Cellular mechanisms driven by phase separation – Course and Conference Office

EMBO | EMBL Symposium

Cellular mechanisms driven by phase separation


This conference will take place at EMBL Heidelberg, with the option to attend virtually. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or recovery is required for on-site attendance. Please see EMBL’s COVID-19 safety policy for on-site events. 

Symposium Overview

Phase separation is emerging as a common biophysical basis underlying many important cellular functions. This conference will bring together scientists from soft matter, polymer physics, molecular biology, structural biology, and cell and developmental biology to study condensates in biology and disease. Goals are

  • to increase the awareness how important phase separation is for our understanding of many biological processes
  • to explore the large repertoire of new tools generated by other disciplines that are ripe to be applied to complex problems related to phase separation
  • to close the gap in transdisciplinary training to tackle the role of phase separation in biology

Session Topics

  • Phase-separated compartments in the cell
  • Molecular mechanisms of phase separation
  • Phase separation, a polymer physics perspective
  • Phase separation in developmental biology and non-linear signalling
  • The pathological face of phase separation
  • Protein structure in the condensed state
  • Phase separation in neurobiology

What past participants say about the conference:

“I have never been to a conference where every single talk was relevant, exciting, and well done. This is particularly phenomenal given the interdisciplinary nature of this field.” – Carlos Castaneda, Syracuse University, USA

“Although Intrinsically Disordered Proteins and Phase Separation have been around for a number of years, this meeting felt like the kick-off for a novel area in molecular biology.” – Roland Dosch, University Medical Center Göttingen, Germany

“This was the best conference I have attended in years, bringing together biophysicists and biologists in an exciting and challenging format. I learnt a lot and have made great contacts for new collaborations.” – Sarah Mizielinska, Kings College London, UK


Keynote Speakers


Dirk Görlich

Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry


Jochen Guck

Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light


Cong Liu

Chinese Academy of Sciences


Dora Tang

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics


Scientific Organisers

Simon Alberti

TU Dresden and Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics


Conference Organiser

Lea Hohmann

EMBL Heidelberg


Preliminary Programme

Got something to say? Tweet it! #EESPhaseSeparation

  • Recorded talks will be accessible on demand for 2 weeks after the end of the event.
  • All times in the programme below are shown as the time in Europe/Berlin.
Day 1 – Monday 9 May 2022
12:30 – 14:00Registration and Lunch
14:00 – 14:15Opening remarks by scientific organisers
14:15 – 17:45Session 1: Diverse functions and dysfunctions of condensates
Session chair: tbc
14:15 – 15:15Keynote lecture:
RNA granule biology and roles in disease

Paul Taylor – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, USA
15:15 – 15:45Coffee Break
15:45 – 16:10Multiscale modelling of chromatin phase separation
Rosana Collepardo Guevara – University of Cambridge, UK
16:10 – 16:35Miscibility and Immiscibility of ALS-FUS mutant Condensate
Sua Myong – Johns Hopkins University, USA
16:35 – 17:00The mechanics of chromatin evolution,  adaptation and design
Stephen Micknick – Université de Montréal, Canada
17:00 – 17:25Protein Disorder in regulation of chromosome surface properties
Cuylen-Häring – EMBL Heidelberg, Germany
17:25 – 17:45Flash talks (approx. 10 á 2 min)
17:45 – 19:15Poster Session 1 (odd numbers)
19:15 – 20:45Dinner at EMBL Canteen
20:45 – 22:15Social Event tbc

