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Aetionomy – Organising Mechanistic Knowledge about Neurodegenerative Diseases for the Improvement of Drug Development and Therapy


Start Date
End Date
Total Funding
€ 17 546 060
Funding Programme

IMI’s Call 8 is geared to develop knowledge frameworks for ‘druggable mechanisms’ for two domains of pathophysiology. In response to this call, we propose (I) the development of a generic AETIONOMY pipeline to capture and infer over mechanistic knowledge of pathophysiology, and  (II) the focused application of this pipeline to derive clinically significant mechanistic taxonomies of neurodegenerative diseases.

These taxonomies will represent multi-scale structural and functional understanding of the causal mechanisms of and possible treatments in PD and AD. In particular, knowledge integration about neural substrates and their functional correlates will be generated through a pipeline that co-ordinates:

  • I. the manual knowledge acquisition of mechanistic neurological knowledge from clinical experts,
  • II. the semi-automated calculation of functional indices derived from clinical examination datasets, neuroradiological images and clinical and experimental investigation results,
  • III. the large-scale acquisition of further evidence about functional relationships between knowledge created in i & ii by mining electronic health records and the literature,
  • IV. the automated detection of significant correlations inferred from knowledge derived from steps i to iii above.

To that end, AETIONOMY has assembled a seasoned consortium of expert clinicians and scientists to build upon (A) previous work within the consortium, which comprises unpublished and published work (ontologies such as ADO, the Alzheimer´s Disease Ontology, in press in “Alzheimer´s & Dementia”; disease models such as the comprehensive CellDesigner model for PD build by partner LCSB) and (B) considerable public domain resources generated by large international communities (e.g. the Neuroscience Information Framework), and (C) results from ongoing IMI projects (e.g. DDMoRe, OpenPHACTS, eTRIKS, EMIF), providing a unique combination of tools and expertise to discover the core criteria that make for a good drug target and, in so doing, classify patients according to these criteria.

Project partners

Fundacio Barcelonabeta Brain Research Center

Universitatsklinikum Bonn

Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Zur Foerderung Der Angewandten Forschung E.V.

Novartis Pharma Ag

Institut Du Cerveau Et De La Moelle Epiniere

Universite Du Luxembourg

Consorci Institut D'Investigacions Biomediques August Pi I Sunyer

Boehringer Ingelheim Internationalgmbh

Sc Neurorad Srl

Karolinska Institutet

Erasmus Universitair Medisch Centrum Rotterdam

Universite D'Aix Marseille

Sanofi-Aventis Recherche & Developpement

University College London

Pharmacoidea Fejleszto Es Szolgaltato Kft

Alzheimer Europe

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universitaet Hannover

Ucb Biopharma Srl

Alzheimer Europe's database on research projects was developed as part of the 2020 Work Plan which received funding under an operating grant from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014–2020).