LODOPnet newsletter April 09

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LODOPnet newsletter April 09 Powered By Docstoc
					BM0802 Newsletter – Life
  or death of protozoan
  parasites (LoDoPnet)
     December 2009
It is now twelve months since the Kick off meeting in Brus-
sels and a lot has happened in this time. Most importantly we
have had our first Scientific meeting which occurred in
France in mid March (more on this later). Several more
groups from have joined our Action.


We currently have Management Committee members from 15
member countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany,
Greece, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain,
Serbia, Switzerland Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Lyon Scientific meeting
In all 38 researchers attended the meeting from 11 countries. The meeting started at the Busi-
ness centre at Lyon Saint-Exupery Airport where seven students gave talks on their work and
Magali Bayssiere (Lyon ingenierie) discussed
How to apply to a call from EU? We then
moved onto Hotel Escandille,
Autrans (pictured right), high in the French
Alps for the main scientific meeting.

                             We arrived at
                             Autrans around
                             2000 and settled
                             in for dinner and
                             some light refreshments with the local
                             organiser Professor Stephane Picot
                             (pictured left). The other Professors
                             found entertainment elsewhere (pictured


The meeting itself opened bright and early on the Wednesday morning with Action Chair
Professor Sue Welburn and Rapporteur Professor Pedro Moradas Ferreira.
Discussions were then held on the four Work Groups with the leaders and co-leaders taking
the lead.
After this several of the group leaders gave talks on their recent work before breaking for
In the afternoon the Management Committee meeting took place and Magdalena Radwanska
gave us an update on developments at the COST office. As only MC members were allowed
to attend this gave some free time to the other members of the Action who participated in
outdoor activities such as skiing and snow walking.


On Friday further discussion took place on the work to be undertaken in the Work groups
and various roles were allocated.
Following the closing ceremony delegates left either on the Friday afternoon or the Saturday
Student presentations

Our first stop at Lyon was the business centre at the
airport. Here seven students (Marie Chaussepied,
Rudolf Koopmann, Benoît Meslin, Clara
Sprissler, Eva Rico Vidal and Habib Zalila) pre-
sented their work, with a prize on offer for best
The winning presenter was judged by her peers to
be Clara Sprissler (pictured with her prize (hat))
who talked on Characterization of Leishmania
major metacaspase: Interacting partners.
After receiving her diploma in Biology from the University of Konstanz
(Germany), Clara started her PhD at the University of Lausanne in 2008 with
Professor Nicolas Fasel. Clara’s work focuses on interacting partners of the
metacaspase in Leishmania major (LmjMCA). By using a variety of approaches
she has found several candidate proteins which interact with the LmjMCA, fur-
ther to this some of these proteins have also been shown to play a role in cell
death in other organisms.
Clara finds the whole process of cell death in unicellular protozoans as an altru-
istic behaviour very fascinating and would like to know more about the mecha-
nisms that bring it about. Especially as understanding these mechanisms could
lead to the development of new therapeutic drugs to combat the debilitating dis-
eases that protozoan parasites cause.
In Clara’s words, “The COST meeting was very interesting for me to get to
know the people working in the same field of interest. It was a good experience
to be in a stimulating scientific environment, to discuss with other scientists and
to get an insight about what other groups are working on. This meeting will en-
able us to collaborate more closely and to push forward the research on parasites
cell death. I also appreciated the opportunity and funding from COST to pre-
sent my work to a group of specialists.”
The first student to undertake a Short Term Scientific Mis-
sion (STSM) was Eva Rico Vidal. Here she provides us
with some information on her background and her trip to
I am a PhD student in my final year of study and am based at
the laboratory of Antonio Jimenez Ruiz, in the University
of Alcalá (Madrid – Spain). During the last three years my
work has focused on the characterization of molecules in-
volved in the apoptosis program of the protozoan parasite
Leishmania infantum. I am also interested in the study of
autophagy, another kind of programmed cell death that has
also been demonstrated in parasites of the Trypanosomatidae
family (including Leishmania) and it was this pathway that
led me to Brussels.
Paul Michels and Fred Opperdoes’ laboratory has a long tra-
dition in the study of the genes involved in autophagy,
(especially in glycosomal autophagy) as well as in the determination of the main features that character-
ize this process in Trypanosoma, a genus that is also part of the Trypanosomatidae family. Moreover,
they are experts in the use of RNAi technology in this parasite, giving me also the chance of learning
this useful tool that is not possible to develop in Leishmania infantum, due to absence in this parasite of
the necessary genes.
Nowadays, I am already halfway trough my short scientific mission, and I am really satisfied with all the
new techniques that I am learning, and also very happy with the great environment that they have in this
laboratory. Moreover, the STSM is giving me the chance of getting to know a new culture and a new
language, and I can say that I am really enjoying my stay in Brussels. I strongly recommend to other
young researchers to carry out one of these short scientific missions, and I am thankful to COST for let-
ting me undertake this project.

Eva Rico Vidal

If you are interested in applying for an STSM please contact Stephane Picot (picot@rockefeller.univ-

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