Interpreting Genomes and Genome Functions: SBI-EMBL Scientific Meeting 2017

Written by: Ronan Gough
Written on: Thursday, 14 September, 2017

Systems Biology Ireland was delighted to welcome colleagues from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Europe's flagship laboratory for the life sciences, to a joint scientific meeting on ‘Interpreting Genomes and Genome Functions’, 11-12 September 2017. The event followed on from the success of a 2014 meeting exploring opportunities for future collaborations and the subsequent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations.

An international audience of over 150 people converged on the Conway Institute in UCD for the two-day meeting, with seminars and activities celebrating SBI and EMBL’s combined expertise in the field of molecular life science and precision medicine.

The event saw leading SBI and EMBL researchers as well as EMBL alumni give attendees fascinating insights into the latest research and cutting-edge developments on topics ranging from genomics and functional genomics, machine learning and computational modelling and precision medicine in childhood cancers. Prof. Owen Smith, of UCD and Our Lady of Children’s Hospital, Crumlin gave a fascinating talk on Child & Adolescent Leukaemia: Towards personalized cancer care’ where he discussed the benefits of a molecular diagnosis that offered proactive treatment methods. Also speaking was Dr Anne-Claude Gavin from EMBL Heidelberg who gave an engaging account of ‘Lipid metabolism in time and space’ exploring its mechanisms and interactions in cellular functions.

Opening proceedings, Professor Des Higgins, UCD/SBI and EMBL Alumnus, said: “We are delighted to once again welcome EMBL colleagues and alumni to UCD and Dublin, to strengthen ties and explore further opportunities to collaborate.”

Prof Walter Kolch, Director of SBI, noted: “Advances in precision medicine are now giving us the opportunity to develop targeted treatments for cancer that will enable us to approach each patient’s cancer individually. Further collaboration with EMBL will bring together the brightest minds to help us achieve the SBI goal of precision cancer medicine.”

“It’s always a pleasure fostering these exchanges between EMBL scientists and colleagues at leading institutes like SBI,” said Iain Mattaj, Director General of EMBL. “The discussions at these events inspire people to push boundaries, take new approaches, and work across disciplines. They strengthen existing collaborations, and very often spark new ones. Nurturing these connections is part of our commitment to Ireland as an EMBL member state.”