Day 2 – Tuesday 10 May 2022
09:15 – 12:00Session 2: Polymer perspective on phase separation
session chair: tbc
09:15 – 09:40Sequence-based prediction of biomolecular condesates and mutations disrupting membraneless organelles
Monika Fuxreiter – University of Padova, Italy
09:40 – 10:05A stickers and spacers model for phase separation of low complexity domains
Alex Holehouse – Washington University in St. Louis, USA
10:05 – 10:20Selected #1
10:20 – 10:35Selected #2
10:35 – 10:50Selected #3
10:20 – 10:50Coffee Break and Meet the speakers
10:50 – 11:15Speaker to be announced
11:15 – 11:30Selected #4
11:30 – 11:45Selected #5
11:45 – 12:00Selected #6
12:00 – 13:30Lunch
13:30 – 00:00Session 3:Biophysics and advanced techniques
Session chair: tbc
13:30 – 13:55Advanced biophotonics tools to quantify biological phase transitions
Jochen Guck – Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Germany
13:55 – 14:20Coacervates as models for membrane-free condensates
Dora Tang – Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Germany
14:20 – 14:50Coffee Break and Meet the speakers
14:50 – 15:05Selected #7
15:05 – 15:20Selected #8
15:20 – 15:35Selected #9
15:35 – 15:50Selected #10
15:50 – 16:05Selected #11
16:05 – 16:25Flash talks (approx. 10 á 2 min)
16:25 – 18:00Poster Session 2 (even numbers)
Free evening
Day 3 – Wednesday 11 May 2022
09:15 – 12:20Session 4: Phase separation in development
Session chair: tbc
09:15 – 09:40A novel membrane-less organelle required for paternal epigentic inheritance
René Ketting – IMB Mainz, Germany
09:40 – 10:05Multiscale multiphase condensates buffer repressed mRNAs to promote
robust translation control
Arnaud Hubstenberger – Institute of Biology Valrose, France
10:05 – 10:30Novel membraneless organelles in oocytes: Endo-Lysosomal Vesicular Assemblies (ELVAs)
Elvan Böke – Centre for Genomic Regulation, Spain
10:30 – 11:00Coffee Break and Meet the speakers
11:00 – 11:25Selected #12
11:25 – 11:40Selected #13
11:40 – 11:55Selected #14
11:55 – 12:20Selected #15
12:20 – 12:45Selected #16
12:20 – 12:40Lunch to go
12:45 – 17:00Free afternoon and sightseeing
17:00 – 00:00Session 5: Function and regulation of phase separation
Session chair: tbc
17:00 – 17:25Super-resolution imaging of transcription in live mammalian cells
Ibrahim Cissé – Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Germany
17:25 – 17:50Transcription factor condensation and nucleo-cytoplasmic partitioning
Lucia C. Strader – Duke University, USA
17:50 – 18:15The role of liquid-liquid phase separation in nuclear ubiquitin signalling
Alwin Köhler – Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Austria
18:15 – 18:40Tetsuro Hirose – Osaka University, Japan
18:40 – 19:05The life of an mRNA is controlled by DEAD-box ATPases
Karsten Weis – ETH Zurich, Switzerland
19:05 – 20:35Dinner at EMBL Canteen
20:35 – 22:00Social Event tbc
Day 4 – Thursday 12 May 2022
09:15 – 12:20Session 6: Protein structure in the condensed state
Session chair: tbc
09:15 – 09:40Underpinning structural reorganisation in cellular stress response
Julia Mahamid – EMBL Heidelberg, Germany
09:40 – 10:05Seeing the atomic determinants of phase separation in function and disease
Nicolas Fawzi – Brown University, USA
10:05 – 10:20How chaperones regulate protein phase separation in membrane-less organelles
Cong Liu – Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
10:20 – 11:05Coffee Break and Meet the speakers
11:05 – 11:20Selected #17
11:20 – 11:35Selected #18
11:35 – 11:50Selected #19
11:50 – 12:05Selected #20
12:05 – 12:20Selected #21
12:20 – 12:35Selected #22
12:35 – 14:05Lunch
14:05 – 14:30The selective phase of nuclear pore complexes
Dirk Görlich – Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Germany
14:30 – 14:45Selected #23
14:45 – 15:00Selected #24
15:00 – 15:45Coffee Break and Meet the speakers
15:45 – 16:00Selected #25
16:00 – 16:15Selected #26
16:15 – 16:30Selected #27
16:30 – 16:45Feedback Survey Session (Q&A)
Moderator tbc
16:45 – 17:15Coffee Break and Meet the speakers
17:15 – 18:15Keynote lecture: RNA granule biology and roles in disease
Clifford P. Brangwynne – Princeton University, USA
18:15-18:30Closing remarks and Poster prizes
18:30 – 20:30Dinner at EMBL Canteen
20:30 – 23:30Social event tbc

Practical Information

Registration Fees and Abstract Submission

On-site Registration Fees include admission, conference materials, COVID-19 safety measures, meals and coffee breaks. Participants are expected to book and pay their own accommodation and travel expenses.

Virtual Registration Fees include access to all of the talks (livestreamed and on demand) and facility to submit questions.

On-site Academia€700
On-site PhD Student€600
On-site Industry€900
Virtual Academia€175
Virtual PhD Student€125
Virtual Industry€225

NO visa support letters will be issued until payment of the registration fee is confirmed.

