Luxembourg Esch-sur-Alzette

Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology

Environmental Research and Innovation (ERIN) department

Brief overview

The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) is a Research and Technology Organization (RTO). The Environmental Health (EH) research group develops complex 3D – in vitro models with a focus on the pulmonary system for toxicological testing as a major research activity. Such models undergo in house pre-validation under laboratory conditions and are applied to a wide range of contaminants.

Research areas

Biomarkers/ Cell biology/ Epithelial cell/ Immunology

Host center eligibility

Global fellowships (return phase only)/European fellowships

Research infrastructure/facilities

The Environmental Health (EH) group has more than a decade of experience in the development of in vitro assays for the alveolar region of the lung. EH has submitted one assay for pre-validation to EURL-ECVAM testing. The assays are cell-line based and cells grow in a 3D orientation with the lung epithelial cells growing at the air-liquid-interphase.

The group has modern cell culture facilities, a multitude of exposure systems (e.g. for powders, gasses, liquids via the airstream of via cloud systems), confocal microscope, Luminex, FACS and access to al transcirptomic and proteomic platform.

Research funding/resources

The complex 3D in vitro models for the alveolar region are used respectively have been used in EU funded projects (FutureNanoNeeds, SPOTVIEW, npSCOPE, ENVALGRA, RISKGONE, NanoHarmony, SCENARIOS, Phoenix, DIAGONAL, CompSafeNano), national funded projects (NANION, VitralizeMe) and industrial collaborations (EVONIK, EUPC).

The group has intensively collaborated and published together with leading institutes in the field of effects of airborne pollutants (NILU, Folkehelsa Oslo, TNO, Leiden UMC, etc.). Currently a spin-off is under incorporation that will valorize the developed in vitro models.

Links to non-academic sector

LIST is the coordinator of H2020 PHOENIX which will allow industries developing nanomedicine to get their materials characterized and tested via a single entry point. In this project pharmaceutical industry with GLP laboratories are participating. The EH group has cooperations with Epithelix, a world leader in the production of primary cell based lung models.

Experience hosting international researchers, career development & training programmes, outreach activities

The EH group has hosted PhD students from many countries (Chile, Germany, Romania, Norway, The Netherlands, Austria, Mexico, etc.) as guests. The Head of Group functions as Distinguished Professor in Cluj, Romania and Santiago de Chile and has successfully supervised more than 20 PhD students that are today having positions as professors in Academia, are Global Head Quality Control in 8B€ companies etc.

The EH group has hosted the ESTIV course in in vitro toxicology two times. Members of the group participate in national outreach activities where scientists visit high schools and introduce pupils to science.

HR Excellence in Research – EU award