At some point in our lives, we will all be affected by one or more common complex diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular pathologies (heart attacks, strokes), diabetes, chronic inflammatory diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease) or neurological diseases (Alzheimer's disease). The rising incidence of these common pathologies is linked to our lifestyle, but also to the ageing of our population. The economic burden attributable to these pathologies is rapidly becoming unsustainable, putting our social security system at risk.  There is an urgent need to adapt the management of these pathologies, and it is generally accepted that P3 (Preventive, Personalized, Precision) medicine will play an essential role in this.

The aim of ENSEMBLE is to initiate the deployment of P3 medicine in the Walloon Region.


ENSEMBLE will be able to get off the ground thanks to initial ERDF funding from the MEDRESYST portfolio.

The project will be carried out in collaboration with the GIGA, the CHU and the Montefiore Institute.

ENSEMBLE comprises five actions:

  • A Walloon contribution to the European "1M Genomes" project by sequencing the genomes of Walloon citizens representing the region's ethnic diversity. The sequencing will be carried out by the GIGA Genomics platform.
  • Clinical deployment of "Polygenic Risk Scores" (PRS) for "common complex pathologies" including breast cancer, colon cancer, chronic inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes and myocardial infarction. The AI models used will be developed on the basis of UK Biobank and public GWAS data.  They will be gauged and calibrated by genotyping corresponding local case-control cohorts (200 individuals per pathology). Genotyping will be carried out at the GIGA genomics platform.  PRS will be calculated under the supervision of Professors Geurts, Bours and Georges.
  • Establishment of a Walloon "learning" cohort (under the supervision of Prof. Edouard Louis and Dr. Sophie Vieujean). In order to eventually generate more accurate and informative PRS (local population, ethnic diversity, richer clinomic data), we will collect biological samples from at least 10,000 Walloon citizens visiting Liège University Hospital.  DNA will be extracted from these samples and stored in the Biobanque Hospitalo-Universitaire de Liège (BHUL). 
  • Establishment of clinomic records for the calculation of PRS by automated AI extraction of structured data from CHU's electronic medical records. This project is led by Professor Kolh.
  • The search for determinants of rare diseases by sequencing the genomes of newborns with severe syndromes and their parents ("trios"). This project is under the direction of Professor Vincent Bours.

Objectives and methodology  

The aim of the ENSEMBLE research project is to calibrate (i.e. "adapt") polygenic risk scores to the population of the Walloon Region.
But how?

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Do you have any questions? Find answers to the main questions about the project here.

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Meet the team of doctors and researchers involved in the project.

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Do you have any questions ?

Juliette BEURIOT  - GIGA
ULiège - Avenue de l’Hôpital 11, B34, 2ème étage - B-4000 Liège
Tel  +32 4 323 65 43

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