Fostering Gender Equality in Research: A Crucial Step Towards Innovative Research  07/02/2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), achieving gender equality is not just a goal; it's a necessity. As we stride forward into the future, it is an imperative to create an environment that not only welcomes diverse perspectives but actively encourages the participation of women in these fields.

Research thrives on innovation, and diversity is a key catalyst for groundbreaking ideas. By ensuring a gender-balanced research environment, we open the door to a wealth of untapped talent and unique viewpoints. The need for diversity in STEM is not just a matter of fairness but a strategic imperative for progress.

Encouraging young girls and female students to pursue their interests in STEM is a fundamental step in bridging the gender gap. By providing equal opportunities and support, we empower the next generation of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians to contribute their valuable insights to the global scientific community.

In the CAPSTONE project, we are taking decisive steps towards fostering gender balance. The project not only prioritises diversity but actively seeks to provide equal opportunities to Early Stage Researchers, ensuring a level playing field for all participants. By creating an inclusive and supportive ecosystem, CAPSTONE aims to set an example for collaborative research that values the contributions of both men and women.

Research shows that diverse teams outperform homogenous ones, leading to more innovative solutions. By encouraging young girls to explore STEM fields, we are not only shaping their futures but also contributing to a more dynamic and successful research landscape. Follow our LinkedIn to hear from CAPSTONE ESRs about their work environment and a gender balance in their research teams.

Let's champion gender equality in research, inspire the next generation of female scientists, and collectively build a future where everyone, regardless of gender, has the opportunity to contribute to the exciting world of STEM. Together, we can create a research environment that thrives on diversity, innovation, and equal opportunities for all

Vasilis (ESR2) and Ben (ESR1)'s secondment  29/01/2024

2024 kick-started with some wonderful interactions within our consortium CAPSTONE_H2020 !

Ben He (ESR1) and Vasilis (ESR2) had the opportunity to take "a short but insightful view around the principles of the biochemistry field, as well as the elements of structural biology concerning the function of metalloproteases at NCSR "DEMOKRITOS" (Athens, GR)" during their secondment.

Bellow a few words from Vasilis on his impressions:

"I am beyond grateful for this training secondment period that was recently completed and I would like to give a big shoutout to our fellow researcher and colleague Galateia Georgaki (ESR3) for her determination, support and guidance throughout the last few weeks.

Many thanks also to Pr. Efstratios Stratikos for hosting us in his research team and for sharing his scientific expertise while gaining valuable hands-on experience on recombinant protein production and purification. 🔬

Thank you for the great collaborative spirit and all the memorable moments we've shared!"

Martha Nikopaschou's (ESR4) Award-Winning Journey Featured in EuPA Newsletter's  23/01/2024

BSPR-EUPA 2023 in Newcastle marked my inaugural entry into the global proteomics community, concluding on a high note. – says Martha Nikopaschou, ESR4 in the CAPSTONE project. Martha not only presented her work at the conference with the poster presentation but has been honoured with the Best Poster Award by the British Society for Proteome Research and the European Proteomics Association (EuPA). As awarded with the prize, Martha also contributed to the fifth issue of the EuPA Newsletter which is now available online and will be broadly distributed in February 2024.

You can already read the full article penned by CAPSTONE ESR4, offering an in-depth exploration of Martha’s award-winning journey. Gain valuable insights into the world of proteomics, as ESR4 shares, next to the challenges and breakthroughs of the research, an excitement that comes with being recognised with the award.


To access the complete article and delve into the world of proteome research, visit the EUPA Newsletter's fifth issue.


Visit Martha’s profile and read about her scientific interests.

Click here to see the ESR presentations and posters.

A new publication from the CAPSTONE H2020 consortium  10/01/2024

Curious about delving into the influence of autoimmune GWAS 'hits' on modifying ERAP2 expression by transforming a downstream gene promoter into an enhancer for ERAP2?

Then make sure to read this publication from Jonas Kuiper.

Click here to follow and read all the articles from the capstone consortium.

Martha's secondment  20/12/2023

The end of the secondment of Martha (ESR4) in Dr Doriana Fruci’s lab at Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù in Rome!

Thanks to #MarieSkłodowskaCurie Network CAPSTONE_H2020, ESRs benefit from scientific exchanges that add value to their phD!

Vasilis (ESR2) wins an award for his presentation at the Drug Discovery Day  15/12/2023

Vasilis (ESR2) presents his work at the Drug Discovery Day (University of Lille).


