A Report on the Peptide Chemistry Day Symposium

Peptide Chemistry Day Symposium
Zagreb, Croatia, 20 September 2023

The symposium «Peptide Chemistry Day» was held on September 20, 2023 at the University of Zagreb. Members of the organizing and scientific committee were:

Prof. Ruža Frkanec, University of Zagreb, President

Dr. Andreja Jakas, Ruđer Bošković Institute

Prof. Leo Frkanec, Ruđer Bošković Institute

Assist. prof. Daniela Kalafatović, University of Rijeka

Arijana Mihalić, University of Zagreb

Our first „Peptide Chemistry Day„ symposium was conducted in 2019 and with a such successful start we decided to gather again this year. All of those interested in the field of peptide chemistry met at the second symposium Peptide Chemistry Day organized at the University of Zagreb in the very suitable new SEECEL building. Professor Tomislav Josip Mlinarić, Vice-rector for Innovation, Technology Transfer and Cooperation with Economic Sector opened the Symposium.

The Symposium was organised by the University of Zagreb together with Croatian Chemical Society, and Ruđer Bošković Institute. The Symposium was sponsored by European Peptide Society, BICRO BioCentre and Altium International.

At the symposium, ten lectures of prominent researchers from the University of Zagreb, Rudjer Bošković Institute, Department of Biotechnology, University of Rijeka, and the pharmaceutical company Pliva Zagreb were presented. Two lectures were given by the scientists from abroad, namely, one from the University of Trieste and another from the University of Graz. This year we had also four short oral presentation of PhD students and we introduced the possibility for young researchers to show their results with a poster presentations, so nine posters were put on display. The PhD student Emilija Petrović Hađar was awarded the first prize for the best poster presentation entitled „Thermodynamic and structural characterization of cyclopeptide complex with different ions in acetonitrile”. She received the poster prize certificate and symbolic prize, EPS promotional material (mouse-pad with built-in mobile phone charger and power-bank). While 82 participants were registered for the symposium even more of them were present. The sponsors also introduced themselves through short lectures and a video clips.

The lectures and discussion were well received and covered different fields of peptide research. Professor Antonella Bandiera from the University of Trieste presented HELP-platform (Human Elastin Like Polypeptide), a smart tool for the production of bioactive peptidic domains. Dr. Nermina Malanović and Dr. Danijela Bakarić presented results of their investigations of antimicrobial peptides, mode of their action and interactions with lipid membrane. The rational design of synthetic small peptides and the integration of machine learning and human intuition into the discovery of functional peptides were disscussed by Professor Mario Gabričević and Assistant professor Daniela Kalafatović.

Associate Director at Pliva/Teva Research and Development, and Group leader for analytical characterization and peptide development, Vladimir Radić gave an overview of comparative analytical methods for peptide therapeutics characterization. Dr. Zoran Kokan gave a short report about design and synthesis of peptidic ligands in enantioselective transition metal catalysis. Assist. prof. Toni Todorovski presented a comparative study of conjugation strategies to generate antiviral peptide-porphyrin conjugates which are able to cross blood-brain barierr. Prof. Lidija Barišić discussed the results obtained in the investigation of conformational and biological properties of ferrocene peptide derivatives.

The oral presentations of PhD students Patrizia Janković, Marcela Šišić, Marta Jurković and Barbara Bogović represent their investigations in the framework of doctoral theses and were respectively related to the synthesis of esterase inspired linear and cyclic short catalytic peptides, investigation of interaction of peptidoglycan monomer and specific lectins, chemical synthesis of fluorescent analogs of FRH tripeptides with high affinity for transition metals and the finaly the application of C-glycosyl-alpha amino acids in peptide synthesis.

As a part of the symposium organization, the Book of Abstracts was published (ISBN 978-953-8250-35-4) by University of Zagreb and Croatian Chemical Society. The editors are Prof. Ruža Frkanec and Dr. Danijel Namjesnik.

The Symposium this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Centre for Research and Knowledge Transfer in Biotechnology at the University of Zagreb as well as continuous multidisciplinary research in the field of chemistry of biologically active peptides, especially glycopeptide, peptidoglycan monomer and adamantylpeptides.

We thank the University of Zagreb and all the sponsors whose support is invaluable and without whose support it would not be possible to organize this symposium.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to all the speakers and participants for sharing their research achievements and thus contributing to the excellence of our meeting. We want to extend a very special thanks to our guest from abroad, who joined us and shared their latest results. Finally, we want to thank all our colleagues from the University of Zagreb, especially Arijana, Sandra, Maja, Bojana, Marcela, Danijel and Tomislav who all helped in the preparation of promotional materials and registration as well as creating a positive and pleasant working environment for the organizers and the participants.

Our goal was for the symposium to be a meeting place for networking and exchange of information for scientists engaged in the peptide chemistry and, especially for younger colleagues and students. We sincerely hope that we have succeeded and belive that all participants have enjoyed the socializing and the relaxed atmosphere of this meeting.

We are looking forward to the next „Peptide Chemistry Day“!

Contributed by Ruža Frkanec
President of the Organizing Committee


Participants at Peptide Chemistry Day symposium, September 20, 2023


Members of the Organizing committee of Peptide Chemistry Symposium with Prof Antonella Bandiera and Dr. Nermina Malanović


Assistant prof. Toni Todorovski from Department of Biotechnology, University of Rijeka


Dr. Zoran Kokan


PhD student Patrizia Janković from Department of Biotechnology, University of Rijeka


Dr. Nermina Malanović from the University of Graz


Emilija Petrović Hađar was awarded the first prize for the best poster presentation


Posters on display in the lobby


Lunch time


Participants from the Laboratory for biomimetic chemistry, Institute Ruđer Bošković From the left Barbara Bogović, Mateja Matišić, Ivana Colić and Prof Ivanka Jerić, head of the Laboratory