Sharing science, shaping opportunities for collaboration
The CPP annual scientific meeting provided a forum for EMBL researchers and industry representatives to discuss mobile labs, planetary biology, and other areas of common interest.
An annual forum for EMBL scientists and industry collaborators and supporters this year focused on EMBL’s plans to broaden its research scope, including the Planetary Biology research theme and its upcoming Traversing European Coastlines (TREC) expedition.
EMBL hosts the scientific symposium every year with partners from its Corporate Partnership Programme (CPP) to exchange ideas, discover potential collaborative opportunities, and acknowledge financial contributions from CPP members throughout the year.
“This year’s meeting was particularly timely,” said Nadine Ilk, EMBL Corporate Partnership Programme manager. “An afternoon roundtable discussion with founding partner, Evident, allowed EMBL to share its strategic research vision and representatives from Evident to share their expertise with imaging technologies in mobile laboratories, which is particularly relevant to EMBL’s upcoming TREC project. EMBL will soon be collaborating with other scientists to do field research along Europe’s coastlines over an 18-month period.”
Held each February, this CPP event is an opportunity to share with corporate representatives ongoing research projects and training opportunities at EMBL. Likewise, EMBL participants learn about new instruments, technologies, and laboratory products in the pipeline and, in the instance of biopharma members of the CPP, new advances in therapeutics, diagnostics, drug manufacturing, clinical research, and regulatory affairs.
This year’s event included presentations from four EMBL group leaders who are engaged in work that falls into a new planetary biology transversal theme that is part of the 2022-26 EMBL programme ‘Molecules to Ecosystems’. Detlev Arendt, Gautam Dey, Michael Dorrity, and Flora Vincent each presented their research plans and the scientific questions they are pursuing. Additionally, they discussed how they will manage the significant amount of data that the TREC expedition will generate. Matthias Mann, Max Planck Institute Director for Biochemistry and an EMBL alumnus, provided the scientific keynote address, talking about how proteomics is revolutionising patient diagnostics.
“After my presentation, I discussed my work further with Resolve Biosciences and others, who were particularly interested in working with us on spatial transcriptomics,” Dorrity said. “We’re now talking about collaborating with them to do this work in non-model fish species to explore cellular composition changes in ancestral vertebrates.”
EMBL Director General Edith Heard noted in her presentation how a BD Biosciences collaboration with EMBL’s Steinmetz group and the Flow Cytometry Core Facility proved fruitful for all involved, as together they developed and fine-tuned a next-generation flow cytometer.
Corporate financial support via CPP annual membership contributions also allows EICAT-External Training to offer fellowships and travel grants to highly motivated scientists with insufficient travel funds to participate in and contribute to EICAT-hosted courses and conferences, thus supporting EMBL’s goal to attract and train top science talents from around the world.
Additionally, CPP supports the Christian Boulin Fellowship programme and new visiting scientist fellowships that cover travel and accommodation costs for scientists coming to EMBL research groups and core facilities to learn and use the latest scientific techniques.
“This meeting is always a really great forum for scientific exchange and relationship-building, especially for new group leaders,” Ilk said, noting that she is always eager to speak with prospective corporate partners and EMBL scientists interested in nurturing collaborative relationships. “The research presentations open up the opportunity to network, collaborate, and find common ground that industry may be interested in supporting.
“This year, we saw industry partners particularly eager to be part of our planetary biology research, which carries an added value of informing how we can address societal and environmental challenges. The gathering is truly a win-win for everyone.”