Accredited journalists may be eligible to register for a reduced press rate or in some cases for complimentary registration. Registrants may be required to provide accreditation or equivalent proof of press membership after registration. Please contact Lea Hohmann for more information.

Confirmation and Payment

Registration will be on a first-come first-served basis. Your place can only be confirmed after payment of the registration fee. If you are added to our waiting list, please consider taking advantage of our offerings to participate virtually.

On-site participants: Types of payments accepted are international bank transfers and credit card payments.

Virtual participants: We are only able to accept card payments. In exceptional cases we can accept bank transfers. Please contact events@embl.de for details.

Abstract submission

Only registered participants attending the on-site event are eligible to submit an abstract. Abstracts will not be accepted from virtual participants.

After you have logged in and successfully registered, you will receive an email asking you to submit your abstract.  Click on the link provided and enter your abstract in the text box provided. Alternatively you can submit your abstract by clicking on the link on the confirmation page directly after registering. The same login credentials are used for both processes.

Please note:

Title: The title should not exceed 20 words. Only the first word of the title should start with a capital letter and the rest of the title should be in lowercase.

Authors and Affiliations: Please fill in the author’s details as requested in the online form. The compulsory details are: First Name, Last Name, Organisation Name (Affiliation or Company), Country and Email. Mark only one author as the role of First author and please don’t forget to indicate who will be presenting. The order of the authors will be listed as follows: First Author, Co-First Author (alphabetically if multiple), co-author(s) (in the order added by the submitter).

Presentation Types: When submitting your abstract, you can apply for an oral or poster presentation. A selection process will take place with the results announced 2-3 weeks after the abstract submission deadline.

Please check our FAQs pages for further information on how to submit an abstract.

Financial Assistance

Limited financial assistance is provided by the EMBL Advanced Training Centre Corporate Partnership Programme and EMBO in the form of both registration fee waivers and travel grants. Availability is limited to participants attending on-site events in Heidelberg and will be indicated during the abstract or motivation letter submission process.

Your place in the meeting is only confirmed by paying the registration fee, which is mandatory even when receiving a fee waiver.

Registration Fee Waiver

The fee waiver will cover the registration sum that you have paid to attend the course or conference.

Travel Grant

The travel grant will cover the cost of travel (airfare, train, bus, taxi, accommodation, visa, and/or registration fees*) and is provided up to specified caps which are normally as follows:

– up to €400 for participants travelling to an EMBL Course, EMBL Conference or EMBO|EMBL Symposium from within Europe.
– up to €1000 for participants travelling to an EMBL Course, EMBL Conference or EMBO|EMBL Symposium from outside Europe.
– up to €500 for any participant travelling to an EMBO Practical Course or EMBO Workshop.
– up to €1000 for any participant working in Chile, India, Singapore or Taiwan travelling to an EMBO Practical Course or EMBO Workshop.

*Registration fees are only covered for EMBO Practical Courses or EMBO Workshops

The organisers may reduce the grant cap to accommodate more participants. Recipients will be notified of their travel cap amount when they are informed of the outcome of their application. Original receipts must be provided with your signature for all costs incurred within two months of completion of travel. Scanned copies cannot be accepted.


You may apply for financial assistance when submitting your motivation letter for courses, and abstract for conferences. In your application you will be asked to answer questions regarding why your lab cannot fund your attendance and how your attendance will make a difference to your career. Application for financial support will not affect the outcome of your registration application.

For the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds Travel Grant, there is a pre-application question during the motivation letter submission process, and if selected you will be requested to complete a standard form and documentation consisting of your travel expense estimation.


The scientific organisers will select the recipients of all financial assistance during the motivation letter or abstract selection process. Results will be announced approximately 6-8 weeks before the event start date, however for some events this may be delayed. Selection results do not impact your admission to the meeting. Selection is based on your current work or study location, the reasons for needing financial support and the impact this event will have on your career.


Costs will be reimbursed after the meeting only once a reimbursement form and original receipts (from travel costs) have been received.

Further details

View our list of external funding opportunities and information on attending a conference as an event reporter.

For further information about financial assistance please refer to the FAQ page.

Accommodation and Shuttles

Accommodation is not included in the conference registration fee.

As further changes in our events are possible due to COVID-19, you should book flights, trains and hotels with flexible options and favourable cancellation conditions.

The hotels below have rooms on hold for participants until 7 April 2022, in some cases at special rates. Please quote the booking code EES22-04 and confirm the exact price of the room with the hotel directly.

