Welcome to
the GENIAL project

Gene ENvironment Interaction in

ALcohol-related hepatocellular carcinoma



The GENIAL consortium brings together partners with unique expertise in clinical hepatology, as well as artificial intelligence to improve diagnosis of ALD-HC

The identification of environmental factors and genetic variations promoting alcohol-related hepatocellular carcinoma (ALD-HCC) will enable the development of targets and associated models enabling early-stage detection of individuals at risk of developing alcohol-related liver cancer thus improving drastically curative options and prognosis for patients.


of all deaths in Europe are related to alcohol consumption*

*according to the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) modelling.


is the proportion of Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in the total of liver cancers


of premature liver-related deaths in Europe every year


01 To uncover

genetic variants influencing ALD-HCC risk

02 To investigate

gene-environment interactions at single-cell level in ALD-HCC

03 To characterize

ALD-HCC related environmental factors at population level

04 To develop

AI models using large prospective cohorts for improved ALD-HCC risk prediction

05 To communicate

results to all EU citizens, including researchers, patients and the general public


Eric Trepo


Hepatology specialist at Université Libre de Bruxelles


It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to GENIAL - an extraordinary initiative set to redefine the landscape of alcohol-related liver cancer (ALD-HCC) in Europe.

WP 1 Introduction

Jessica Zucman Rossi, WP1 Leader

Director of INSERM Research Unit 1162

We will identify in WP1 common and rare genetic variant modulating the risk of ALD-HCC. We will evaluate those variants in the general population as well as in NAFLD cohorts.  

Our main objective is to identify novel inherited genetic variants predisposing to ALD-HCC. Those variants will be assesseld assessed for gene-environment interactions at molecular levels in WP2 and help define risk stratification in WP3. 

WP2 Introduction

Evaluation of gene-environment interactions for the risk of ALD-HCC development at molecular level

VIB - KU LEUVEN CENTER FOR CANCER BIOLOGY Laboratory of Cellular Metabolism and Metabolic Regulation

WP2 will evaluate how inherited genetic variants of ALD-HCC patients can be influenced by the liver environment. This will allow us to gain better insight into the onset of ALD-HCC and identify potential preventive drug targets. To increase our understanding of gene-environment interactions for the risk of ALD-HCC, we will:

  • 1.  Investigate the gene expression profile, nutrient/lipid metabolism and tissue anatomy in (cancerous and non-cancerous) liver tissue of ALD-HCC patients with inherited genetic variations and liver tissue of healthy people using single cell and spatial -omics approaches, 
  • 2.  Perform multi-omics data integration for each inherited genetic variant, identified in WP1, to identify the involvement of metabolites/lipids, specific cell types, cellular pathways and specific tissue disorganization,
  • 3.  Validate findings in preclinical mouse models.

We will use cutting-edge technologies: single cell/nuclei RNAseq, spatial transcriptomics/metabolomics/lipidomics and histological profiling. These will provide us, with unprecedented mechanistic and conceptual detail, information on how gene-environment interactions unfold in alcohol-related liver carcinogenesis.

WP5 Introduction

Project Management, IP Management, Data Management, and Ethics

In WP5, we navigate the ethical, administrative, and technical complexities of GENIAL. Our first task is ensuring that our research respects all ethical considerations and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We'll manage all aspects of the project, from activity scheduling, quality checks, and financial coordination to contractual management and conflict resolution. Our goal is a well-organised project that meets its objectives, delivers results, and complies with EU regulations.

WP4 Introduction by Marko Korenjak

The main objective of this work package is to set up and coordinate efficient strategies for internal and external communication in the GENIAL project, to disseminate information and train relevant stakeholders outside of the project. 


  • Identity creation, creation of dissemination infrastructure, external dissemination actions and communication

  • Internal dissemination and its management

  • Training

  • Risks surveillance and business development strategy


GENIAL in Track Hub on EASL Congress

GENIAL is proud to present the project objectives and ways of working during the EASL Congress pon June 22nd from 10:00 to 10:30 am.



Introduction to GENIAL by the coordinator

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to GENIAL - an exteraordinary initiative set to redefine the landscape of alcohol-related liver cancer (ALD-HCC) in Europe.

I am privileged to coordinate a team of accomplished professionals, all united by a common goal - to understand and effectively combat ALD-HCC.
Chronic alcohol consumption promotes alcohol-related cirrhosis and ALD-HCC. It is an enormous health burden in Europe, claiming many lives prematurely every year. With GENIAL, we are committed to addressing this pressing issue. Our project is uniquely positioned to delve into the complex genetic and environmental interplay that triggers ALD-HCC, employing cutting-edge technologies and innovative methods. Harnessing artificial intelligence, we plan to improve early detection and prevention by accurately predicting individual ALD-HCC risk.
However, our mission goes beyond the borders of scientific investigation. We are driven to disseminate our findings widely, ensuring that everyone across the EU, from patients to health professionals to the general public, gains access to our insights, playing a significant role in preventing this disease.
Stay connected with us for updates on our progress, upcoming events, and breakthroughs via our website and our Twitter handle, @GENIAL_project.