This meeting was the third in the international series of PepMat meetings, the first was in Sorrento, Italy in 2013 and the second was in Barcelona, Spain in 2016. The meetings are dedicated to presenting state-of-the-art research in peptide materials including peptide bio- and nano-materials. PepMat 2018 took place from 16th to 18th July 2018 in Birkbeck College, London. Birkbeck College, founded in 1823, is located in the Bloomsbury district of central London which has renowned literary and artistic associations. Bloomsbury is also the home of leading educational establishments including University College and Birkbeck College. The delegates enjoyed unusually hot sunny weather at the start of the European heatwave of summer 2018 which even extended to Brexit Island.
The meeting attracted 46 delegates from countries around the world including Brazil, USA, India, Israel and European countries including Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, France and UK. A total of 9 invited lectures from leading international researchers included presentations by Prof. Darrin Pochan (University of Delaware, USA), who presented new directions of his research on designed coil-coil peptides that can remarkably form peptide nanotubes. Prof. Sophie Jackson (University of Cambridge, UK), presented a fascinating overview of her recent work on the physical stability of glucagon-like peptide. Prof. Alberto Saiani (University of Manchester, UK), presented on his work on β-sheet peptide hydrogels which have very interesting potential biomedical applications. Prof. Aridam Banerjee (IACS, Kolkata, India) gave an exciting overview of his work on small peptide gelators with diverse applications as antimicrobial materials and in waste water treatment. Prof Ehud Gazit (Tel Aviv University, Israel) gave an overview of his immensely impressive research, especially his renowned research on aromatic dipeptides but also showing recent results on peptide nucleic acids. Prof Silvia Marchesan (University of Trieste, Italy) presented a very nicely themed talk “Peptide Wonderland Through the Looking Glass” with results on peptide hydrogels with very apt reference to illustrations from the famous book by Lewis Carroll. Prof Jian Lu (University of Manchester, UK) gave an outstanding summary of recent research on cationic peptide amphiphiles which have potential as antimicrobial agents. Prof Alessandro Moretto (University of Padua, Italy) showed us intriguing results on peptide foldamers with designed stereochemistry and photo-switchability, particularly notable was the cis/trans switch (a.k.a. the ‘cheese switch’) and lastly but by no means least Prof Helena Azevedo (Queen Mary University of London, UK) gave a wonderful talk on her peptide amphiphile-based biomaterials which incorporate extracellular matrix components.
An additional 17 contributed talks were enjoyed by the delegates. Many hot topics were discussed including novel nanostructures formed by different classes of peptides, from designed coiled coils to metal-binding peptides and amyloid systems among many others. Many remarkable applications were presented including medical biomaterials, bioelectronic devices and peptide therapeutic molecules. As well as experimental work, there were a number of notable presentations on advanced computer simulation studies of peptide conformation and aggregation.
A poster session and wine reception took place on the second day followed by the conference dinner. Prof Darrin Pochan (editor in chief of RSC journal Soft Matter which sponsored the poster prizes) presented poster awards to Cláudia Fernandes (Universidade de Nova Lisboa, Portugal), Luis Álvarez de Cienfuegos (University of Granada, Spain) and Lucia Lombardi (University of Naples Federico II, Italy). The conference dinner was at Pescatori, a charming Italian restaurant a short walk from Birkbeck College.
The final programme is available at https://www.reading.ac.uk/chemistry/chem-pepmat2018.aspx
We are grateful to the EPS for their sponsorship of the meeting.
Contributed by Ian Hamley
Scenes from the Meeting