Scientific project

Liesbet Geris awarded ERC Consolidator funding for her INSTant CARMA project

In Research Projet de recherche

Head of the biomechanical engineering laboratory within theIn silico Medicine unit of the GIGA, and of the A&M research unit (Faculty of Applied Sciences) of the ULiège, Liesbet Geris has just been selected to receive an ERC Consolidator Grant for her INSTant CARMA project. The grant was awarded to her to continue her research on the development of new cartilage regenerative medicine techniques for the treatment of osteoarthritis.


steoarthritis (OA) is a widespread disease, affecting one in eight adults worldwide, and its prevalence is expected to increase by 60% over the next two decades. Due to the complex interplay of many influencing factors - such as mechanical loading and inflammation - that act on multiple length scales and tissue compartments, there are currently no drugs available on the market that can modify the course of the disease. The INSTant CARMA project, led by Liesbet Geris, Professor in Biomechanics and Computational Tissue Engineering at the University of Liège and KU Leuven, aims to harness the power of in silico* assays to study the onset and progression of osteoarthritis and to design endogenous (drugs) and exogenous (tissue engineering) therapies.

The project involves the development of a multi-factorial and multi-scale in silico model of the knee joint that will be validated by in vitro and in vivo experiments. A continuous effort following targeted and non-targeted approaches will take place to explore biological hypotheses and implement relevant extensions of the model," explains Liesbet Geris.  In parallel, we will develop computational scaling tools to prepare the model for running in silico trial simulations on virtual patient cohorts. The first in silico trial will investigate the effect of drug combinations predicted by our model, after experimental confirmation in the laboratory. The second trial will seek to optimise tissue engineering constructs for the regeneration of deep osteochondral defects (cartilage fracture or tear), after experimental validation.

To achieve its objectives, INSTant CARMA can rely on the know-how and knowledge of Liesbet Geris and her team in the development and implementation of in silico, in vitro and in vivo tools. In addition, this research will be shared with her scientific network with the aim of accelerating the adoption of in silico testing strategies in the development of medical therapies in general and OA in particular.

Liesbet Geris has already been awarded two ERC grants - in 2011 (Starting Grant) for her BRIDGE project, which aimed at the application of engineering models to the biomedical field of tissue regeneration, and in 2017 (Consolidator grant) for her INSITE project, also in the field of tissue engineering and the development of new in silico strategies.

* In vitro: refers to research that takes place outside living organisms or in cells.
In vivo: refers to research carried out on living organisms.
In silico: refers to research carried out using numerical models.

About ERCs

ERC Grants are major instruments deployed by the European Research Council to fund research projects in Europe. The procedure is highly selective and only the best researchers and research projects of the highest calibre are selected, combining boldness and competence to tackle novel avenues of research that, if successful, could substantially enrich the knowledge.

ERC Consolidator grants are designed to support researchers with between 7 and 12 years of post-doctoral experience, a highly promising scientific track record and an excellent research proposal.

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