A Report on the EPI 2023 – 18th Iberian Peptide Meeting

CONFERENCE REPORT
EPI 2023 – 18th Iberian Peptide Meeting,
Lisbon, Portugal, 27 – 29 November 2023

The first Iberian Peptide Meeting (Encuentro Peptídico Ibérico / Encontro Peptídico Ibérico, EPI) dates back to April 1988, with a meeting held in Cabrera de Mar, on the coast north of Barcelona, Spain. The Iberian Peptide Meetings became a biennial event, with a history spanning decades, organized to foster exchange and collaboration between the Portuguese and Spanish research communities working on peptide science. The meeting always covers varied fields, ranging from peptide synthesis to structural characterization and to biological interactions and activity. The EPI 2020 – 17th Iberian Peptide Meeting took place in Madrid, Spain, from the 5th to the 7th of February, 2020. Afterwards, as so many other things in our professional and personal lives, these meetings of the Spanish and Portuguese peptide research communities were put on hold due to the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertain times that followed it. Bringing back to life a hallmark spanning five decades, while opening it to a new generation of students and other young researchers, the peptide research community of Portugal and Spain refused to let the EPI fade away, and organized the EPI 2023 – 18th Iberian Peptide Meeting, at Sesimbra, on the coast south of Lisbon, Portugal, from the 27th to the 29th of November 2023.

Group picture of the participants to the EPI 2023 – 18th Iberian Peptide Meeting

On the 35th anniversary of the EPI, the 18th Iberian Peptide Meeting (https://iberian-peptide-meeting.github.io/XVIII/) was co-organized by João Galamba Correia (Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal), Manuel N. Melo (ITQB, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Portugal), and Nuno C. Santos (Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal).

To support the organizers, the Scientific Committee was constituted, including Fidel Toldrá (Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos, CSIC, Valencia, Spain), Helena Sepúlveda Azevedo (i3S, Universidade do Porto, Portugal), Juan R. Granja (CIQUS, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain), María Angeles Jiménez (Instituto de Química Física Blas Cabrera, CSIC, Madrid, Spain), Paula Gomes (Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade do Porto, Portugal), and Rosario González Muñiz (Instituto de Química Médica, CSIC, Madrid, Spain).

In Sesimbra, the meeting was held at the historic Hotel do Mar, at meeting rooms with a breathtaking view over the Atlantic Ocean, the beach, the fishing harbor, and the Arrábida mountains. All the meals, the opening reception, and the participants’ accommodations were in this same hotel. As expectable, most of the 77 participants came from Portugal (43) and Spain (20), but there were also participants from Germany (4), Brazil (3), Estonia (2), Sweden (2), Italy (1), United States (1) and Belgium (1). Regarding gender balance, the meeting had 40 female and 37 male participants.

Lecture hall and coffee breaks discussions

EPI 2023 had the official support of the European Peptide Society, Sociedade Portuguesa de Bioquímica (Portuguese Society of Biochemistry) and Instituto Superior Técnico/Universidade de Lisboa. The meeting also featured 6 exhibition booths from national and international companies (CEM/Qlabo, Dias de Sousa, Gyros Protein Technologies, Iris Biotech, Paralab bio and Proquinorte).

The program of the meeting included 2 Plenary Lectures, by Maria Luisa Mangoni (Sapienza University of Rome, Italy) and Norbert Sewald (Bielefeld University, Germany), and 2 Keynote Lectures, by Javier Montenegro (CiQUS, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Spain) and Diana Lousa (ITQB, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa). Additionally, there were 27 short oral communications selected from the submitted abstracts, 3 company talks from sponsors, 10 flash talks and 20 poster communications. The presenters of flash talks also presented a poster. Plenary Lectures had 52 min plus 6 min for questions, Keynote Lectures 25+4 min, Short Communications and Company Talks 12+3 min, and Flash Talks 3+1 min. The timings were controlled by the conference chairpersons: Helena S. Azevedo, João Galamba Correia, Manuel N. Melo, María Angeles Jiménez, Miguel A. R. B. Castanho, Nuno C. Santos, Paula Gomes, and Rosario González-Muñiz. The great variety of topics addressed is detailed in the program presented in Annex 1 as well as in the full abstract book (http://projects.ctn.tecnico.ulisboa.pt/JDGCorreia/EPI2023/ Abstract_book.pdf).

Plenary (top) and Keynote (bottom) speakers.

Paula Gomes coordinated a team of evaluators, whom selected Maria Celia Lucana Meneses ([email protected]) as winner of the best short oral communication prize, Sofia Alexandra de Albuquerque Martins ([email protected]) for the best flash talk prize, and David Ruben Quenedit Peralta Reis ([email protected]) for the best poster communication prize. The jury also selected a backup list for each of the prizes, namely, Ana Gomes ([email protected]) for the best short oral communication prize, Beatriz Vieira da Silva ([email protected]) for the best flash talk prize, and Lourdes Patricia Sanmiguel Vázquez ([email protected]) for the best poster communication prize. Prizes were awarded in the last day just before the closing section.

Winners of Best Short Oral Communication, Best Flash Talk and Best Poster, together with the runners-up and the evaluation committee.

At the closing session, the venue for the next EPI meeting, EPI 2025 – 19th Iberian Peptide Meeting, was also announced: Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The main organizer will be Javier Montenegro, in close coordination with Ana Pina, ITQB, Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

The Organization Committee
Nuno C. Santos
João D. G. Correia
Manuel N. Melo