Chromatin and Epigenetics: From Mechanism to Function

From left: Maria Elena Torres-Padilla, Professor Sir John Gurdon, Robert Schneider. Source: HMGU

The first “Chromatin and Epigenetics: From Mechanism to Function” meeting took place on the Helmholtz Zentrum München campus in Neuherberg from April 5th – 7th 2017. The international meeting saw a wealth of high profile, international scientists present cutting edge research in the field of epigenetics and chromatin biology.  The keynote lecture was given by Nobel Prize laureate Professor Sir John Gurdon.

This first meeting in a biennial series was organized by Institute Directors Maria Elena Torres-Padilla (IES) and Robert Schneider (IFE), together with Abcam, and brought researchers from around the world to the Neuherberg campus for a dynamic and interactive meeting and extensive discussions. Focusing on the latest developments in chromatin dynamics, modifications of histones, DNA and RNA, as well as single cell approaches and environment-genome interactions, the meeting provided an invigorating platform for scientific exchange.

The aim of the meeting was to inspire members of the international community to share their work and discuss the latest advances in epigenetics and stem cell research.  Conference organisers Maria Elena Torres-Padilla and Robert Schneider were delighted with the response to the meeting, with registration filling up long before the deadline. “We are thrilled to have brought together so many leading experts in epigenetics and chromatin biology in one place, discussing their research as a global community” said Professor Torres-Padilla. “This meeting is one of the activities we are excited to launch centred on epigenetics research at Helmholtz Zentrum München. We look forward to the next  epigenetics @HMGU activities and seeing where the research goes, it’s a very exciting time for the field!” added Professor Schneider.

The keynote lecture was given by Sir John Gurdon from the Gurdon Insitute, Cambridge.  Professor Gurdon is famous for his work on reprogramming of mature cells to totipotency, the discovery of which he was awarded a Nobel Prize in 2012. His highly anticipated lecture was entitled “The mode of action of transcription factors in oocytes” and triggered many interesting discussions on the latest findings in the field. 

In addition to oral presentations, two poster sessions gave researchers, including PhD students and postdocs, the opportunity to present their work to a global audience and were very well attended. Furthermore, five editors from top journals, from Nature and EMBO Press and The Company of Biologists, were also onsite for the duration of the meeting. The conference dinner and party on Thursday evening further promoted scientific and social interactions, establishing important networks within the global community. Set to take place every two years, we are already looking forward to the next meeting in this series and following the process of this ever advancing and high impact field.