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Within the SPRINGBOARD project on September 15, 2021, the Virtual training seminar “Discovery of antibiotics” for early-stage researchers was organized. The training seminar focused on information regarding the current state in the field of the discovery of antibiotics. Due to the current pandemic situation, the training seminar took place in the hybrid mode, partially face-to-face, partially online. More than 30 participants attended lectures presented by experts in their fields. Among participants, more than 50% were early-stage researchers. The topics of the Virtual training seminar were presented by the lecturers of the experts in their fields. Prof. Paul Cos (introduced the strategies to tackle antimicrobial resistance. Prof. Claudiu T. Supuran drew special attention to the advanced aspects of antibacterial research – new target identification. Prof. Fredrik Björkling presented the current state of antimicrobial peptide research including antisense antibiotics. After analysis of feedback survey, more than 94% of respondents were completely satisfied or satisfied with the seminar, more than 55% of respondents in future to prefer face-to-face as the form for seminars.
On May 11-12, 2021 the Transferable skills virtual training seminar will be organized by Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis (LIOS), the coordinator of SPRINGBOARD project (Springboard for excellence in advanced development of antibacterials, ID 951883). The agenda of the training has been elaborated in close collaboration with University of Antwerp. The training is focussed on the general aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and the development of skills necessary for the preparation of competitive proposals for Horizon Europe programme. Early stage researchers are the target audience of this event. As of September 2020 the LIOS has started the implementation of a 3 year project SPRINGBOARD. The main goal of the SPRINGBOARD project is to strengthen the research potential of LIOS in the field of advanced discovery and design of novel antibacterial drugs through establishing a sustainable and long-term collaboration with leading counterparts – University of Antwerp, University of Copenhagen, University of Florence and University of Helsinki. Scientists from LIOS, especially early-stage researchers will have opportunities to study new approaches and methodologies used in discovering of new antibacterial agents, participate in staff exchanges, attend conferences, participate in specialized training that increase the competence of LIOS staff, including the acquisition of tranferable skills necessary for the implementation of research results. The obtained knowledge and skills will contribute to the sustainability of LIOS also beyond the SPRINGBOARD project by promoting the long term networking and participation in Horizon Europe programme calls. SPRINGBOARD is funded by the European Union Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020 under the Twinning call Spreading excellence and widening participation. For more information visit the SPRINGBOARD project website https://springboard.osi.lv
To bring researchers and science closer to the public and stimulate interest in researcher career, especially among young people, the European Researchers’ Night takes place every year. Due to the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease,the event of the European Researchers’ Night 2020 in Latvia took place on April 30th, 2021 in a 100% virtual format. The topic of this year was 'Diversity of Science for Future'. Researchers at the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis gave numerous short lectures about drug discovery, medicinal chemistry, and the topic of relevance - COVID-19. Prof. Raivis Žalubovskis, the project's SPRINGBOARD coordinator gave a lecture 'Fight against bad bacteria'. In his lecture, Ravis Žalubovskis introduced participants to the problem and scope of bacterial resistance as well as presented the SPRINGBOARD project and its four scientific approaches to tackle it. After the lecture, Raivis Žalubovskis said: “It was a challenge for me to talk about scientific topics in a very simple way. I tried my best to bring the idea to each participant no matter if it is a pupil or student.” The European Researchers’ Night is an initiative promoted by the European Commission since 2005 and it involves thousands of researchers and research institutions in all European countries.
29th September 2020
10:00 Opening by project coordinator Prof. R. Žalubovskis
10:10 Achievements of LIOS in the field of antibacterials by vice-director of LIOS Prof. Aigars Jirgensons
10:30 Current landscape in the discovery of novel antibacterial agents by Prof. Jerry Wells
11:20 Strategies to tackle biofilm – related infections by Prof. Paul Cos
13:00 General overview on drug-targets in a search for new antibiotics by Prof. Jean-Yves Winum
13:50 From natural products to effective antibiotics by Prof. Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma or Dr. Päivi Tammela
14:40 Coffee break
15:00 Metalloenzymes as a drug target for antibacterial agents by Prof. Fabrizio Carta
15:50 Antisense and peptide antibiotics by Prof. Fredrik Björkling
16:40 Closing remarks
17:00 Tour at LIOS
As of September 2020, the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis (LIOS) has started the implementation of a 3 year project Springboard for excellence in advanced development of antibacterials (SPRINGBOARD). SPRINGBOARD is funded by the European Union Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020 under the Twinning call Spreading excellence and widening participation. The main goal of the SPRINGBOARD project is to strengthen the research potential of LIOS in the field of advanced discovery and design of novel antibacterial drugs through establishing a sustainable and long-term collaboration with leading counterparts – University of Antwerp, University of Copenhagen, University of Florence and University of Helsinki. The coordinator of this project is Professor Raivis Žalubovskis from LIOS. Scientists from LIOS, especially early-stage researchers will have opportunities to study new approaches and methodologies in discovering new antibacterial agents, participate in staff exchanges, attend conferences, participate in specialized training that supports excellence in science and build capacity for the participation in competitive joint project proposals. SPRINGBOARD dissemination and outreach activities will contribute to actual socio-economic challenges in connection with widespread infectious diseases and to increase the public awareness for the necessity to develop new antibacterial drugs for combating antimicrobial resistance. The virtual kick-off meeting of SPRINGBOARD was held on 28th of September, during which the partners discussed the implementation of the various actions planned under the project. On 29th of September in a semi virtual Topicalities in antibacterial drug design seminar, outstanding professors from universities of Antwerp, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Florence, Montpellier and Wageningen provided a comprehensive overview on the current landscape in the discovery of novel antibacterials.
Within the SPRINGBOARD project on May 11-12, 2021 the Transferable Skills training seminar for early-stage researchers was organized. The training focused on science communication, the general aspects of intellectual property rights and the development of skills necessary for the preparation of competitive proposals for the Horizon Europe program. Due to the current pandemic situation, the training seminar took place online. More than 40 participants attended daily lectures presented by experts in their fields. Among participants, more than 40% were early-stage researchers. The lecturers from the University of Antwerp covered the main agenda of the seminar. Prof. Robin De Cock presented how to pitch a project successfully and trained participants to make outstanding presentations. Dr. Bruno Hoste drew special attention to the impact of the scientific projects and how to communicate, disseminate and exploit results achieved during the project. The plan of the communication, dissemination and result exploitation of the SPRINGBOARD project as a representative example was analyzed. Dr. Sean McCarthy and Sylvia McCarthy from Hyperion, Ltd. presented a new research program “Horizon Europe” and talked about how to write and what to take into consideration when writing a competitive project proposal. This presentation was very useful for experienced researchers as well since the program “Horizon Europe” which is the European Union’s key funding program for research and innovations has been launched recently. Dr. Steven Vermeir introduced the listeners to the basics of intellectual property rights. Understanding intellectual property rights is critical for the stimulation of innovations because it is the key instrument to maintain a competitive advantage in the market. Prof. Jurgen Joossens presented the advantages of spin-offs. The generation of spin-offs is a key for element technology innovation which is used by universities not only to transfer technology to society but also to contribute to the development of a regional economy. He shared his personal experience of collaborating with the industry and generating spin-offs. The main goal of the event was to address the staff career development and to build the capacity of early-stage researchers in the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis.