Following a first call for proposals in December 2020, a bilateral project involving the Human Biomonitoring Research Unit (HBRU) of the LIH Department of Population Health (DoPH) and the University of Québec in Montréal (UQAM) was selected for funding on March 29th under the Québec-Luxembourg programme AUDACE, a joint initiative of the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) and of the Quebec Research Fund (FRQ). The scheme aims to support innovative and high-impact interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaborations between Quebec and Luxembourg scientists.
The 24-month LIH-UQAM joint project BarCePE (A link between bariatric surgery and the brain? Endocrine disruptors in the dock), which obtained a EUR 125,000 grant under the programme, will be coordinated by Dr Brice Appenzeller, leader of HBRU, on the Luxembourg (LIH) side and by the UQAM Department of Psychology on the Canadian end. The project aims to assess metabolic and cognitive impairment linked to the release of pollutants stored in the adipose tissue following rapid weight loss after bariatric (weight-loss) surgery. Indeed, the rapid increase in circulating levels of some of these pollutants, namely endocrine disruptors, can have adverse postoperative consequences for the patient at various levels. BarCePE will therefore generate new insights into the cognitive impact of the disruption of the endocrine system
In line with the ethos of the AUDACE programme, our project will benefit from an interdisciplinary and cross-cutting approach, leveraging the complementary expertise of our consortium in human biomonitoring and psychology. This ‘dual lens’ methodology will allow us to provide a holistic view of the complex relationship between environmental pollutants, human metabolism and cognition, ultimately improving population health. We are extremely grateful to the FNR and the FRQ for investing in bold high-risk-high-reward research projects like BarCePEsays Dr Appenzeller.
Initially launched in 2017, AUDACE is an original research programme of the FRQ aiming to support bold research that deviates from traditional approaches, going beyond the existing paradigms of individual scientific cultures and fields of research. AUDACE therefore backs exploratory inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral initiatives with the potential to radically transform research, resulting in tangible scientific, social, economic, technological and cultural benefits. In May 2020, the FNR signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with FRQ to support bilateral Luxembourg-Canada projects in the framework of this programme.