A Report on the 17th Iberian Peptide Meeting

CONFERENCE REPORT
17th Iberian Peptide Meeting
Madrid, Spain, 5-7 February 2020.

The 17th edition of the Iberian Peptide Meeting (EPI2020, Madrid, Spain, February 5-7), an EPS-sponsored reunion, was held at the auditorium of the Rocasolano Institute of Physical Chemistry, for the scientific sessions, and at the 110 Room of the Medicinal Chemistry Institute for exhibitors and lunches. The meeting was organized by researchers of both Institutes, belonging to the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). After the effort from the Organizing Committee to identify and attract new groups working on the field of peptides in Spain and in Portugal, and with the invaluable assistance of the Spanish-Portuguese Scientific Committee, we orchestrate an appealing and decidedly multidisciplinary program. It combined most aspects of peptide science, synthetic features, structural studies, computational approaches, and many different applications (biomaterials, therapeutics, diagnosis and food).

Venues: IQFR, IQM (CSIC)

Typical continental weather in Madrid by these dates, foggy, cold mornings and agreeable sunny afternoons, accompanied the 95 attendants during the three EPI days. According to its Iberian character, delegates came mostly from Spain (64) and Portugal (18), but also from other European counties (UK, Italy, France, Servia). The scientific sessions included 2 plenary lectures (45 min), 4 invited keynotes (30 min), 32 oral communications (15 min), 14 sort presentations (5 min) and a poster’s session (12). A good combination of experienced senior researcher, junior investigators, young postdocs and PhD students resulted in dynamic highly (in)formative sessions, with interesting discussions, and in an ideal forum to establishing new collaborations.

Statistics and group picture

Statistics and group pictureAfter the Opening Ceremony, by the CSIC Vice-President, Prof. Jesús Marco, the scientific part of the meeting started with the enthusiastic Plenary Lecture by Prof. Anna María Papini (University of Florence, EPS Treasurer) who gave an overview of different approaches to stabilize peptide secondary structures and of the biomedical applications of the resulting peptides. As for the Keynotes, first we had the very engaging lecture by Dr. Douglas Laurent (IQFR-CSIC, Madrid) on antifreeze peptides, their structure by NMR and their applications; then followed by a wonderful talk by Dr. Cristina Martins (University of Porto) on the detailed analysis of surface-conjugated antimicrobial peptides; next, for the first time at an EPI meeting, health benefits of food-derived peptides, particularly those from Iberian ham, were highlighted through the fascinating talk by Prof. Fidel Toldrá (IATA-CSIC, Valencia); the appealing talk by the young scientists Dr. Manuel N. Melo (Universidad Nova de Lisboa), on theoretical simulations to understand the ways by which antimicrobial peptides form pores at membranes was the fourth Keynote. For closing the scientific program, we listened to the insightful Plenary Lecture by Prof. Ian Hamley (Reading University), providing a broad survey of self-assembling peptides and some examples of microfibril-forming lipopeptides, and their interesting antimicrobial and anticancer bioactivities, among others.

Plenary lecturers, Prof. Anna María Papini and Prof. Ian Hamley

In addition to the above Plenary and Keynote lectures, the scientific program comprised a notable number of oral and short communications, with an important contribution of junior scientist, postdocs and PhD students, following the EPI spirit from the beginning. To recognize and stimulate young participants, two of the best oral communications and one short presentation were awarded at the end of the meeting, sponsored by BCNpeptides, Lilly and IRISbiotech. The winners of these awards were Ana Gomes (University of Porto), Mar Forner (University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona) and Iara Mota-Silva (University of Lisbon), respectively.

Award’s Ceremony

The organizers would like to thank the CSIC, specially the Directors of the Rocasolano Institute of Physical Chemistry and of the Medicinal Chemistry Institute for hosting the meeting in their facilities, and to the other members of the Organizing Committee, David Pantoja-Uceda and Marta Gutiérrez, for their huge work in the preparation of and during the conference. We are also tremendously grateful to the students and coworkers who provided invaluable assistance during the three meeting’s days: Carolina, Alejandro, Cristina, Jessy, Dr. M. Angeles Bonache and Dr Sonia de Castro. Many thanks also to the European Peptide Society, GERMN group (RSEQ), and Molecules, as main benefactors. We also thank to the exhibitors Biotage, Bachem and Interchim/Cromlab, and to the other sponsors, including the above mentioned award supporters, and Vacuubrand/Linealab, Bruker, Enantia, Genochem, Inqualab and Asynt for their generous financial support.

Full details on the program can be found at the meeting website: http://epi2020.iqfr.csic.es/, including a photo gallery.

Contributed by Rosario González-Muñiz, Mª Ángeles Jiménez and María José Camarasa (Chairs of EPI2020)

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