Microtubules: from atoms to complex systems – Course and Conference Office

EMBO | EMBL Symposium

Microtubules: from atoms to complex systems


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 terms and conditions.

Symposium Overview

The microtubule cytoskeleton is essential for a wide variety of cellular functions, such as chromosome segregation, directed vesicle and organelle transport, cell motility and cell polarity. Impaired microtubule function can lead to human diseases including cancer and neurodegenerative disorders, where microtubules serve as important therapeutic targets. In recent years, interdisciplinary approaches embracing cell biology, genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics, structural biology and mathematical modelling have made a tremendous impact on microtubule research.

The progressive diversification of the microtubule field has created the need for a strong meeting that unifies the community and brings together researchers from different disciplines interested in microtubule research. This role has been played by this conference series, which was initiated in 2010. Our meetings bring together early-career and established researchers from all over the world who are interested in fundamental microtubule biology and its impact on organism development, homeostasis and disease. As in our previous meetings, this new symposium will feature inspirational keynote and landmark lectures, a large number of short talk opportunities selected from the submitted abstracts, and lively poster sessions, as well as special activities for networking and advancing EMBO global initiatives.

Session Topics

  • Patterning of microtubule arrays
  • Microtubule-based control of cell architecture
  • Microtubule motors and their regulation
  • Microtubule biophysics
  • The tubulin code
  • Microtubules in neurons
  • Microtubules in cell division

Speakers and Organizers

Keynote Speaker

Landmark Lecturers


Gaia Pigino

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics



Conference Organisers

Preliminary Programme

Got something to say? Tweet it! #EESMicrotubules

  • 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 – Wednesday 8 June 2022
12:30-14:00Registration & lunch
14:00-14:15Opening remarks
14:15-16:00Session 1: Patterning of microtubule arrays
Chair: TBA
14:15-14:40Microtubule Cartography: The Role of Microtubule-Associated Proteins in Defining the Cellular Landscape
Kassandra Ori-McKenney – University of California, Davis, USA
14:40-15:05How budding yeast cells specify the function of individual microtubules during spindle positioning
Yves Barral – ETH Zürich, Switzerland
15:05-15:30Motorised organisation of microtubule arrays
Anne Straube – Warwick Medical School, UK
15:30-15:45Short talk
15:45-16:00Short talk
16:00-16:30Coffee Break
16:30-18:00Session 2: Microtubule-based control of cell architecture
Chair: TBA
16:30-16:55Microtubules regulate cell shape and division in plant cells
Magdalena Bezanilla – Dartmouth College, USA
16:55-17:20Aster and Furrow Positioning in a Huge Cell
Tim Mitchison – Harvard University, USA
17:20-17:45Patterning the microtubule cytoskeleton during development
Jessica Feldman – Stanford University, USA
17:45-18:00Short talk
18:00-19:00Speed networking session
20:30-22:00Welcome reception with preview of all posters
Day 2 – Thursday 9 June 2022
09:15-10:15KEYNOTE lecture: Microtubules, motors and morphogenesis
Jonathon Howard – Yale University, USA
Chair: TBC
10:15-10:45Coffee Break
10:45-12:30Session 3: Microtubule motors and their regulation
Chair: TBA
10:45-11:10The role of nucleotide hydrolysis in kinesin stepping and microtubule assembly: new insights from cryo-EM studies
Charles Sindelar – Yale School of Medicine, USA
11:10-11:35Intraflagellar transport and microtubule dynamics in C. elegans chemosensory cilia
Erwin Peterman – Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
11:35-12:00Regulation of dynein-mediated transport by LIS1
Steven Markus – Colorado State University, USA
12:00-12:15Short talk
12:15-12:30Short talk
12:30-14:00Lunch & Meet the Speakers
14:00-15:00Session 4: Emerging Topics 1
Chair: TBA
14:00-14:15Short talk
14:15-14:30Short talk
14:30-14:45Short talk
14:45-15:00Short talk
15:00-15:20Poster Flash talks
15:20-15:50Coffee break
15:50-18:30Poster Session 1
20:00-20:401st Landmark Lecture: Interlocking mechanics of kinesins and tubulins
Robert Cross – Warwick Medical School, UK
Chair: TBA
20:40-22:00Wine and beer session with the possibility to continue poster session
Day 3 – Friday 10 June 2022
09:15-11:00Session 5: Microtubule biophysics
Chair: TBA
09:15-09:40Microtubules as active material
Akira Kakugo – Hokkaido University, Japan
09:40-10:05Microtubule lattice spacing governs formation of protective tau envelopes
Zdeněk Lánský – Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic
10:05-10:30Ultraresolution Picotensiometry of Kinesin Motors
Erik Schäffer – University of Tübingen, Germany
10:30-10:45Short talk
10:45-11:00Short talk
11:00-11:30Coffee Break
11:30-12:45Session 6: Emerging Topics 2
Chair: TBA
11:30-11:45Short Talk
11:45-12:00Short Talk
12:00-12:15Short Talk
12:15-12:30Short Talk
12:30-12:45Short Talk
12:45-14:15Lunch & Meet the Speakers
14:15-14:552nd Landmark Lecture: Mitotic centrosomes: assembly & functions
Karen Oegema – Ludwig Cancer Research, USA
Chair: TBA
14:55-15:15Poster Flash Talks
15:15-15:45Coffee Break
15:45-18:00Poster session 2
18:00-19:003rd Landmark Lecture & Roundtable: Fascinating structures and exciting biology: microtubules in non-model organisms

