A Report on the 11th Austrian Peptide Symposium

11th Austrian Peptide Symposium
Vienna, Austria, 1 December 2023.

The 2022 meeting was our 11th edition and finally back as in-person event in Vienna  (1st of December 2022). The meeting was co-organized by Christian Gruber (Medical University of Vienna) and Christian Becker (Austrian representative to the EPS, University of Vienna). Following a successful tradition, we started the event with a speaker’s dinner the evening prior to the meeting (this time at the Heurigen Restaurant Kierlinger). The meeting was held as one-day symposium including 4 scientific sessions, poster and industry presentations, and a dinner/networking session. We were able to gather invited lectures by renowned national and international speakers, short oral presentations mainly from Austrian early career investigators, which were selected from the submitted abstracts, and a vibrant poster session including 35 posters, covering manifold aspects of peptide research. Overall, we had a record-breaking 101 participants attending from 16 countries. As one of the highlights, we presented the second “Bachem AtPS Award for Peptide Science” – for details, please see below.

Participants of the 11th Austrian Peptide Symposium

The first morning session was chaired by Christian Becker and focused on the chemistry and chemical biology of peptides including the following speakers: Pedro Gois (University of Lisbon, Portugal) “N-Terminal Cysteine: A Hot-Spot for Bioconjugation”, Luc Brunsveld (University of Eindhoven, The Netherlands) “Cooperativity in protein-protein interaction stabilization; a guiding principle in molecular glue development”, and Monika Swiontek (CEM, Germany) with an industry presentation titled “Ultra-Efficient Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis”.

The second morning session was chaired by Christian Gruber and focused on peptide physiology and pharmacology and we had talks from Helena Safavi (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) “Evolutionary-optimized peptide ligands from cone snail venoms”, Meritxell Canals (University of Nottingham, UK) “Ligand-dependent regulation of mu-opioid receptors” and Manuela Schmidt (University of Vienna, Austria) “The protein landscape of chronic pain”.

The poster session, which was held after the lunch break, featuring 35 poster presentations that were presented mainly by early-career researchers. There was also a poster award competition (for winners see end of this article).

The first afternoon session was chaired by Anne Conibear (TU Vienna) and included six excellent short oral contributions selected from the submitted abstracts. Talks were given by Mirja Harms (University of Ulm, Germany) “Preclinical development of the endogenous CXCR4 antagonist EPI-X4”, Andrea Tagliani (University of Milan, Italy) “Leveraging the biotechnological potential of combinatorial libraries of cyclic peptides”, Roman Lichtenecker (University of Vienna, Austria) “The prolific synergy of selective protein labeling and biomolecular NMR spectroscopy”, Monika Perisic (University of Vienna, Austria) “Fluorescent peptide tracers for oxytocin receptor visualization”, Kevin Neumann (Radboud University, The Netherlands) “Cyanoylides: A new class of protecting groups in peptide chemistry”, and Natasa Tomasevic (Medical University of Vienna, Austria) “Circular peptides as new class of cannabinoid type 2 receptor ligands”.

The final session of this meeting was chaired by Roland Hellinger (Medical University of Vienna) and focused on peptide synthesis from an academic and industry perspective. Our speakers in this session were Andrei Yudin (University Toronto, Canada) “Development of synthetic methods to access peptide macrocycles”, Mariana Damian (Biotage) “Biotage solutions to speed up the peptide synthesis workflow”, Victoire Laude (Vapourtec) “Synthesis of peptide in continuous flow: from optimisation to scale-up” and Thomas Mindt (University of Vienna, Austria) “Metabolically stabilized triazolo-peptidomimetics for tumor targeting”.

Finally, we conveyed the second Bachem AtPS Award for Peptide Science in D/A/CH to Charalampos Pappas (University of Freiburg) who presented the award lecture titled “A Systems Chemistry Approach Towards Life-like Peptide Assemblies”.

Bachem Award: Christian Becker, Philippe Théron (Bachem), Charalampos Pappas (award winner 2022), Christian Gruber (from left to right)

The scientific part of the symposium ended with the announcement of four winners of the poster award competition, i.e. Dominik Vogl, Oliver Gajsek, Paula Schwarz and Xabier Guarrochena.

Last but not least, we concluded the event with a dinner and social networking, while tasting wine from the Austrian vineyard of Michela Jöbst (Langenlois). The next symposium is to be held on the 5th of December in 2023 in Vienna, hopefully with as many interesting presentations and great number of participants.

We are grateful to everyone, who helped making the event possible, in particular to our sponsors, which are: Bachem, Biotage, CEM, Vapourtec, Gyros Protein Technologies, Merck, Almac, Rieger-Industrievertretungen GmbH, CDD Vault, MagLab, the Vienna Convention Bureau, the Medical University of Vienna and the European Peptide Society. Without their generous financial support, all this would not have been possible!

Contributed by Christian W. Gruber and Christian Becker