The Mobile Genome: Genetic and Physiological Impacts of Transposable Elements – Course and Conference Office

EMBO Workshop

The Mobile Genome: Genetic and Physiological Impacts of Transposable Elements


EMBL is committed to sharing research advances and sustaining scientific interaction throughout the coronavirus pandemic. We are delighted to announce that this conference is going virtual and invite you to join us online.

Conference Overview

This conference is assembling world-leading experts from diverse fields including genomics, epigenetics, structural biology, developmental biology, immunology, cancer biology and neurobiology, to discuss the broad impacts of TEs on organismal biology.

This conference provides a venue for cross-disciplinary discussions, with the goal of catalysing inter-disciplinary collaborations to address emerging questions in these scientific fields.

Although often disparaged as “junk” DNA, it is now undeniable that transposable element (TE) activity has significantly shaped the structure and function of all genomes, ranging from bacteria to humans. TEs are major drivers of genetic diversity and contribute to human disease. Remarkably, recent research has shown that TE-derived sequences also can be co-opted by the host to play important roles in gene expression, early development, immunity, neuronal diversification, and, perhaps, aging.

Session Topics

  • Genomics and evolution
  • Transposon regulation
  • Transposition mechanisms
  • Physiological impacts


Keynote Speakers


Maria Costa

Institute for Integrative Biology of the Cell


Fred Dyda

National Insitute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health


Pascale Lesage

Université de Paris, Institut de Recherche Saint-Louis, INSERM, CNRS


Scientific Organisers

Julius F. Brennecke

Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (IMBA)


Conference Organisers

Lisa Trinh

EMBL Heidelberg


Diah Yulianti

EMBL Heidelberg


Preliminary Programme

Got something to say? Tweet it! #EMBOMobileGene

  • The virtual conference includes live-streamed keynote lectures and live-streamed selected short talks.
  • All digital poster presenters are encouraged to upload a recorded flash talk or narration with their digital poster.
  • Information on the live stream and access to the discussion platform and digital posters will be provided 1 week before the start of the event.
  • Access to the recorded talks will be available until 15 September 2021.
  • All times in the programme below are shown as the time in Europe/Berlin.

To find out the equivalent time zone in your location, enter Berlin, the programme time and date along with your city into the Time Zone Converter.

