Building a foundation for future therapies through state of the art biomedical technology

The BIRDIE project was formulated with an emphasis of bringing broad societal impact from the development of state-of-the-art biomedical technology. Our vision is that the humanized kidney in vitro models developed within the BIRDIE project will allow further understanding of kidney disease while supporting future therapies for patients. Furthermore, the aimed in vitro models will be essential to test new therapies administered to patients (e.g. during drug development) or ultimately being able to generate patient-specific in vitro models (derived for iPSCs generated from patient cells) allowing personalized medicine approaches. 

Advisory board

Dr. Jasper Boomker, Dutch Kidney Foundation

Dr. Boomker works as Program Manager Technological Innovation for the Dutch Kidney Foundation, a health charity organization that funds research and development projects for improving kidney health and treatments for kidney failure. Dr. Boomker studied Biomedical Sciences at the University of Utrecht and obtained his PhD in Medical Biology at the University of Groningen. He fostered multiple public-private research projects on bioartificial and wearable and artificial kidneys, regenerative medicine and ehealth. He is also scientific advisor of the NeoKidney Development BV, a social enterprise that makes an international effort to develop a portable dialysis machine.

Prof. Maryvonne Hourmant, Francophone Society of Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplantation

Prof. Hourmant is the Head of the Nephrology and Clinical Immunology Department at University Hospital in Nantes. She is actively working in the clinic, transplantation consultation and clinical research. She has been habilitated as a professor in nephrology in 1999. Professor Hourmant is also the current president of the Francophone Society of Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplantation, the association of French speaking nephrologists, federating outside France.

Prof. Dr. med. Petra Reinke, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Petra Reinke is Professor of Nephrology and Transplantation, head of the “Kidney Transplant Outpatient Clinic” at the Department Nephrology Charité, and founding directorof the Berlin Center for Advanced Therapies (BeCAT). She is also member of the Founding Steering Committee of the BIH Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT) where she heads the clinical research field  “Immunology and Cell Therapy”, including the GMP core unit. Her scientific work focuses on immunological processes that take place during and after transplantation and personalized immunotherapies.

The FSNDT supports the BIRDIE project with a great deal of enthusiasm. The renal tubule is a true factory with a complex machinery and multiple functions. It is not easy to study and having a 3D in-vitro humanized renal tubule will help to understand its functioning mode and the consequences of its dysfunction, meaning the disease of the patient. In vitro generated tubular cells are already developed for the manufacturing of implantable dialysis device that will change the life of dialysed patients. But the great dream of the patients with end-stage renal disease is that one day, it will be possible, with in-vitro generated cells, to construct a kidney transplant for each of them. BIRDIE is the first step of a probably long but so beautiful story.

Pr Maryvonne Hourmant, chair of the French Society of Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation (FSNDT)