e.g., new biostatistical techniques, in a rigorous and reproducible way. The Biostatistics Center (BSC) at the Milken Institute School of Public Health (SPH) of the George Washington University (GWU) has a 46 year history of leadership in practice-changing clinical trials and biostatistical methodology research. Research studies conducted by the BSC have resulted in more than 60 publications in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Recently, the editor-in-chief of NEJM presented the Drazen’s Dozen, articles that changed practice since 2000. Two of the 12 articles featured were from studies coordinated by the Biostatistics Center: Labor Induction versus Expectant Management in Low-Risk Nulliparous Women published in 2018 from the Maternal Fetal Medicine Units Network and Reduction in the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes with Lifestyle Intervention or Metformin published in 2002 from the Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group.
GWU PERSONNEL WORKING ON SOPHIA
SIB is a non-profit organisation that coordinates research and education in bioinformatics throughout Switzerland and provides high-quality bioinformatics services to the national and international research community. SIB is well known for its life science resources, such as UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot, SWISS-MODEL, STRING, ExPASy etc. and comprises more than 56 research and service groups in Swiss universities, technical (ETH/EPF) and applied universities (HES). SIB also has a long history in developing high-quality and high-performance software. SIB’s Swiss and world-wide network of bioinformaticians, computational biologists and life scientists guarantee both state-of-the-art research and practical usage in clinical environments.
SIB PERSONNEL WORKING ON SOPHIA
KUL was founded in 1425 and is the largest university in Belgium, being a research-intensive, internationally oriented university that carries out both fundamental and applied research. It has a strongly inter- and multidisciplinary focus and strives for international excellence. Per year around 500 million euro is spent on research. KU Leuven participated in over 540 highly competitive European research projects in the 7th Framework programme (2007-2013), ranking sixth in the league of Higher Education (HES) institutions participating in FP7. Having significant experience in managing large-scale research projects, KU Leuven maintains in Horizon 2020 its fifth position with regard to number of participations (399) and seventh with regard to budget secured (212 million euro).
KUL PERSONNEL WORKING ON SOPHIA
Bart Van der Schueren
UCSC is the largest non-state university in Europe, with 36,000 students across 12 faculties and 7 post-graduate schools. Its main campus is in Milan, with satellites in Rome, Brescia, Cremona and Piacenza. The Center for the Treatment of Obesity and Related Disorders at UCSC includes an Outpatient Unit and an Inpatient Clinic. Its clinical research addresses the most prominent causes of morbidity related to nutritionally induced chronic diseases, many of them linked to obesity.
UCSC PERSONNEL WORKING ON SOPHIA
CNR is the largest public research institution in Italy. CNR promotes and carries on research activities, in pursuit of excellence and strategic relevance within the national and international ambit, in the frame of European cooperation and integration.
The Institute of Clinical Physiology (CNR-IFC) is the largest institute within the Department of Biomedical Sciences of the CNR with satellites in Milan, Lecce, Reggio Calabria, and Siena. CNR-IFC is mostly dedicated to the study of cardiometabolic disorders. It is a centre for basic, clinical, technological and epidemiological research with a translational view realized through: health promotion and quality of life; monitoring and control of weaker patients and citizens; optimization of therapeutic interventions, together with the reduction of hospitalization times; modelling at various levels specific to the patient, with appropriate systems support for simulation and decision; more attention to patients as well as to healthcare professionals; new frontiers in multimodal imaging and the use of new biomaterials; the careful risk/benefit evaluation of the diagnostic approach used, and its suitability, with the goal of improving diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. This multidisciplinary, translational approach has been the key strategy driving years of collaboration operating on a flexible and problem-solving basis.
The Cardiometabolic Risk Unit conducts studies in the field of metabolism and metabolic diseases, through a multi-organ and multisystem prospective, covering associated pathologies of the heart, liver, pancreas, lungs, kidneys, and the metabolic and neuro-endocrine systems. Research is mainly developed in the area of pathophysiology and methodology, in which multidisciplinary projects merge in the fields of experimental and clinical medicine, in line with the tradition of the institute.
CNR PERSONNEL WORKING ON SOPHIA
IDIBGI is an international biomedical research institute of excellence that holds the “HR Excellence in Research” award to the commitment of the institution to support career development of researchers. IDIBGI’s aims are to develop high-quality research, disseminate biomedical research, and promote the transfer of knowledge to everyday practice. IDIBGI was recognized in 2016 as the best national health research centre at the prestigious SCIMAGO Institutions Ranking.
The institute is composed by research groups from the Dr Josep Trueta Hospital in Girona, the University of Girona (UdG), the Institute for Diagnostic Imaging (IDI), the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) and the Primary Healthcare Institute (IAS)/Catalan Health Institute of Girona (ICS), hosting more than 350 researchers. Researchers are distributed in 17 research groups working on cardiovascular diseases, metabolism and inflammation, neurosciences and cancer.
