Unilu stemcell breakthrough 

Scientists at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg have succeeded in turning human stem cells from skin samples into tiny, three-dimensional, brain-like cultures that behave very similarly to cells in the human mid-brain. 

The brain is the most complex human organ which, together with ethical concerns, make it extremely difficult to do scientific experiments on it – ones that could help us to understand neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, among others.

In the researchers’ petri dishes, different cell types develop, connect into a network, exchange signals and produce metabolic products typical of the active brain. 

“Our cell cultures open new doors to brain research,” said professor Jens Schwamborn, whose LCSB Developmental & Cellular Biology research group did the work. “We can now use them to study the causes of Parkinson’s disease and how it could possibly be effectively treated.” 

The human mid-brain is of particular interest to Parkinson’s researchers as it is the seat of the tissue structure known medically as the substantia nigra. Here, nerve cells – specifically dopaminergic neurons – produce the dopamine messenger, needed to maintain smooth body movements. If the dopaminergic neurons die off, then the person affected develops tremors and muscle rigidity, the distinctive symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. For ethical reasons, researchers cannot take cells from the substantia nigra to study them. Research groups around the world are therefore working on cultivating three-dimensional structures of the midbrain in petri dishes. The LCSB team led by stem cell researcher Jens Schwamborn is one such group.

The LCSB scientists worked with so-called induced pluripotent stem cells – stem cells that cannot produce a complete organism, but which can be transformed into all cell types of the human body. The procedures required for converting the stem cells into brain cells were developed by Anna Monzel as part of her doctoral thesis, which she is doing in Schwamborn’s group. 

“I had to develop a special, precisely defined cocktail of growth factors and a certain treatment method for the stem cells, so that they would differentiate in the desired direction,” Monzel said. 

To do this, she was able to draw on extensive preparatory work that had been done in Schwamborn’s team over previous years. The pluripotent stem cells in the petri dishes multiplied and spread out into a three-dimensional supporting structure – producing tissue-like cell cultures.

“Our subsequent examination of these artificial tissue samples revealed that various cell types characteristic of the midbrain had developed,” says Jens Schwamborn. “The cells can transmit and process signals. We were even able to detect dopaminergic cells – just like in the midbrain.” This fact makes the LCSB scientists’ results of extraordinary interest to Parkinson’s researchers worldwide, as Schwamborn stresses: “On our new cell cultures, we can study the mechanisms that lead to Parkinson’s much better than was ever the case before. We can test what effects environmental impacts such as pollutants have on the onset of the disease, whether there are new active agents that could possibly relieve the symptoms of Parkinson’s – or whether the disease could even be cured from its very cause. We will be performing such investigations next.”

The development of the brain-like tissue cultures not only opens doors to new research approaches, it can also help to reduce the amount of animal testing in brain research. The cell cultures in the petri dishes are of human origin, and in some aspects resemble human brains more than the brains of lab animals such as rats or mice do. Therefore, the structures of human brains and its modes of function can be modelled in different ways than it is possible in animals. 

“There are also attractive economic opportunities in our approach,” Jens Schwamborn said. “The production of tissue cultures is highly elaborate. In the scope of our spin-off Braingineering Technologies Sarl, we will be developing technologies by which we can provide the cultures for a fee to other labs or the pharmaceutical industry for their research.”

The team publishes its results today in the scientific journal Stem Cell Reports: (DOI: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2017.03.010)

sport pour tous

With a view to promoting fun, fitness and well-being, the Sports Department of the City of Luxembourg offers its "Sports for All" program throughout the year, consisting of more than 150 weekly lessons Youth, adults and elders, living in the capital or another municipality.

The program mefor young people comprises more than 20 activities, including team sports (volleyball, foosball ...), individual sports (skateboarding, aikido, archery, zumba, break-dance, fitness, jogging ...) or courses of various sports activities called "multisports leisure". 

Adult courses are mainly focused on fitness (gym dance, fitness step ...), gymnastics (gym abdominals-back, gym relaxation, preventive gym, mid-gym, ladies gym, parent-child gym …), jogging (for all levels) and aquatic activities (aqua-gym, aqua-jogging, hydro …).

For seniors / active 55-plus, the programme includes some 40 sporting activities adapted to the rhythm of people aged 55 and over, such as the soft gym (standing and sitting), the aquatic gym, gentle strength training, stretching or dancing for seniors.

From Monday, April 24, 2017 the spring / summer term for "Sports for All” starts, with an expanded programme including indoor, outdoor and pool courses, enhanced by a variety of new outdoor activities, including beach volleyball, football and road cycling for young people, hiking, biking, cycling, golfing at the "Luxembourg Golf Centre" in Kockelscheuer, golf courses (initiation and improvement) at the "Golf and Country Club Christnach", taijiquan and qi gong for the adults, taijiquan, qi gong, cycling initiation, cycling tours and kayak tours for the elderly.