Day 1 – Sunday, 29 August 2021
14:00-14:10Opening remarks
Virtual Session 1 – Genomics and evolution (part 1)
14:10-14:40Cedric Feschotte – Cornell University, USA
14:40-15:00Short talk
15:00-15:30Evolution of commensal Escherichia coli strains in the mouse gut
Isabel Gordo – Gulbenkian Institute, Portugal
15:45-16:15Jernej Ule – Francis Crick Institute, UK
16:15-16:35Short talk
16:35-17:05René Ketting – Institute of Molecular Biology, Germany
17:05-17:35MBD5 and MBD6 couple DNA methylation to gene silencing through the J-domain protein SILENZIO
Steve Jacobsen – University of California, Los Angeles, USA
17:35-17:50Selected poster flash talks
17:50-18:20Meet the speakers session 1 (part 1)
18:35-19:35Informal topic discussion in breakout rooms
19:35-20:35Digital poster session 1
Day 2 – Monday, 30 August 2021
13:00-14:00Social programme: Online speed networking
Virtual Session 1 – Genomics and evolution (part 2)
14:00-14:30Josefa Gonzalez – Institute of Evolutionary Biology, Spain
14:30-14:50Short talk
14:50-15:20Vincent Colot – IBENS, France
15:35-15:50Selected poster flash talks
15:50-16:50Digital poster session 2
16:50-17:20Harmit Malik – Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, USA
17:20-17:40Short Talk
17:40-18:10Meet the speakers session 2 (part 1)
Virtual Session 2 – Transposon regulation (part 1)
18:10-19:00Deborah Bourc’his – Institut Curie, France
19:00-19:30Laura F. Landweber – Columbia University, USA
19:30-19:50Short talk
20:05-20:35Séverine Chambeyron – Institute of Human Genetics, France
20:35-20:55Short talk
20:55-21:25Epigenetic evolution over geological timescales
Hiten Madhani – University of California, San Francisco, USA
21:25-22:00Meet the speakers session 2 (part 1)
Day 3 – Tuesday, 31 August 2021
Virtual Session 2 – Transposon regulation (part 2)
14:00-14:30piRNA-directed transposon DNA methylation
Donal O’Carroll – MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, UK
14:30-14:50Short talk
14:50-15:20Mia Levine – University of Pennsylvania, USA
15:20-15:40Short talk
15:40-16:10Meet the speakers session 2 (part 2)
16:10-17:10Panel discussion on provocative emerging research areas on Mobile DNA
17:10-17:25Selected poster flash talks
17:25-18:25Break and digital poster session 3
Virtual Session 3 – Transposition mechanisms (part 1)
18:25-19:15A structural journey through the evolution of the RAG transposase/recombinase
David Schatz – Yale University, USA
19:15-19:45Control of Ty1 retrotransposition from transcription to integration
Pascale Lesage – Université de Paris, Institut de Recherche Saint-Louis, INSERM, CNRS, France
19:15-19:35Short talk
19:35-19:55Short talk
20:00-20:30Three domains, two catalytic Tyrosines and an active monomer: The Cryo-EM structure of a Helitron transposase
Fred Dyda – National Institutes of Health, USA
19:55-20:25Meet the speakers session 3 (part 1)
20:25-21:25Social programme: virtual bar mixer
Day 4 – Wednesday, 1 September 2021
Virtual Session 3 – Transposition mechanisms (part 2)
14:00-14:30Regulation and impact of human L1 retrotransposons
Gael Cristofari – Inserm, CNRS, France
14:30-14:50Short talk
14:50-15:20Bacterial Group II Intron Retrotransposons : Diversity is the Keyword
Maria Costa – Institute for Integrative Biology of the Cell,
15:20-15:35Selected poster flash talks
15:35-16:05Meet the speakers session 3 (part 2)
16:05-17:05Break and digital poster session 4
Virtual Session 4 – Physiological impacts
17:05-17:35Transposon-encoded CRISPR–Cas systems direct RNA-guided DNA integration
Samuel Sternberg – Columbia University, USA
17:35-17:55Short talk
17:35-18:05Epigenetic regulation of LINE-1 elements by the HUSH complex and physiological impacts
Helen Rowe – Blizard Institute, QMUL, UK
18:05-18:35Structural variation in transposable elements as hidden genetic modifiers in human disease-risk loci
Frank Jacobs – University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
18:10-18:30Short talk
18:35-19:05Zsuzsanna Izsvak – Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Germany
19:05-19:35LINE-1 in cancer biology
Kathleen H. Burns – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, USA
18:45-19:05Short talk
19:35-20:05Didier Trono – EPFL, Switzerland
19:05-19:15Closing remarks
20:05-20:35Meet the speakers session 4

Practical information

Registration Fees and Abstract Submission

Registration Fees (include access to all of the talks, online group discussions, and help us cover our costs to run the event):

Academia190 Euro
PhD Student140 Euro
Industry240 Euro
EMBL StaffIntranet access

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 Lisa Trinh 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.
Types of payments accepted are international bank transfers (only up to 8 weeks before event) and credit card payments.

Abstract submission

Only registered participants are eligible to submit an abstract. We only accept online abstract submissions. 

After registration you can submit your abstract via a separate link that will be provided in the email confirmation. Alternatively, you can access 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

Registration Fee Waivers

All academic and student registrants are invited to apply for a registration fee waiver, provided by the EMBL Advanced Training Centre Corporate Partnership Programme and EMBO. The registration fee waiver covers the registration sum that you have paid to attend the meeting. Conference participants are not required to pre-pay the registration fee to be selected for a fee waiver for a virtual meeting. If you have already paid the registration fee and are awarded a fee waiver, it will be reimbursed after the meeting. Course participants are required to pay the course fee in advance, which will then be reimbursed after the recipient has attended the course.

Childcare Grants

For participants and speakers with childcare responsibilities there is the possibility to apply for a grant, provided by the EMBL Advanced Training Centre Corporate Partnership Programme and EMBO, to offset childcare costs incurred when participating at a virtual event. Eligible costs include fees for a babysitter or childcare facility or travel costs for a care giver. Please note that priority will be given to early stage researchers. Costs will be reimbursed after the meeting only once a reimbursement form and original receipts have been received. Attendance at the event is required in order to be eligible to receive the reimbursement. In order to apply for this grant, you must be registered by the abstract submission deadline.

Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds Travel Grant

Applies to selected courses only. Availability will be indicated during the abstract or motivation letter submission process.

