The iMM – Instituto de Medicina Molecular João Lobo Antunes is a leading Portuguese private non-profit research institute that offers a vibrant scientific environment, aiming to nurture innovative ideas in basic, clinical and translational biomedical research.
Created in 2002, iMM has established itself as a leading national and internationally competitive biomedical institute. iMM’s main missions are to promote basic biomedical, clinical, translational and innovation research, with the aim of contributing to a better understanding of disease mechanisms, to develop new diagnostic or predictive tests as well as new therapies; to support postgraduate scientific training of young graduates, doctors and other health professionals; and to support scientific dissemination and the provision of services abroad in the areas of specialized diagnosis, quality control and collaboration in National and International Commissions related to Health. Its strategy has been defined by promotion of excellence, leveraged by high-quality human resources, increasing expenditure in infrastructures and knowledge transfer to the society. iMM is an inclusive, equal opportunity employer offering attractive conditions and benefits.
Role in METHYLOMIC project
iMM is the leader of work package 4 (WP4) in the METHYLOMIC project, which aims to confirm the potential of DNA methylation markers for predicting biological therapy success in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriasis (PsO). Under WP4, iMM will collaborate with three centers of expertise and renowned clinical trial units to establish discovery and validation cohorts to identify patterns of epigenetic biomarkers in the peripheral blood of patients with RA and PsO associated with response to three different biologics for each disease. The goal is to use epigenetic biomarker data to predict response to biologics at the onset of therapy. One of the major tasks of WP4 is to implement a multi-center, prospective clinical trial study (EPISORA) involving RA and PsO patients with active disease in need of a new biologic treatment. This study will be performed at the Lisbon Academic Medical Centre, the University Hospitals of Ghent, and Amsterdam University Medical Centre. Machine learning algorithms will be used to couple the DNA methylation profiles to the treatment response. Overall, the goal of WP4 is to provide clinicians with a reliable tool for predicting treatment success and allow personalized management for patients with RA and PsO based on epigenetic biomarkers.