Hotel AnlageHotel ibis HeidelbergPremier Inn Heidelberg City
Hotel Bayrischer Hof ISG Hotel Staycity Aparthotel Heidelberg
B&B HotelLeonardo Hotel Heidelberg City CentreSteffi’s Hostel Heidelberg
Exzellenz Hotel & Boarding HouseMeininger HeidelbergHotel Vier Jahreszeiten Heidelberg
Hotel Holländer Hof Hotel Monpti

Conference Shuttle Buses

Conference shuttle buses are free of charge for participants, and depart from designated bus stops near the hotels to EMBL and back, mornings and evenings.

The bus stops for this conference are:

  • StayCity Hotel (close to B&B Hotel and Main Train Station)
  • Kurfürsten-Anlage (close to Main Train Station)
  • Neckarmünzplatz
  • Peterskirche
  • Crowne Plaza
  • ISG Hotel

View Conference shuttle bus stops and hotels in a larger map. Please note that not every bus stop will be used for every event.

Further details

Address: EMBL, Meyerhofstraße 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany. For further information on getting to EMBL Heidelberg visit Public Transportation to the Venue. For information about accommodation and local transportation please refer to the FAQ page.

Onsite Information


All meals and coffee breaks are included in the registration fee. Our catering staff will prepare a wide variety of vegetarian meals, meat and fish dishes, soups, pasta, fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as a variety of desserts.

Please wear your badge at all times when serving yourself.

No food or drinks are allowed in the auditorium.

Charging lockers

There are lockers available next to the stairs leading down into the Auditorium. You will find some of those equipped with sockets to charge your smartphone/tablet etc.

Electricity and charging station

In most places the electricity is 220 volts AC (50 cycles). An adaptor and a plug that fits the German socket may be needed for your appliances/laptop (i.e. American, Japanese, etc.). A USB charging station for electronic devices is available at the registration desk.

EMBL merchandise

EMBL Merchandise is available on Mon – Thu (9 am – 12 pm). If you are interested in purchasing an EMBL souvenir (products presented in the glass display in the registration area), please ask at the registration desk for more information.

Health and safety notes

Please read EMBL’s COVID-19 terms and conditions for events.
Do not smoke in any EMBL building.
Eating and drinking is prohibited in the Auditorium and all laboratories.
Do not enter any restricted areas or the laboratories unless instructed to do so.

If first aid is required …

  • The first aid room is located next to the ATC Registration Desk (room 10- 205).
  • Dial the Emergency number 222 from any EMBL internal phone only.
  • Where is the accident? What happened? How many injured?
  • Emergency number 06221-387 7821 from mobile phones.
  • Please report all accidents to the conference officer at the registration desk.

In case of fire …

  • Press the nearest fire alarm button or the Emergency number 222 from any internal phone.
  • A loud fire alarm will go off if an evacuation is required. On hearing the alarm leave the building immediately following the escape route and fire wardens and head to one of the meeting points
  • Do not use the lifts.

Beyond first aid…

Please remember to bring your own medication, if needed, to the conference. Note that the next pharmacy is a 4-minute drive from the EMBL, but for many medications you will be required to see a doctor to get a prescription.

Ensure in advance that your medical insurance will cover you during your visit in the event that you do need to see a doctor while in Heidelberg. In any case, the EMBL Course and Conference Office will assist you to get to the pharmacy and a doctor of your choice if necessary.


Wi-Fi is available everywhere on the premises (no password required), just log on to ATC-Guest. The eduroam network (secure, world-wide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community) is also available.

Lost and found

‘’Lost and Found’’ are kept at the registration desk until the end of the conference.


There are lockers available on-site to store your luggage, which require a 2 EURO coin to operate. There is another luggage room on level E0, which is free to use but remains unlocked during the conference.

Nursing room

There is a nursing room available in the ATC Rooftop Lounge on level A29.


During the conference an EMBL Photographer may be taking photographs. If you would not like to appear in these, please inform the photographer or a member of the Course and Conference Office.


We can help printing your boarding passes/train ticket. Please send it to events@embl.de and collect your print-outs at the registration desk.

Room for prayer, yoga and meditation

There is a room for prayer, mediation and yoga located on level E0 behind the Auditorium. Please be respectful of other participants using the room.


A variety of activities in Heidelberg can be found on this website: www.heidelberg-marketing.com

Travel to and from the venue

During the event we provide conference shuttle busses to and from EMBL. In addition, there is the public bus 39A that serves the EMBL campus and taxis can be easily booked at any time. Information on the conference shuttle busses can be found on the individual event website and more detailed information on travelling to EMBL can be found on our Travel Information page.

