The project will benefit from the collaboration of four partners with demonstrated broad expertise in the field of personalized medicine and systems biology. The San Raffaele Hospital and the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse are two health care providers. They play a key role in the project, providing cohorts of patients very well characterized. Moreover, The San Raffaele unit has an established collaboration with Prof. G. Valentini (Department of Computer Science, University of Milan), who has a solid knowledge of machine learning methods applied to molecular biology and medicine.

The expertise of the two clinical groups is complemented by the advanced expertise in bioinformatics and systems biology of the teams from the Institute of Biomedical Technologies at the Italian National Research Council (a research organization) and geneXplain (a small-medium size enterprise).
Overall, the involved partners put in place complementary skills, able to cover the different aspects of the project.

Federica Esposito (coordinator)

IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital, Italy


Clinical neuroscience, genetics of neurological disorders, pharmacogenetics, microarray, next-generation sequencing, gene expression, bioinformatics.
More than 30 articles in international peer reviewed journals.

Research team

Dr. Laura Ferrè: neurologist, PhD student
Dr. Antonino Giordano: neurologist, PhD student
Dr. Miryam Cannizzaro: resident in neurology
Dr. Ferdinando Clarelli: bioinformatician
Dr. Kaalindi Misra: bioinformatician, PhD student
Dr. Elisabetta Mascia: post-doc fellow
Dr. Silvia Santoro: post-doc fellow
Dr. Melissa Sorosina: research assistant
Martina Tosi: pre-doctoral fellow

IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital

IRCCS Ospedale San Raffaele is a university and research hospital established in 1971 to provide specialized care for the most complex and difficult health conditions. It is situated over a 300,000 square meters area in the North East of Milan and is today one of the leading biomedical research institutes in Italy and Europe. It comprises both clinical and research activities, conducted by a highly specialized and qualified hospital with 1,357 beds and a research institute with around 1,500 basic, clinical and translational scientists. Alongside with improving therapies, the institute seeks to develop new technologies in the field of genomics and imaging, needed for early diagnosis and personalized cures. State-of-the art services and technological platforms include 9 institutional research facilities providing services for animal husbandry, conditional mutagenesis, histopathology and biochemistry, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, flow cytometry, light, fluorescence and electron microscopy, and non-invasive animal imaging.
The Laboratory of Human Genetics of Neurological Diseases is involved in the application of array and sequencing technology and the development of statistical and bioinformatic approaches to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the development of neurological disorders. The same approach is used to identify biomarkers of response to treatment in personalized medicine in neurological disorders. The Laboratory of Human Genetics of Neurological Diseases has an established collaboration with Prof. Giorgio Valentini (Department of Computer Science, University of Milan), who has a solid knowledge of machine learning methods applied to molecular biology and medicine and, within the FindingMS project, will be involved in the predictive algorithm development.

Roland Liblau

Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse, France


Multiple Sclerosis (MS), centre for biological resources, clinical trials, biomarkers, pharmacogenetics, immunophenotyping, cellular and molecular functional approaches.
Our team focus on biomarkers associated with response and serious adverse event (SAE) risk such as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), in the context of MS biologic treatment revolution using MS cohorts.

Research team

Dr. Béatrice Pignolet, PhD
Dr. Jonathan Ciron, MD
Florence Bucciarelli: Engineer and Lab manager
Lise Scandella: Lab Technician
Noellie Freitas: Clinical research assistant

Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse

Our research team belongs to two highly connected institutions: the University Hospital of Toulouse (CHUT) and the Center for Physiopathology Toulouse-Purpan (CPTP). 
Since 1958, the CHUT is an important collaborator for clinical trials but also for the development of challenging projects going from pre-clinic to the clinic. The CHUT is composed of 15 clinical departments, among them the Neurosciences department. The CHUT strongly interacts with biopharmaceutical companies, as shown by increasing numbers of protocols and clinical trials conducted. In clinical research field, the CHUT, actively contributes to medical and pharmaceutical sciences progress in collaboration with other institutions such as Universities, INSERM, CNRS.
Our research team is also part of the Center for Physiopathology Toulouse-Purpan (CPTP). Established in 2002, the CPTP is a leading research institute providing a productive scientific environment that is structured along three main themes: Immunology, inflammation and infectious diseases.The CPTP is affiliated with INSERM, CNRS and the University of Toulouse III. It is composed of 11 research teams with international reputation, 4 cutting-edge core facilities and an efficient support team (197 total members). Our research spans from basic research such as the development of the immune system and its functions to translational research. We investigate host-pathogen interactions and the onset of immune responses occurring in the context of viral infections (HIV, Zika virus, Hepatitis E, Influenza virus, cytomegalovirus, Borna virus) or parasitic infections (toxoplasma, malaria). We decipher the physiopathological mechanisms involved in autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes) or allergies (asthma, atopic dermatitis). We also study anti-tumor responses and immune senescence. We conduct clinical studies on asthma, multiple sclerosis, HIV or neurodegenerative diseases. We are also engaged in optimizing  vaccine strategies and developing novel immunotherapies.

Ettore Mosca

Italian National Research Council, Institute of Biomedical Technologies, Italy


Bioinformatics, biological network analysis, pathway analysis, development of new approaches to omics data analysis, statistics for omics data analysis, variant calling, DNA methylation analysis, gene expression analysis, single-cell data analysis, metabolomics, dynamical systems modelling, data integration.
 More than 30 articles in international peer reviewed journals.

Research team

Dr. Alice Chiodi: post-doc fellow
Dr. Valentina Nale: research fellow
Marco Moscatelli: technologist
Matteo Gnocchi: technologist
Prof. Luciano Milanesi: CNR-ITB associate research director

Institute of Biomedical Technologies - National Research Council

The Institute of Biomedical Technologies (ITB), part of the National Research Council (CNR), is the largest institute of its kind in Italy and was established to pioneer new types of cross-disciplinary biomedical research by bringing biology, engineering, medicine, and the basic sciences together. This is achieved by means of collaborations between industry and basic scientists and clinicians from a broad range of disciplines. One of the most important aims of its research mission is translating fundamental discoveries into new technologies. The major focuses of the institute are “-omics” technologies, bioinformatics, stem cell research, oncology, neurodegenerative disorders, human microbiome and bioethics.

Alexander Kel

geneXplain GmbH, Germany


Bioinformatics, molecular biology, theoretical biology, database development, DNA sequence analysis, molecular evolution, theory of mutation and recombination process, modeling of molecular genetic information systems. Current research interests: in silico biology, investigation of molecular mechanisms of gene regulation, development of the database on transcription regulation sequences; development of software for analysis and recognition of functional genomic sequences, promoter recognition, genome functional annotation.

Research team

Prof. Edgar Wingender: Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Dr. Olga Kel-Margoulis: biologist, Director Applied Life Science Informatics
Dr. Jeannette Koschmann: biologist, Product Manager geneXplain Platform
Dr. Holger Michael: biologist, Grant Manager
Philip Stegmaier: biologist, Manager Software and Technology Development and IT Director
Mathias Krull: biologist, Manager Databases
Kamilya Altynbekova: computer scientist

GeneXplain GmbH

GeneXplain GmbH (GENEXPLAIN) was founded in April 2010. It has been set up by Edgar Wingender, the creator of the TRANSFAC® database, and Alexander Kel, a renowned expert in bioinformatic algorithms together with an international team of experts in software development and chemoinformatics. The company has developed a comprehensive platform for statistical, bioinformatic and systems biological tools. The geneXplain platform integrates statistical, bioinformatics, and systems biological modules with the access to the manually curated knowledge base on transcription factors and their binding sites (TRANSFAC® - gold standard in the field), and the most detailed database on signal transduction (TRANSPATH™), both of which are maintained and distributed exclusively by geneXplain. The business activity of GENEXPLAIN is mainly in offering access to the geneXplain platform as “software as a service (SaaS)” to academic research organisations, core facilities, biotech and pharmaceutical companies. GENEXPLAIN also offers data analysis and interpretation services as well as complex research project consulting that are performed by a dedicated multidisciplinary team of 13 persons.
The FindingMS project is funded by the Fondazione Regionale per la Ricerca Biomedica (Italy), the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (France) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Germany), within the ERA-Net Cofund Joint Transnational Calls ERA PerMed. The contents of this website are the sole responsibility of the FindingMS project and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union and funding agencies.