Congratulations for his award!


Visit Vasilis’s profile and read about his scientific interests.

Click here to see the ESR presentations and posters.

Martha (ESR4) presents her work at the XVII ItPA, HPS, and SEPA International Congress in Rome.  01/12/2023

Congratulations to the winner of the ItPA Early Career Researcher award for her poster


Visit Martha’s profile and read about her scientific interests.

Click here to see the ESR presentations and posters.

Vasilis's secondment   01/12/2023

Exchange periods at other institutions within the consortium represent a vital component of the European Training Networks that are part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions.

At CAPSTONE_H2020, we are delighted to observe our ESRs reaping the benefits of these exchanges, viewing them as opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Below, you can read the impressions of Vasileios Fougiaxis (ESR2) regarding his secondment at EDELRIS in Lyon, France :

"Over the last two months I had the privilege of taking part into a wonderful research journey at EDELRIS (Lyon, FR) as a guest PhD student. I want to express my gratitude for this scientific and professional experience alongside the local team (Didier Roche, Vincent Rodeschini, Fabien Petit-Cancelier). Your guidance, expertise and support helped me to learn and grow further within the field of medicinal chemistry.

Thank you for your willingness to share a dynamic industrial environment in order to advance on my recent work towards hit-to-lead optimization on #ERAPaminopeptidases and for your patience to advise me through the various faced challenges. Throughout this period I was able to to expand my knowledge and skills by working with your state-of-the-art equipment and chemical synthesis platform.

Many thanks also to my supervisor Pr. Rebecca Deprez (U1177, University of Lille) and to CAPSTONE_H2020 for creating this opportunity which led to an exciting collaboration at the captivating city of Lyon.

Paula (ESR9) presented her work at the SIICA-SYIS Joint Symposium  04/11/2023

Congratulations to Paula Gragera (ESR9) and Dr. Doriana Fruci’s team for the nice work they presented at the #SIICA-SYIS Joint Symposium!

A new publication from the CAPSTONE H2020 consortium  04/11/2023

Interested ERAP2, but struggling to understand its genetics?


Check out the review on ERAP2 evolution and genetics, as well as naturally occurring ERAP2 allotypes in the global population "Evolutionary immuno-genetics of endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase II (ERAP2)" written by Arrosha Raja (ESR12) and her supervisor Dr. Jonas J.W. Kuiper.


Click here to follow and read all the articles from the CAPSTONE consortium.


6th CAPSTONE meeting   13/10/2023

The 6th CAPSTONE Network meeting is approaching to be hosted by CAPSTONE's coordinating university, the University of Lille, France from October 18th to 20th, 2023 This event is an opportunity for all CAPSTONE ESRs to present their progress through poster presentations and attend insightful talks about clinical studies and practical seminars on High-Throughput and High-Content Screening. Visit our website soon to learn more about the meeting and organised training sessions.

European Researcher's Night  29/09/2023

Vasileios Fougiaxis (ESR2) participated in the special Speedsearching online event during the European Researchers' Night to discuss around drug discovery and immuno-oncology, promoting science and research findings towards the broad Frend public audience.

Niki (ESR15) presented her work at the UK-QSAR meeting  14/09/2023

Congratulations to Nikoletta Koutroumpa (ESR15) from NovaMechanics Ltd for participating in the UK-QSAR Autumn 2023 Meeting held in Liverpool, UK! Keep up the good work, Nikoletta!

Click here to see the ESR presentations and posters.

Sandra (ESR11) presented her work at EFMC ASMC 23  07/09/2023

Sandra Llamas Rizo (ESR11) from the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens presented her work at the EFMCASMC23, organized by the EFMC - European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology in Zagreb!

Congratulations on this achievement, Sandra!

Click here to see the ESRs presentations and posters.

Vasilis (ESR2) and Ben (ESR1) presented their work   07/07/2023

Vasileios Fougiaxis (ESR2) and Ben He (ESR1) presented their work at the 57th RICT International Conference on Medicinal Chemistry in Lille!

Click here to see the ESRs presentations and posters.

Galateia (ESR3) presented her work   04/07/2023

Galateia Georgaki (ESR3) from NCSR "DEMOKRITOS", had the chance to participate in #EBSA's international congress on #biophysics and present her work! Keep up the good work Galateia!


Click here to see the ESRs presentations and posters.