The Nutrition, Eumetabolism and Health Research Group (NEHRG) at IDIBGI and the Diabetes, Endocrinology and Nutrition Unit at Hospital de Girona comprises 13 full-time faculty members and 4 endocrinology fellows, which encompasses the Diabetes Day Hospital and 14 full time researchers, including the research laboratory team. Current Day Hospital personnel also include 3 full-time nurses, 3 full-time diabetes educators and 4 full-time dieticians. The group has long-term expertise in identifying predictive biomarkers in T2DM and obesity and in the design and follow-up of clinical trials. The NEHRG has developed the first description of a putative gut-brain axis in humans, relating the gut microbiota composition to cognitive skills (J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2015, 2017) and the association of peripheral markers of inflammation to brain inflammating (Int J Obes 2017).
IDIBGI PERSONNEL WORKING ON SOPHIA
José Manuel Fernández-Real
José María Moreno Navarrete
Rafel Ramos Blanes
Jordi Mayneris Perxachs
UHT is the in- and outpatient clinic of the University of Tübingen in Germany, which hosts more than 27,000 students and which was selected as one of 11 universities in Germany that are funded by the German Research Foundation within the framework of the German Research Excellence Initiative.
UHT hosts the Division of Clinical and Experimental Diabetology and the Department of Pathophysiology of Prediabetes at the Institute of Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases (IDM) of the Helmholtz Center Munich. The IDM is part of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), which is funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research. Within the DZD the IDM is involved in leading and participating in large clinical multicenter studies in subjects with prediabetes and patients with diabetes to prevent diabetes and its complications. The IDM was and presently is involved in European research initiatives in the field of diabetes, such as EIT Health and the IMI-RHAPSODY Consortium. The IDM has studied a precisely phenotyped cohort of more than 3200 subjects with risk of diabetes, prediabetes or diabetes. More than 400 subjects underwent a supervised and intensified lifestyle intervention and in more than 500 subjects long-time follow-up data are available.
UHT PERSONNEL WORKING ON SOPHIA
LUH is the largest health campus in Northern Europe with a team of about 15,000 professionals. As a referral university hospital and a teaching, innovation and research centre, LUH treats heavy pathologies requiring a cutting-edge medico-technical platform and specialized medical expertise. It aims to develop innovation and medical research. Lille UH ranks in the top 5 French UHs for the quality of its research. LUH has partnered with the industrial sector for more than 20 years to promote its expertise in terms of academic research focused on technology transfer and on its team innovations maturation.
Cutting-Edge Surgical Care and Innovation at LUH is focused on diabetes translational research and in particular to Metabolic Surgery. LUH Bariatric Surgery offers a Weight Loss Surgery in the north of France. We are a nationally recognized accredited Bariatric Surgery Centre of Excellence. The department provides the following research-related services: screening of potential study participants, completion of protocol-specific clinic visits, regulatory oversight for all studies, study-specific coordinators, dispensing of study medications, completion of case report forms and quality assurance of source documentation. The unit is comprised of the general examination and interview room and clinical research rooms. More than 1500 subjects with various degrees of obesity, insulin resistance and NAFLD have been now recruited prior to weight loss surgery and followed thereafter in ABOS (Atlas Biologique de l’Obésité Sévère) an ongoing longitudinal cohort study which includes comprehensive clinical and biological phenotyping and multiple serum DNA, and tissue sampling (liver, muscle visceral and subcutaneous fat, intestine) from each participant at the time of surgery and/or during follow up.
CHUL PERSONNEL WORKING ON SOPHIA
The mission of European Association for the Study of Obesity is to reduce the burden of unhealthy weight. Established in 1986, EASO is a federation of professional membership associations from 34 European countries. It is the voice of the European obesity community, representing scientists, health care practitioners, physicians, public health experts, early career researchers, students and patients. EASO is in formal relations with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Europe and is a founding member of the EU Platform on Diet, Physical Activity and Health.
The Objectives of EASO are:
To establish obesity as an urgent and relevant health and wellbeing priority
To develop evolving evidence-based approaches for preventing and treating obesity across the lifespan
To promote effective solutions through research, education and policy.
EASO PERSONNEL WORKING ON SOPHIA
The University Hospital of Lausanne CHUV
CHUV academic activities are governed jointly by the University of Lausanne (UNIL), counts 11363 staff from
more than 100 countries to serve more than 1.2 million patients per year for a global budget of 1.7 billion, thus being the largest Swiss University Hospital in terms of patients treated.
The Department of Clinical Neurosciences (DNC) has 500 staff working in five main clinical units (neurology,
neurosurgery, neurorehabilitation, spinal surgery and memory centre) and a translational neuroscience research
centre, covering all aspects of clinical neuroscience. The DNC is coordinating the medical informatics platform (MIP) of the Human Brain Project (HBP), offering a unique tool for performing federated analyses of real-world data collected in hospitals. DNC is a university clinical department dedicated to brain diseases, with unique skills and expertise in the field of digital health and mobile health technologies, and extensive experience in coordinating
clinical research activities at the European scale.
CHUV personnel working on SOPHIA: