Counting for 50% of the world's population, women and girls continue to face significant barriers to increasing their presence across the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Even though women have made tremendous progress towards increasing their participation in higher education, they are still under-represented in these fields.
On the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, all CAPSTONE consortium members celebrate the achievements of women in STEM and advocate for greater diversity and equality. Our female ESRs organised a social media activity to communicate about this special day and highlight CAPSTONE’s contribution to addressing the gender gap across scientific fields.
As mentioned by António Guterres the UN Secretary, in his 2023 message: “gender bias in science is leading to worse outcomes”. In CAPSTONE ETN we are dedicated to tackling this issue by acting towards recognising the added value of gender equality, supporting our female ESRs and promoting gender aspects in CAPSTONE research.
CAPSTONE research communication activities for 2022 ended with a high note for Shami Alvarez Mourid (ESR5, University of Southampton, UK), Dario Vinicio Guglietta (ESR6, University of Southampton, UK) and Filipa de Vasconcelos (ESR14, Inocure, CZ), who had the opportunity to share their most recent project updates and results through inspiring poster presentations at impactful scientific conferences.
- Shami and Dario attended the annual “British Society for Immunology Congress” in Liverpool (UK) organized by British Society for Immunology. The event took place between the 5th and 8th of December 2022 with over 1500 participants and a programme covering all the latest information around translational immunology and spotlighting topics such as neuroimmunology, immunotherapy, and tissue immunology. State-of-the-art applications were discussed and ESRs could exchange fruitful scientific talks with a wider audience in their field. Shami presented his poster titled “The effects of ERAP1 modulation in antigen processing and presentation” focusing on his efforts around the inhibition of ERAP1 allotypes and how this affects the peptide repertoire in normal and tumor cells. In a similar manner, Dario delivered a poster presentation regarding the ‘’Effect of ERAP1 modulation on the induction of protective anti-tumor immunity’’ studying how to modify ERAP1 on inducing protective anti-tumor immunity, by establishing an ERAP1 genetic knockout method.
- Filipa attended virtually the “International Biomedical Engineering for Drug Discovery and Development” which took place in Bangkok (TH) between 20-21 of December 2022. The conference aimed to bring together researchers to share their experiences and results on different aspects of Biomedical Engineering applied to Drug Discovery and Development. Filipa presented her poster entitled “Development of Drug Delivery Systems for ERAP/IRAP Modulators using Electrospinning Techniques”. This presentation examined methods to overcome shortcomings of drug delivery systems, such as the encapsulation of inhibitors into polymers with nanoparticle electrospun fibrous meshes.
Shami, Dario and Filipa are sharing their impressions:
Shami (ESR5): “It was fantastic to be able to share my data with other PhD students, and experts in the fields of cancer biology and immunology. I got some very valuable inputs and suggestions of things that I could try in my next experiments, it was also very encouraging to see how much progress scientists are making in the field and how many new applications and technologies are being brought into the market by companies in order to maximize efficiency.”
Dario (ESR6): ‘’ Presenting my work at a large conference as the BSI was a thrilling experience for sure, and discussing my research with other colleagues provided insightful perspectives on it.”
Filipa (ESR14): “It is always a great pleasure to share the result of my hard work amongst other researchers, while acquiring more knowledge on different scientific and interesting topics!”
Read their abstracts here
A new publication from CAPSTONE partners, Dr. Jonas Kuiper from the University of Utrecht (NE) and Pr. Peter Van Endert from Université Paris Cité (FR) was recently published in “Trends in Immunology”. The authors put the spotlight on the ERAP2 variants in the article: “Uncovering the genomic toll of the Black Death”.
The human immune system is exposed to constant and significant selective pressure. Myriad pathogens constantly adapting to our immune defenses probe our resistance to potentially lethal infections and select individuals with genetic traits favoring survival. In human history, possibly the most formidable challenge to our immune system was the Black Death, a pandemic caused by Y. pestis, which hit immunologically naive Europeans around 1346 AD and killed up to 50% of the European and 20% of the global population.
Read the full article under the link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.it.2022.12.001
ESRs and supervisors will meet for the 2nd time physically for the 4rd CAPSTONE summit in Athens between October 18th and 21th.
The network-wide gathering will include planned scientific workshops dedicated on protein production and analysis by structural biology and data modelling. ESRs will have the opportunity to present the up-to-date results from their research projects, as well as communicate and exchange knowledge during the meeting.
More informations about the event on our CAPSTONE LinkedIn and Twitter accounts or visit our website soon for further details and key points shared by the participants.
Towards the end of their first academic year as PhD students, CAPSTONE ESRs from the University of Athens and NCSR Demokritos in Greece had the opportunity to participate in their first international conference. Galateia Georgaki (ESR 3), Martha Nikopaschou (ESR 4) and Sandra Llamas-Rizo (ESR 11) presented an overview of their projects at the "Athens Conference on Advances in Chemistry (acac2022)".
The event took place between June 26th and July 1st on the campus of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and aimed to update researchers and students on the research breakthroughs in different fields of chemistry, including biochemistry and medicinal chemistry. More than 100 participants from Greece and abroad had the chance to get involved in fruitful discussions during several plenary and keynote sessions, invited lectures, short talks and poster presentations.
The three ESRs from CAPSTONE participated in the flash presentations session, where they delivered talks on ERAPs and antigen presentation:
• Production of recombinant ERAP enzymes and their use in evaluating inhibitor libraries that probe substrate specificity pockets. Galateia Georgaki (ESR 3)
• Production & purification of monoclonal antibodies: a first step towards the characterization of the MHC I immunopeptidome in the A375 melanoma cell line. Martha Nikopaschou (ESR 4)
• A combinatorial approach for the discovery of selective inhibitors of Zn aminopeptidases ERAPs/IRAP. Sandra Llamas-Rizo (ESR 11)
At the end of the session, all three ESRs agreed that the experience of presenting their research to the public was amazing, as they were able to exchange knowledge with other researchers’ expertise in both similar and different fields of chemistry. In addition to that, this activity helped them improve their communication and presentation skills, a very useful competence in the scientific world!
It has been a busy summer for the CAPSTONE ESRs from the University of Lille (FR). In July, two ESRs, Ben He (ESR1) and Vasilis Fougiaxis (ESR2), attended the 29th Young Research Fellows Meeting organised by French Medicinal Chemistry Society in Nantes (FR).
The event took place between the 4th and 6th of July 2022 and was addressing the disciplines of Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology by promoting research from academia and industry. Both, young and acknowledged researchers presented their work through lectures, poster presentations and oral communications around topics such as structural biology, structure-activity relationship studies, design and synthesis of new biological probes, chemoinformatic, synthetic methodologies and natural products. The meeting attracted more than 200 in-person participants from France and abroad.
Ben and Vasilis presented their 1st common CAPSTONE poster titled “Design and development of ERAP1 immunomodulators through combinatorial and innovative medicinal chemistry strategies”. It was an excellent opportunity to promote a scientific scope of their projects and methods used to develop chemical compounds targeting ERAP, including Rational design, Kinetic target-guided synthesis and Fragment-based drug discovery.
Vasilis (ESR2) is sharing his impressions:
"Experiencing our first CAPSTONE dissemination activity was thrilling since we had to interact with a young scientific audience in our field of knowledge and visually present our efforts and work. Doing that also as a team helped us to develop our collaborative spirit and build up our level of public communication/networking soft skills."
The upcoming event will take place between May 11th and 13th in Rome, Italy and will mark the first physical meeting among ESRs, supervisors and related partners.
The network-wide gathering will include planned scientific workshops dedicated to drug discovery in Europe, while transferable skills training will be also offered in the form of sessions centering around Scientific writing and its primary goals. ESRs will have the chance to present and disseminate the up-to-date results from their research projects, as well as communicate and exchange knowledge in the field of ERAP and antigen processing.
You can follow the event through CAPSTONE LinkedIn and Twitter accounts or visit our website soon for further details and key takeaways shared by the participants.
The second CAPSTONE Network meeting is held online this week from 15th-17th March. The event agenda combines scientific workshops on antigen processing, ERAP structure and genetics with presentations from CAPSTONE ESRs:
- Shami Alvarez Mourid on Effects of modulation of ERAP1 activity in antigen processing and presentation;
- Filippa Vasconelos on Development of drug discovery system for ERAP/IRAP modulators;
- Aroosha Raja on Transcriptional profiling of ERAPs in human blood dendritic cells (mDCs and pDCs) in different immune-related diseases.
The very first ESR meeting takes place online on the 22nd and 23rd of November.
During these days ESRs will have the opportunity to present themselves and benefit from the team-building experience. Next to that they will get a better understanding of the CAPSTONE training programme and get insights into "Life as an MSCA fellow".
The first training on scientific integrity, ethics, gender and stress management will also be a part of the event. Soon all CAPSTONE ESRs will share key takeaways from the meeting, so stay tuned!
More informations here!
We are happy to announce that all 15 ESRs have now been successfully recruited within the CAPSTONE Project.
You can discover them and their project here !