Martha (ESR4) participated to the organizing committee of a symposium  09/06/2023

Last week, the 2nd Symposium of postgraduate students of the Department of Chemistry of the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens was successfully completed. Martha (ESR2) presented her work on her CAPSTONE-H2020 project and participated to the organizing committee


Congratulations to all the members of the organizing committee and to all the students that presented their work!


Click here to see the ESR presentations and posters.

Adele (ESR13) presented her work at ASMS 2023  08/06/2023

Adele Ponzoni (ESR13) presented her work about next-generation imaging biomarkers at ASMS 2023.

Congratulations to her!

Click here to see the ESR presentations and posters.

5th CAPSTONE Summit  12/05/2023

The 5th CAPSTONE summit took place in  Utrecht between the 10th and the 12th of May and the program had it all:

  • ESR Presentations
  • Insightful talks on business & enteurpreneurship
  • Informative sessions about openaccess and requirements for EU-funded projects by CAPSTONE's partner organization accelopment!
  • Training in scientific writing
  • Fruitful discussions with the PIs
  • City tour in the beautiful city of Utrecht

Congratulations to Dr. Jonas Kuiper and Aroosha Raja (ESR12) from UMC Utrecht for the excellent organization!


More details about this event here!

5th CAPSTONE Summit announcement   04/05/2023

The next CAPSTONE Summit will take place between May 10th and 12th in Utrecht!

Apart from the opportunity to meet again and present their progress, ESRs will also attend insightful talks about Systems Immunology and will receive training in business development, entrepreneurship and academic writing!

Stay tuned if you want to know more about the content of the meeting!

A new publication from the CAPSTONE H2020 consortium  03/05/2023

Congratulations to CAPSTONE PIs Dr. EfstratiosStratikos & Dr. Jonas Kuiper and to ESR4 Martha Nikopaschou for their work on this publication in Wiley's European Journal of Immunology!

If you are interested in learning more about the effect of allosteric inhibition of ERAP1 on the cellular immunopeptidome, you can access the article here.


Click here to follow and read all the articles from the capstone consortium.

A new publication from the CAPSTONE H2020 consortium  31/03/2023

Congratulations to the NovaMechanics Ltd team and especially to CAPSTONE_H2020's PI Dr. Antreas Afantitis & ESR15 Nikoletta Koutroumpa for this systematic review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences MDPI!


Click here to follow and read all the articles from the capstone consortium.

CAPSTONE celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science  14/02/2023

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.

Special thanks to Martha (ESR4), Adele (ESR13), Paula (ESR9), Galateia (ESR3) and Aroosha (ESR12) for implementing the activity on CAPSTONE social media channels, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Poster presentations from ESR5, ESR6 and ESR14  27/01/2023

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 publication from 2 supervisors  15/12/2022

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:

4rd CAPSTONE summit will take place soon!   30/09/2022

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.

ACAC2022 Flash presentation from CAPSTONE ESRs   13/09/2022

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!

SCT-YRFM 2022 poster presentation from CAPSTONE ESRs   04/07/2022

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."

3rd CAPSTONE summit is finally approaching!   13/05/2022

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.

CAPSTONE 2nd ESR Event  17/03/2022

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.

You can check CAPSTONE LinkedIn and Twitter accounts to get insights from the meeting as well as visit our website for a detailed description of the training and key takeaways shared by ESRs.

ESR Outreach session  07/02/2022

On 7th February 2022, CAPSTONE ESRs met again during the online session dedicated to the project’s outreach activities. Communicating about the project and disseminating its results is one of the obligations of the researchers. CAPSTONE’s ESRs are committed to raising awareness about the project and communicating about their research to a wide range of audiences. During the CAPSTONE outreach session, ESRs got familiar with their responsibilities and obligations as well as learned how to use social media to increase the CAPSTONE outreach.

CAPSTONE 1st ESR event  23/11/2021

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!

All ESR recruited !  15/11/2021

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 !

CAPSTONE ESR Recruitment  01/02/2021

Recruitment has officially started for CAPSTONE !

CAPSTONE Kick-off meeting  29/01/2021

The CAPSTONE Kick-off Virtual Meeting will take place on January the 29th 2021.

CAPSTONE officially started !   01/01/2021

We are pleased to announce you that the CAPSTONE (Controlling Antigen Processing in Autoimmune diseases and Cancer) PhD project starts on January the 1st 2021