2019 MCAA Annual Conference

Today’s post was prepared by ES-Cat ESR Aşkın Sevinç Aslan-Üzel

The Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) General Assembly & Annual Conference was held in Vienna, 24 – 25 February, 2019: an amazing conference over two productive days, and a great opportunity for networking.

Askin and Jason pose in front of the Marie Curie Actions Alumni logo
ES-Cat ESRs Aşkın and Jason attended the MCAA Annual Conference, 2019

Different panel sessions were held in the conference with various topics, such as Entrepreneurship: How to Start a Start-up, Mentoring and Outreach Projects, Mental Health of Researchers, Workplace Harassment, Writing Proposals, Future of Research Artificial Intelligence, Refugees and Higher Education. All had an amazing and excellent discussion.

Interesting talks inspired attendees. Many take-home messages, tips and tricks for career paths were given by the inspiring speakers.

A powerpoint slide with the words "We became scientists to change the world, not to produce papers" The speakers sit in the foreground.

Furthermore, there were paper and digital poster sessions from different areas of science – from life sciences to social sciences – that gave attendees a chance to present our research.

From my point of view, it was a great experience to attend this event. I met lots of people that have different stories in academia and outside the academia. One of the most inspiring talk was given by Themis Christophidou who is the Director-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture of the European Commission. Her message was ‘Wisdom is loving the world enough to assume responsibility’. Moreover, different sessions with valuable speakers provided me different perspectives. In general, we do not need to be afraid of the future of research, just need to take responsibility, communicate, be motivated and most importantly stay happy and healthy.

MCAA 2019 in numbers:

827 registrations
650 attendees
60 country attendees
24 panel sessions
110 speakers
20 hours

If you missed the sessions of MCAA conference, you can watch on YouTube.

Save the date for the next one: The next MCAA General Assembly and Annual Conference will be held in Zagreb, Croatia on 27-29 March, 2020.

A large group photo of all the conference attendees
MCAA Annual Conference Attendees 2019. Photo by Fatemeh Asgari.

Masterclass: “Computational Approaches and In Silico Enzyme Library Design for Applied Biocatalysis”

The course aims to make participants familiar with the use of structural biology and computational tools for engineering the performance of enzymes that are relevant for applied biocatalysis and synthetic biology. The course provides both a theoretical background on computational methods relevant to enzyme engineering (protein crystallography, homology modeling, energy calculations, protein design, smart libraries), and hands-on computer exercises on visualization and analysis of enzymes structures, including docking simulations and enzyme redesign. The theoretical and practical parts are integrated in a few problem-solving modules. Participants will have the opportunity to share their research via short oral presentations, posters, and interactive lectures.

Protein crystallography and structure analysis
Homology modeling, docking and molecular dynamics simulations (Yasara)
Computational enzyme (re)design (Rosetta)
Enzyme engineering supported by web tools
Sequence- and structure-based smart libraries
Thermostability and stereoselectivity engineering
Industrial examples of enzyme engineering

Tutors and teachers
Dick Janssen, University of Groningen
Hein Wijma, University of Groningen
Andy-Mark Thunnissen, University of Groningen
Jiri Damborsky, Masaryk University, Brno
David Bednar, Masaryk University, Brno
Marc van der Kamp, University of Bristol
Rene de Jong, DSM Delft
Emanuele Monza, Zymvol, Barcelona

Masterclass coordination
Dick Janssen, Hein Wijma, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Jiri Damborsky and David Bednar, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
Sandra Haan & Tamara Hummel, GBB, University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Intended participants
PhD students, post docs and other researchers skilled in biochemistry who want to become familiar with structure-based and computational approaches in Enzyme Engineering. Partners of the H2020 ES-Cat and other EU collaborative projects and training networks are offered priority reduced fee registration. Note: participants are offered the opportunity to share their research via posters and participant talks.

To Apply
Details will follow. For info: mccomputational@rug.nl.