The Partners

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Universiteit Antwerpen
Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli
Online Studies
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

The National Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) is the oldest and largest Higher Education Institute in Greece and is an integral part of the modern Greek intellectual tradition, life and international presence. NKUA has a total of approximately 127.000 enrolled students and 3.300 faculty members.
The Department of Medical Genetics (DMG) of NKUA, located in “Aghia Sophia” Children’s hospital, constitutes a point of reference for genetics for the whole of Greece since 1965. The Department has made a substantial contribution to the diagnosis, management and prevention of many genetic disorders, and it is recognized as a National and European reference centre for several genetic diseases with respect to applied research and diagnostics. DMG has a total of 8.500 students enrolled in undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD studies, and a total of 630 staff members.
Furthermore, the DMG was the first established and also the largest public centre for prenatal diagnosis in Greece, initially for chromosome disorders and soon after for monogenic diseases. The latter also involves the identification of carriers (at-risk couples) for several monogenic diseases common in Greece such as Thalassemia, Cystic Fibrosis, Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Fragile X, Rett syndrome, Angelman and Prader Willi syndromes. The laboratory is well-equipped, with all the necessary equipment for basic molecular genetic analyses, for research and diagnostic applications, including liquid handling robots to support automated DNA extraction and PCR set up, as well as real-time PCR, medium through – put automatic sequencing, High Resolution Melting Analysis (HRMA) and Agilent Technologies Microarray platform, are presently used for array-Comparative Genome Hybridization (a-CGH) applicable for molecular cytogenetic analysis in patients referred with mental retardation (MR) and developmental delay (DD).
Concurrent to the major role that the DMG plays in clinical services, it has also made substantial contributions in several areas of applied research in the field of medical genetics such as comprehensive genetic evaluation and counseling services.
The University staff includes Faculty members, medical geneticists, University post-doctorate senior Research Scientists and other scientific and technical staff. In addition, the DMG offers as University Department of the Faculty of Medicine formal courses for pre and post graduates in medical genetics.
The Department of Medical Genetics of the NKUA has made a substantial contribution to the diagnosis, management and prevention of many genetic disorders, and it is recognized as a National and European reference centre for several genetic diseases with respect to applied research and diagnostics. Concurrent to the major role that the DMG plays in clinical services, it has also made substantial contributions in several areas of applied research in the field of medical genetics such as comprehensive genetic evaluation and counseling services.
DMG has the following Advantages:
  • It comprises of a large group of highly qualified staff with expertise in many aspects of genetics.
  • It has access to a great number of patients and families with a wide spectrum of genetic disorders.
  • The University clinic is associated with the largest pediatric hospital in Greece (and the Balkans in general).
  • It is the only public medical genetics department in Greece (either within the health services or within an academic institution).
  • It is the oldest and largest public centre for prenatal diagnosis in Greece.
  • It is the only department in Greece that offers molecular diagnosis for some specific common monogenic disorders.
  • It specializes in genetic services, such as PGD and non-invasive prenatal diagnosis for sex-linked diseases and Rhesus compatibility.
  • It is also a reference centre for many genetic diseases – for both diagnostic procedures and result interpretation to support clinical management and counseling.
  • It is the leader in providing best practices for many diseases and diagnostic procedures in Greece and Europe (eg. Guidelines for CF. haemoglobinopathies. PGD etc).
University Antwepren

The University of Antwerp was founded in 2003 after the merge of three university institutions but has its roots back to 1852. The University of Antwerp has currently more than 20.000 students and about 5.500 staff members. It is a young, dynamic and forward-thinking university. It integrates the assets of its historic roots with its ambition to contribute positively to society. The University of Antwerp develops, provides access to and disseminates scientific knowledge through research, teaching and service to society. It carries out these tasks in a spirit of academic freedom and responsibility. The University of Antwerp conducts creative and innovative scientific research which strives for international excellence. It stimulates both basic and applied research and their valorization. It offers internationally accredited academic teaching based on scientific research. It aims at the development and integration of knowledge, skills and attitudes that will prepare its students to take responsibility in society. The University of Antwerp attaches great importance to its close, historic links with Antwerp University Hospital and Antwerp Management School. It seeks constructive partnerships in the fields of research, teaching and academic service to society. In addition, the University shares its expertise with both public and private partners. The University of Antwerp ensures the quality (education - research) and sustainability of its activities. Its contact with students, staff and other stakeholders is constructive, respectful and open-minded. The Department of Medical Genetics currently employs more than 90 people. It provides clinical genetic services as well as diagnostics at the molecular and cytogenetic level. Furthermore, basic research is performed aiming to identify genetic factors underlying a broad spectrum of genetic diseases. These include monogenic as well as complex and multifactorial diseases. The expertise as well as state-of-the-art equipment (including a NGS platform) is available to perform a wide range of molecular genetic experiments. For functional studies cell culturing infrastructure is also available. Besides the facilities available in the department, there is also access to a fully equipped animal facility on the university campus.
IOR

The Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute (Bologna) is the main Italian institute for orthopedics and traumatology. Since 1981, the Italian Ministry of Health recognized to Rizzoli Institute the status of a “Scientific Research Hospital” due to its close integration between healthcare (about 150,000 patients examined and over 20,000 orthopaedic operations every year) and scientific research, which is carried out in nine different laboratories employing physicians, biologists, engineers, physicists, statisticians and technicians. High expertise, organization aimed at integration between research and treatment, high quality healthcare and innovative technologies in continuous evolution – are the ingredients for Rizzoli’s success in Italy and worldwide. With reference to its specializations, the following shall be mentioned: treatment of degenerative pathologies of the hip, knee and ankle joints; spine pathologies; pathologies of the foot and upper limbs; sports related pathologies; tumours of the musculoskeletal system; paediatric orthopaedic pathologies; diagnosis and treatment of rare skeletal diseases. Rizzoli also houses the specialization school of Orthopedics and Traumatology and the specialization school of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation of University of Bologna; indeed, there is a special cooperation agreement between Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute and the University. Furthermore, the Institute participates in the Emilia-Romagna Regional High Technology Network (Tecnopolo) with additional six research laboratories oriented toward translational research; their activities is characterized by strong relations with industrial partners of the area operating in the following fields: regenerative medicine, biomedicine, biomedical device, pharmaceutics, biomechanics and clinical IT.
The Department of Medical Genetics and Rare Orthopaedic Diseases directed by Dr. Luca Sangiorgi, is accredited from the Emilia-Romagna region as centre of coordination for the Regional Hub and Spoke Network of Rare Skeletal Diseases. The Department is composed of a) the Molecular Laboratory that performs diagnosis and research on RDs, b) the Medical Genetics Outpatient Clinic, welcoming patients with suspected familiar syndromes and offering counselling and c) the Biobank of Genetic Samples (BIOGEN) created in order to collect high quality biological materials of patients affected by skeletal dysplasias and other rare diseases. The samples collected, more than 6500 different biospecimens, cover many fields of genetic and genomic research applications; in fact, the biobank includes human blood, blood components and derivates, DNA, RNA, urine, serum, tissues. Most of the samples are collected for diagnostic purpose, but patients are asked to use the blood/buccal scraping for research scopes, after reading and signing informed consent agreement. Other samples are collected only for research finality, like tissues, urine and serum. The Department works also in concert with the Clinical Bioinformatics Lab - CLIBI - (always under the direction of Dr. Sangiorgi) and performs activities of research, development and consultancy in the field of Clinical Bioinformatics. Being part of the Regional Network of RareSkeletal Diseases, mentioned above, means that the Dept. and BIOGEN are in a net which involves 11 hospitals/institutions in Emilia-Romagna. A sample exchange standardised protocol for national and international collaborations such as: University of Antwerp, Ghent University Hospital, Hopital Necker – Enfantes Malades, UNIL– Universite de Lausanne have been provided with samples, after institutions agreement, and in USA the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has been supplied with samples. The scientific area of interest covers the diagnosis and the genetic and genomic research on hereditary skeletal diseases furthermore we collect also clinical and genetic data of patients (disease registries), we integrate clinical data and molecular results in a genotype/phenotype correlation.
The Rizzoli Insititute is the Coordinator of European Reference Network on BONe rare Diseases (BON ERN), that involves about 40 european health care providers. The main ambition of the BOND ERN is to implement measures that facilitate multidisciplinary, holistic, continuous, patient-centred and participative care provision to people living with rare bone diseases (RBD), supporting them in the full realisation of their fundamental human rights. In particular, BOND ERN aims to ensure that people living with a RBD are afforded the same standards of care and support as the ones available to other citizens with similar requirements. To meet this goal, BOND ERN gathers European professionals highly specialized in the field of RBD for both scientific research and multidisciplinary care to increase knowledge on RDs, to improve healthcare quality and patient safety, to increase access to ultra specialized medical expertise and accessible information beyond national borders, in accordance with Directive 2011/24/EU.
Facilities - Biobank of Genetic Samples (BIOGEN): The samples collected are more than 6500 different biospecimens, cover many fields of genetic and genomic research applications; in fact, the biobank includes human blood, blood components and derivates, DNA, RNA, urine, serum, tissues. Most of the samples are collected for diagnostic purpose, but patients are asked to use the blood/buccal scraping for research scopes, after reading and signing informed consent agreement. Other samples are collected only for research finality, like tissues, urine and serum.
Networks: EATRIS (European infrastructure for translational medicine), BBMRI-ERIC (Biobanking and BioMolecular Resources Research Infrastructure – ERIC), TNGB (Telethon Network of Genetic Biobank).
Online Studies

ON LINE is a medium-sized company, which employees 30 technical consultants and scientist and operates in the field of software development, technical consultancy and adult training.
ON LINE operates a software development department, which specializes in the designing of websites, portals and e-learning platforms. Its top priority is the diffusion of knowledge on computer skills and Information Technologies and Communications.
The familiarization with Information and Communication Technologies of final users, addressed business executives, banks, public organizations, training centers and Universities who wish to develop their skills and infrastructure.
ON LINE covers all educational needs, through synchronous and asynchronous e- learning platforms in any candidate's personal space. It is – among others – an IT company that provides technological solutions for website building and e-learning including learning Management Systems, web based platforms and development of e-leaning courses.
OnLine designs custom e-learning solutions, such as integrated Learning Management Systems (LMS) development, instructional design and custom e-learning content development that deliver measurable results. Since 2007, we have developed and built more than 150 websites and e-learning platforms, οf which the first one was the company’s e-learning platform. OnLine is a valuable partner to companies and organizations that use e-learning for their training needs. We specialize to e-learning related services and products; its expertise arises from dozens of successfully implemented e-learning projects and hundreds of users supported.