Flyers with the full programme are available at the Bierger-Center, the Town Hall, the City's sports facilities, the Sports Department and the City's website:  

Interested parties can request a registration form from the Sports Department on 5, Rue de l'Abattoir, Luxembourg, or telephone: 4796-4400, or download the form on the City's website:

Thursday, 13 April 2017 17:20

Registry Hours for Easter Monday

ville de luxembourg logo

The state registry for birth and death declarations will be open between 09:30 to 11.30 on Easter Monday, 17 April 2017. The entry is at Bierger-Center, 44,Pplace William II.



asti housing volunteers


The immigrant workers support association (ASTI) has proposed a supervision model for volunteers involved in accommodation structures for asylum seekers.

As part of a collaboration agreement under which ASTI manages an accommodation structure for DPI in Mersch, the Luxembourg Office for Hospitality and Integration - OLAI commissioned ASTI to carry out a pilot project from 15 September 2015 to 31 December 2016 for development of a model to determine the management needs of volunteers who support asylum seekers. 

The volunteer mentoring model had to be replicable in other accommodation structures, focusing, inter alia, on the definition of the tasks and tasks to be performed by a volunteer, a proposal for structuring and organising volunteer training, clarification of the legal framework and obligations,

development of a pedagogical training structure and model for volunteer training, search for a structure that can carry the project, and documenting the issues and challenges encountered.

Through a series of collaborations and joint activities with schools, local organisations, the commune etc, ASTI says that it has succeeded in bringing the residents of the home closer to the other residents of Mersch, sharing positive moments together.

Moreover, ASTI participated in the development of information sessions and basic training for volunteers, which were set up, among others, by close collaboration between the Volunteer Agency, ASTI, The Red Cross, Caritas and Reech eng Hand. Thanks to the financial support of the National Organization of Secours Grande-Duchesse Charlotte (call for projects "Mateneen"), the "get involved" volunteer training was created and coordinated by the Volunteer Agency. 

On the basis of observation and reflection work with the volunteers and the residents of the home, ASTI has put in place instruments -- documents, meetings, training, etc. -- that allow for effective supervision and monitoring of volunteers in the homes.

These instruments mainly concern the framework for intervention that regulates the roles of all stakeholders in the home, volunteer information, monitoring and coordination among volunteers, training, and the valorisation of volunteers.

All of the observations and instruments were documented in a final report, which provides a model for mentoring volunteers in shelters for international protection applicants. It should be noted, however, that the pilot project was carried out in a small shelter for families and that the instruments developed require adaptations depending on the accommodation structure where it is applied.

The volunteer mentoring model is available from ASTI and others for managers of accommodation structures for IPRs, municipalities or other interested bodies who would like to use them.

If voluntarism cannot replace the professional, vice versa, the professional can not replace the volunteer because he or she plays an important role in the process of integrating IPR into our society. Through their commitment, they support organisations and social workers in the activities and approaches carried out with IPRs and facilitate contact between the host population and IPRs. It is therefore important to support volunteers in their commitments and to value their work.

ASTI says that the organisation is convinced that the model of mentoring volunteers in shelters for asylum seekers can allow a more structured follow-up of the volunteers involved in the IPR and a more effective social work of accompanying IPR.

Thursday, 13 April 2017 16:50

Sanem Road Closures from 21 to 24 April

roads deviation 21 29april2017

As a result of the  construction of the road access to the future Ueschterhaff penitentiary in Sanem, respectively, work related to supply networks (water, gas, electricity, etc.), the crossing of the N32 and the CR110 Will be blocked from 20:00 on Friday 21 April until 06:00 on Monday 24 April.

Following this work, the N32 between the CR110 and the Woeller roundabout will remain blocked until Saturday 29 April 2017.

Departures to the localities of Sanem and Aessen will be set up from the Differdange / Gadderscheier interchange. The Woeller business park will remain accessible from the A13 motorway.

Thursday, 13 April 2017 16:45

A13 Closures from 24 to 28 April

roads deviation 24april2017

As a result of works on the Lankelz / Ehlerange interchange and the civil works at the Ehlerange interchange, the access road to the A13 motorway in the direction of Luxembourg / Esch-Alzette will be closed between 09:30 and 16:30 each day from 24 April to 28 April. The Bridges and Highway Administration says that a deviation will be established. 

pwc students

Sixty-two finance and accounting students from Luxembourg and the Greater Region were invited to have a taste of their possible future careers thanks to a complete two-day immersion with PwC, with the possibility of pocketing a full-time job for up to half of them. 

PwC has been running the recruitment days for almost ten years, which have become a key calendar date for prospective finance and accounting graduates.  

The ‘inside job’ puts the students in direct contact with day-to-day working life at the firm. 

