Supported by the International Visegrad Fund, the scientific and research Summer School in Molecular Biophysics and Systems Biology, was jointly organized by the University of South Bohemia, the Czech National Infrastructure for Systems Biology C4Sys and the Center for Nanobiology and Structural Biology of the Institute of Microbiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. In partnership with the University of Miskolc, Hungary, the University of Warsaw, Poland and Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia, the summer school provided Czech and foreign university students with an opportunity to work with experienced scientists and tutors in internationally respected research teams for a month. During their time in Nové Hrady the students did not only concentrate on research but they also attended an excellent series of lectures that gave them a broad view on cutting-edge methodologies and research.
The 5th Summer School 2017 was attended by 21 distinguished students from Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and Slovakia. 10 students were sponsored by the Visegrad Fund and the additional eleven were funded by the University of South Bohemia and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. The summer school participants had gone through a highly competitive selection procedure and subsequently worked in first-rate fully-equipped laboratories on topics related to systems biology and molecular biophysics. At the end of the summer school, the research teams presented their results in a student conference, where the 3 best presentations got awarded by a scientific committee. All the participants received certificates and promotional gifts in the final ceremony.
The awarded projetcs were as follows: “Non-Invasive Measurements of Ion Fluxes Across Cell Membranes in Sacchoromyces cerevisiae” by Lucia Kmecová, Tatsiana Kachatkova and Aleksandr Kalashnikov; “In-Silico Study of a Voltage-Sensitive Transmembrane Protein” by Ibolya Tóth and David Roesel; and “Modelling Interactions in Biomolecules Using Methods of Quantum and Molecular Mechanics” by Weronika Lidwin and Andrea Guljas.
Besides research activities and lectures, the students also enjoyed several social events, such as “80 Minutes around the World” Food Festival, rafting trip down the Vltava River, tour of Budweiser Budvar Brewery and a typical Czech barbeque.
From 27th to 30th June 2017, Prof. Dr. Cecilia Rokusek, Ed.D., M.Sc., R.D., Provost and Vice-President of Academic Affairs, Larkin University, Miami, Florida, visited the Center for Nanobiology and Structural Biology CAS in Nové Hrady, where she met the Center’s Director Prof. Rüdiger Ettrich, Ph.D. He showed her how the Center works and introduced the C4Sys infrastructure, its development and the services offered. They discussed the possibility of education stays / internships of the Larkin university students at Nové Hrady as well as using the infrastructure by the students. A Memorandum of Understanding is currently being prepared for future signing.
Prof. Rokusek subsequently visited the grounds of the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, where she was warmly welcomed by the former rector Prof. Libor Grubhoffer.
From 21st to 24th June, the Center for Nanobiology and Structural Biology hosted the 7th Visegrad Symposium on Structural System Biology. The Scientific Organizing Committee consisted of Dr.Babak Minofar, prof. Rüdiger Ettrich and Dr. David Řeha from the Center for Nanobiology and Structural Biology, Academy of Sciences, Nové Hrady, Czech Republic; Prof. Ján Urban from Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia; Dr. Béla Viskolcz and Dr. Imre G. Csizmadia from the University of Miskolc, Hungary; and Dr. hab. Joanna Sułkowska from the University of Warsaw, Poland.
The symposium focused on various computational methods used in the study of biologically relevant macromolecules ranging from quantum calculations via atomistic models to coarse-grained molecular dynamics of biological systems. Furthermore, it dealt with experimental techniques (mainly spectroscopic methods) that complement the simulations or can be used for verification.
On Tuesday 20th June 2017 at 2 p.m., the seminar “Purification, Characterization, and Clinical Significances of Methionine Gamma Lyase Deaminase (Mgld) from Porphyromonas gingivalis” given by Dr. K.V. Venkatachalam, PhD. took place at the cinema auditorium of the Institute of Microbiology, CAS. Prague – Krč.
Dr. Venkatachalam is a Professor of Biochemistry at the College of Allopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where he has been active since 1999. His current research focuses on Methionine gamma lyase of Methionine metabolism and its impact on halitosis and cancer research.
After the seminar, he discussed the possibility of potential cooperation in the area of systems biology as well as regarding research infrastructures with the Institute of Microbiology’s scientists involved in the C4Sys infrastructure.
On Thursday 25th May 2017, the Center for Nanobiology and Structual Biology (CNSB) in Nové Hrady welcomed 48 students and their teachers from the Anglo-Czech High School in České Budějovice, the C4sys Research Infrastructure (C4Sys RI) being the main topic of their excursion.
First the students attended a speech by the director of the CNSB and the C4Sys RI – Prof. Rüdiger Ettrich. He introduced the infrastructure, talking about its development, purpose and objectives. He then explained what each research group involved in the infrastructure is focused on and what their main activities are, illustratively accompanying his speech with slides from his PPT presentation to clarify some difficult processes for the students. Since the C4Sys infrastructure is directly linked to the Infrastructure for Systems Biology in Europe (ISBE), prof. Ettrich also covered its role and the link between these two infrastructures. In the end, he compared data storing in the USA and in Europe.
The theoretical part was followed by a tour of laboratories at the CNSB. The students were divided in two groups and viewed the research premises of the Center with commentaries by their two “tour guides” – Prof. Ettrich and Dr. Lazar. They could see the scientific work as well as all the equipment used, in particular the Laboratory of Cell Biology, which focuses on the development and applications of two-photon polarization microscopy and related advanced optical microscopy techniques, and the Laboratory of Structure and Function of Proteins, with its central research issue being the relationship between the structure and function of the proteins and their complexes.
Finally, the students paid a brief visit to the Algatech Centre in Třeboň, whose Laboratory of Photosynthesis under the supervision of Prof. Josef Komenda is also part of the C4Sys infrastructure.
The ISBE Management Team Meeeting chaired by prof. Roel van Driel took place in Amsterdam on 25th April 2017.
On behalf of the C4Sys infrastrucure, the meeting was attended by the MT member prof. Rüdiger Ettrich. First, the present status of the ISBE project was discussed, as well as its challenges and next steps. Then the ISBE – ELIXIR relationship was outlined along with a future relationship ISBE – FAIRDOM. Finally, the members of the Management Team focused on ISBE Light services (the aims, timeline, module modelling & theory, module teaching & education and module stewardship).
The new ISBE website will be online as of 1st July . It will contain (i) the portal for the three classes of ISBE Light services, (ii) user access rules, and (iii) general ISBE information transferred from the old ISBE-Project website. The latter site will be terminated. The URL http://project.isbe.eu/ will be linked through to the new ISBE website.