Useful German expressions

GoodbyeAuf Wiedersehen
Good morningGuten Morgen
Good afternoonGuten Tag
Good eveningGuten Abend
Good nightGute Nacht
I’m sorryTut mir leid
Excuse me…Entschuldigen Sie
How are you?Wie geht’s?
I’m fine thanks. And you?Mir geht es gut , danke, und dir/Ihnen?
What is your nameWie heisst du? Wie heissen Sie?
My name isIch heisse
Do you speak EnglishSprechen Sie Englisch?
I don’t understandIch verstehe nicht
Please speak more slowlyKönnen Sie bitte langsamer sprechen
Thank youDanke schön
Where is the toilet?Wo ist die Toilette?
Please call me a taxiBitte rufen Sie mir ein Taxi
How do I get to….?Wie komme ich zum/zur…..?
A beer/two beers, pleaseEin Bier/zwei Bier bitte
A glass of red/white wine pleaseEin Glas Rot/Weisswein bitte
The menu, pleaseDie Speisekarte, bitte
Is there a local speciality?Gibt es eine Spezialität aus dieser Gegend?
I’m VegetarianIch bin Vegetarier
It was deliciousEs war hervorragend
The bill, pleaseDie Rechnung, bitte
I have a headacheIch habe Kopfschmerzen
I have a sore throatIch habe Halsschmerzen
My stomach hurtsIch habe Magenschmerzen
I’m allergic toIch bin allergisch gegen
I need a doctor who speaks EnglishGibt es einen Arzt, der Englisch spricht?
Virtual Participation


  • Do not broadcast the conference to unregistered participants.
  • You are encouraged to tweet and post about the event. Tweet unless the speaker specifically says otherwise, but be mindful of unpublished data. 
  • Please do not capture, transmit or redistribute data presented at the meeting.

Additional information can be found in our Code of Conduct.

Health and well-being

It is important to stay healthy and move around, especially when you are attending an event virtually. We have put together a few coffee break stretches and yoga videos in the conference platform for you to enjoy during the event.

How to ask questions

Please use the Q&A function in the event platform.

If you have any other questions, you can go to the Help Desk in the event platform. Click on ‘more’ on the top menu and click Help Desk. 

Time zone

The programme is planned based on the Europe/Berlin time zone, unless otherwise stated. As many virtual participants are attending from around the world, we do our best to accommodate as many time zones as possible when creating the programme. Please take your time zone into consideration when planning your attendance. Remember to set your time zone in your account. 

Virtual event platforms

We are using a virtual event platform for this conference. More information about the platform will be shared ahead of the conference.

Additional Information

Please find additional information including FAQs, terms and conditions, COVID-19 safety policy and travelling to EMBL on our Information for Participants page.


Event Supporter


Media Partners

EMBO Journal, an EMBO Press journal

Journal of Cell Science, a The Company of Biologists journal

Open Biology, a Royal Society journal


Sponsorship Opportunities

We offer a variety of event sponsoring possibilities, with the flexibility to select a set sponsorship package or combine individual sponsorship options to suit your event budget. Discounts are available for companies sponsoring multiple events at EMBL Heidelberg. View other conferences, or contact sponsorship@embl.de for further information.

If you are interested in becoming a media partner of this event, please visit our media partnerships webpage.


EMBO | EMBL Symposia promote scientific communication and collaboration in the European research area. They provide scientists with a platform to discuss and exchange ideas on forward-looking topics and new developments in the life sciences.

Topics emphasise upcoming developments and the interdisciplinary nature of related fields. Jointly funded and organised by EMBO and EMBL – and complementary to their respective courses, workshops, and conference programmes – the symposia promote scientific communication and collaboration.

All symposia are held in the EMBL Advanced Training Centre (ATC) in Heidelberg, Germany, or virtually.

Date: 9 - 12 May 2022

Location: EMBL Heidelberg and Virtual

Venue: EMBL Advanced Training Centre


Abstract submission: 14 Feb 2022

Registration (On-site): 7 Mar 2022

Registration (Virtual): 2 May 2022


  • Simon Alberti
    TU Dresden and Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Germany
    • Dorothee Dormann
      IMB & JGU Mainz, Germany

EMBL Courses and Conferences are kindly supported by our Corporate Partnership Programme

Founder partners

Corporate partners

Associate partners