This grant covers costs related to your attendance to the course (registration, travel and accommodation costs). The grant is restricted to PhD students and postdocs who conduct basic biomedical research.
Whether you are eligible to apply for a travel grant, depends on when you received your university entrance qualification (e.g. Abitur, A-Levels, High School Diploma, Final State Examination):

– for PhD and MD students, as well as graduates, the university entrance qualification must not have been obtained more than 11 years ago at the time of the envisaged course
– for postdocs, the university entrance qualification must not have been obtained more than 13 years ago at the time of the envisaged course


Applications for financial assistance can be submitted via the submission portal* (for the submission of abstracts for conferences or the submission of motivation letters for courses) by completing the Financial Assistance Application Section (underneath the section for entering abstract/motivation letter information). The link to the portal can be found in the registration confirmation email that you will receive after registering for the conference or course.

For conferences, if you are not submitting an abstract, you can still apply for financial assistance in the submission portal by following the instructions here. Note that priority will be given to those submitting an abstract to present at the conference. In your application you will be asked to answer questions regarding your motivation for applying, and, for registration fee waivers, the reasons 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 some events, applications for Childcare Grants will still be done by email. Information about the grant will be sent out shortly after the abstract/motivation letter deadline. Please contact the event Conference Officer if you have any questions.


The scientific organisers will select the recipients of registration fee waivers during the abstract selection process for conferences and the participant selection process for courses. Results will be announced approximately 3 – 4 weeks before the event start date. Selection results do not impact your admission to the meeting. Registration fee waiver selection is based on your current work or study location, your motivation for applying, the reasons for needing financial support and the impact this event will have on your career. Childcare grants are allocated based on career stage, with priority given to early stage researchers.

Further details

A list of external funding opportunities can be found here, and information on attending a conference as an event reporter here.

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

Virtual Participation Guidelines


Please do:

  • Use the event-specific hashtag as communicated during the event for any related tweets
  • Tweet unless the speaker specifically says otherwise
  • Be mindful of unpublished data
  • Be respectful in tone and content

Please don’t:

  • Share Slack, live stream or poster session links with others
  • Broadcast the conference to unregistered participants
  • Capture, transmit or redistribute data presented at the meeting unless presenter gives explicit consent
  • Use offensive language in your posts
  • Engage in rudeness or personal attacks

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 events Slack workspace for you to enjoy during the event.

How to ask questions

Questions during and after the talks can be asked in live streaming platform. The chair moderates the questions and shares them with the speaker. If time runs out or you think of a question later, you can use Slack to ask your questions in the dedicated session channels or via direct message.

Time zone

The programme is planned based on Central European Summer Time (CEST), unless otherwise stated. As many virtual participants are attending from around the world, we do our best to accomodate as many timezones as possible when creating the programme. Please take your time zone into consideration when planning your attendance.

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.


Event Sponsors:

Media Partners

EMBO Journal, an EMBO Press 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.


EMBL wishes to warn sponsors of EMBL conferences and courses of fraudulent schemes purporting to offer sponsorship opportunities on behalf of EMBL or affiliated with EMBL officials. One current scam campaign of which we are aware is conducted using the name ‘Judy Eastman’ (judy@gopcontact.a2hosted.com) and entails approaches to sponsors offering sponsorship opportunities on EMBL’s behalf. Please be kindly advised that all relevant communication regarding sponsorship of EMBL conferences, symposia and courses is handled by EMBL directly and is sent from an official EMBL account. EMBL does not work with any external providers on sponsorship acquisition.

Please also note that:

  • EMBL never provides attendee lists for purchase. Any offers of such are fraudulent.
  • EMBL will never call or email you to ask for your credit card details or to request a payment.
  • All payments are on invoice.

Suspicious communications purportedly from, for or on behalf of EMBL should be reported to EMBL at the following email address sponsoring@embl.de.

EMBO Workshoo logo

Date: 29 Aug - 1 Sep 2021

Location: Virtual


Abstract submission: Closed

Registration: 2 Aug 2021


  • Orsolya Barabas
    University of Geneva, Switzerland
    • Julius F. Brennecke
      Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (IMBA) , Austria
      • Jose L. Garcia-Perez
        Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM) , UK
        • John V. Moran
          University of Michigan Medical School , USA

        Contact: Diah Yulianti

        Download event poster

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

Founder partners

Corporate partners

Associate partners