Microtubules of protozoan parasites: from curious assemblies to exciting biology
Freddy Frischknecht – Heidelberg University Hospital, Germany
19:00-21:00Conference dinner
21:00-23:59Social event TBC
Day 4 – Saturday 11 June 2022
09:15-11:00Session 7: The tubulin code
Chair: TBA
09:15-09:40Live cell markers for microtubule PTMs
Minhaj Sirajuddin – Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine, India
09:40-10:05Changes in microtubule PTMs drive organelle displacement in cells with amplified centrosomes
Susana Godinho – Cancer Research UK Barts Centre, UK
10:05-10:30From nanopattern to function: the role of the tubulin code in ciliary mechanics
Gaia Pigino – Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Germany
10:30-10:45Short talk
10:45-11:00Short talk
11:00-11:30Coffee Break
11:30-13:05Session 8: Microtubules in neurons
Chair: TBA
11:30-11:55Understanding developmental distribution of neuronal microtubules in vivo
Kang Shen – Stanford University, USA
11:55-12:20Microtubules in neuronal function and neurodegeneration
Matthias Kneussel – Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg (ZMNH), Germany
12:20-12:35Short Talk
12:35-12:50Short Talk
12:50-13:05Short Talk
14:35-16:20Session 9: Microtubules in cell division
Chair: TBA
14:35-15:00Pivoting of microtubules around the spindle pole promotes congression of polar chromosomes
Iva Tolic – Ruđer Bošković Institute, Croatia
15:00-15:25Microtubule-associated proteins as couplers for mitotic chromosomes
Ekaterina L. Grishchuk, University of Pennsylvania, USA
15:25-15:50The Astrin/SKAP Complex Reduces Friction at the Kinetochore-Microtubule Interface
Sophie Dumont – University of California, San Francisco, USA
15:50-16:05Short Talk
16:05-16:20Short Talk
16:20-16:35Closing Remarks and Poster Prize
16:35End of conference

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 Lina Nikolajeva 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 07 May 2022, in some cases at special rates. Please quote the booking code EES22-06 and confirm the exact price of the room with the hotel directly.

Hotel Anlage Hotel Holländer Hof  Premier Inn Heidelberg City
Hotel Bayrischer Hof  Hotel ibis Heidelberg Staycity Aparthotel Heidelberg
B&B HotelLeonardo Hotel Heidelberg City Centre Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Heidelberg
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.


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: 8 - 11 Jun 2022

Location: EMBL Heidelberg


Abstract submission: 16 Mar 2022

Registration (On-site): 6 Apr 2022

Registration (Virtual): 1 Jun 2022


  • Anna Akhmanova
    Utrecht University, The Netherlands
    • Carsten Janke
      Institut Curie, France

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