"This experience is a unique opportunity for these young shoots to project themselves in our company and to discover our professions and our living environment, but also to federate them around our corporate culture and our values: working as a team, acting With integrity, to listen to others, to open the field of possibilities and to distinguish themselves, "said Marc Schernberg, Partner and people leader of PwC Luxembourg.


Luxembourg regulatory institute

The Luxembourg Regulatory Institute (ILR) has affirmed that the imminent changes on roaming charges in the European Union, and Switzerland, do not affect other contract rights and or tariffs binding consumers.

Any modification or even an increase in a contract price initially foreseen, when proposed by an operator, may be refused by the consumer. When an existing consumer, i.e. a customer who has contracted with an operator, does not wish to accept such a modification or even increase, he has the right to terminate the contract in progress without charge. But pay attention for multi-service contracts and offers, including a subsidy from a mobile phone, etc.

The ILR considers that any automatic migration, after a certain period of time indicated by an operator, to a new contract with higher tariffs does not comply with the regulations in force. 

It should be noted that the entry into force of the new rules on roaming does not affect the right to portability of call numbers. The right to portability allows consumers who wish to change operators to keep their old call number. The call number porting requires a pre-subscription of a new contract with another operator so that the new number can be carried.

Additional information on how to avoid the risk of abuse, the possibility for the operator to charge surcharges as part of the viability of their offers will follow on the ILR website under the following link : Https:// useful


Thursday, 13 April 2017 15:58

Cactus Launches GinkoSushi Range

cactus ginkosushi

Handmade GinkoSushi sets are now available at Cactus stores, the only external distributor for the sushi restaurant in Strassen that first opened its doors in 2010. 

Michel Gallo, fishmonger for Cactus, emphasised the hygiene standards imposed by GinkoSushi. 

"With GinkoSushi we have an exceptional partner for ultra-fresh and artisanal sushi. All the products are manufactured in a workshop that meets the highest standards of quality and hygiene in Luxembourg. Major renovations and finalisation of the production workshop were carried out upstream of this collaboration in order to offer our customers high quality fresh products,” he said.  

This addition to Cactus’ selection of local and regional products responds to an increasing demand from customers says Cactus. 

The sushi boxes, signed by GinkoSushi, are now available on a self-service basis at Cactus outlets.

Image: Michel Gallo, Madame Zheng from GinkoSushi, Marc Hoffmann, Cactus Marketing



Thursday, 13 April 2017 15:24

ING Luxembourg Makes €44K UNICEF Donation

 ing unicef

With a €44,000 donation presented yesterday, ING has brought the amount that it has donated to UNICEF over the last four years up to €150,000 for projects supporting children and youth in Zambia.

For 10 years, ING Luxembourg and UNICEF have worked together to support children and young people in underprivileged regions and every time a customer swipes their ING Visa card, the bank donates 1¢ to UNICEF Luxembourg, raising €44,000 last year.

On Wednesday this week, the CEO of ING Luxembourg, Colette Dierick, gave UNICEF-Luxembourg presented a cheque for that amount to support the joint ING-UNICEF 'Power for Youth' programme to help young people from six countries, including Zambia. This follows on from 'Chances for Children' which helped children in Zambia access quality primary education in 2013 and 2014. 

In 2016, ING's action focused on solidifying partnerships and supporting U-Report, a free SMS communications platform, allowing young Zambians to give their opinions on sensitive subjects such as AIDS prevention and to influence decisions taken by local authorities. The objective is to constantly improve the quality of this platform. 

Furthermore, UNICEF have put a lot of effort into ensuring that the 'Power for Youth' initiative has been incorporated in the new 2016-2020 cooperation programme between UNICEF and the Zambian government. They hope to thereby ensure that ING-UNICEF activities, which help teenage boys and girls face the challenges of life thanks to innovative training models, are supported nationally at all levels. 

The funds generated by ING in 2016 have enabled the two partners to help many young Zambians acquire the education and social skills required to manage everyday problems responsibly and independently, while receiving support from their parents and their community as well as local politicians and social services. 

“We are proud and happy to have helped Zambian children and teenagers these last four years! Since 2013, ING has given UNICEF Luxembourg a total of €150,000 which has contributed to the development and education of young people from one of the most underprivileged regions in the world,” said Ms Dierick. 

Receiving the cheque, Maryse Arendt, President of UNICEF-Luxembourg, said the support is crucial to the future of projects in the region. “Through the partnership, ING Luxembourg has been supporting our activities in Zambia for a number of years. This has enabled us to have a fundamental long-term impact on the lives of thousands of children and their future roles as responsible adults in their communities. Adolescence plays an important role in this as this is the period of their lives where they will learn to develop their potential to break the cycle of poverty, discrimination and violence. ING Luxembourg's support is therefore crucial for their future,” she said.

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