Research Night - Nacht der Forschung
Heidelberg | Mannheim, September 27, 2019

ISGSB 2022 – Innsbruck, Austria

From 19 to 23 of September the University of Innsbruck hosted the ISGSB2022 Conference.
The International Study Group for Systems Biology (ISGSB) includes a number of international researchers interested in advancing the biological sciences through exploring the interplay between theory and empirical experiments.

This year’s conference had a special focus on systems medicine, signaling and metabolism, the fields at the core of MESI-STRAT. Many presentations addressed cancer, tryptophan and NAD metabolism, or model development. A special thank you goes to the members of our international advisory board Gerburg Wulf (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Boston) and Hans V. Westerhoff (University of Amsterdam) who joined our conference and gave inspiring talks.

Most MESI-STRAT partners attended the conference and we started the week with an internal Executive Board meeting to discuss the remaining tasks of the project and to make a clear timeline for the final 12 months. In addition, we discussed our exploitation strategy and how it will continue beyond the end of the project.

We would like to thank the ISGSB board, especially Ines Heiland, for their effort which made this conference possible and all participants for their contributions to a wonderful week full of exciting discussions.

YSGSB Meeting in Innsbruck

More than 30 junior scientists (master students, PhD students and Post Docs) from all over the world (from South Africa to Norway and from India to the UK) met on the first day of the conference for a special symposium. The YSGSB (Young International Study Group for System Biology) meeting was organized by Cecilia Barile and Anna-Sophia Egger, two PhD students from Innsbruck, to give aspiring scientists the opportunity to meet in an open and informal setting and to share ideas among each other to facilitate future collaborations.

Systems biology is a very interdisciplinary field and requires scientists with different backgrounds to come together. A challenge in many exchanges is to find a common “language” as modellers, experimentalists and clinical scientists often have different perspectives which need to be combined for successful collaboration. In interactive workshops, the group exchanged experiences and explained the underlying concepts of their disciplines to each other to find common ground and reduce future misunderstandings. We thank Martina Prugger and Alexander Heberle for giving their perspective as a modeller and an experimentalist and for leading the workshops.

We are very grateful for the insightful presentations of Ulla Ohlms and Doris Schmitt, two members from the directorate of the patient organisation and MESI-STRAT partner PATH. They both have been active as patient representatives and advocates for patient empowerment for many years. They gave a highly informative and interesting lecture on the upcoming role of patient advocates in communicating medical information to patients, particularly in regards to clinical studies. Ulla and Doris also graciously took the time to answer the many questions participants had, resulting in a lively discussion after the talks. Many participants had not been in direct exchange with patients before and the perspectives and ample clinical knowledge of Ulla and Doris were deeply inspiring for everyone.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 754688.