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The University of Barcelona hosts an international symposium on the biology of protein networks

Prestigious experts participate in this international symposium.

Prestigious experts participate in this international symposium.



The study of protein-protein interactions within an organism is an innovative research field which is gaining significance in the design of new therapeutic strategies. To analyse studies on the biology of protein networks —in other words, the interactoma— and its pathological implications is the main objective of the international symposium that takes place at the Aula Magna of the Historic Building of the University of Barcelona on 6 and 7 October. The symposium is coordinated by Dr Marçal Pastor Anglada, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and member of the Institute of Biomedicine of the University of Barcelona (IBUB) and the National Biomedical Research Institute of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases (CIBERehd).

The opening takes place on Tuesday 6 October, at 9.30 a.m., and is chaired by Dr Jordi Albert, vice-rector for Research, Innovation and Transfer; Dr José María Medina, member of the Scientific Council of the Ramón Areces Foundation, and Dr Marçal Pastor Anglada. The symposium is an initiative promoted by the Ramón Areces Foundation, supported by the University of Barcelona, the IBUB and the CIBERehd.


Proteins and cell machinery: a complex network

Cell signalling systems are extraordinarily complex and they become networks with multiple regulation factors. It has been proved that cell function depends on this type of interactions, so they are potential pharmacological targets. Professor Pastor Anglada explains: “Probably, we will achieve more specificity if, instead of targeting proteins to inhibit their function, interaction domains are used as pharmacological targets”.

The international symposium gathers prestigious experts such as Dr Igor Stagljar, professor at the University of Toronto, who has promoted the innovative technologies MYTH and MAMTH. These technologies have enabled to begin identifying hydrophobic integral membrane proteins, a process that traditional techniques were not able to achieve. Dr Stagljar pronounces the lecture “Mapping the dynamic membrane protein interaction networks in health disease”.


From the interactome to biomedical research

The symposium will analyse a wide range of research lines focused on the improvement of computing tools that allow in silico prediction of the existence of interactions and protein networks; the improvement of experimental techniques that enable to prove these interactions, and the definition of new networks for certain systems and pathologies that affect, for example, the central nervous system, the immune system, the networks related with tumour development, etc.

Some of the experts that participate in the symposium are: Erich Wanker, researcher at the Max Delbrück Centre for Molecular Medicine (Berlin), who gives the lecture “Network biology: elucidating the molecular principles of neurodegenerative diseases”; Dr Gavin Wright, expert at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (United Kingdom), who pronounces the lecture “Identifying extracellular receptor-ligand interactions that are essential for cellular recognition processes”, and Federico Mayor Menéndez, researcher at the CenterofMolecular Biology `Severo Ochoa, who pronounces the lecture  “Cell and context-specific GRK2 signalling networks: physiopathological implications”. Other participating experts are: Pascal Braun (Technical University of Munich), Matthias Gstaiger (ETH Zurich), María Yañez-Mo (University Hospital Santa Cristina, Madrid) and Carmen Aragón (Autonomous University of Madrid-CSIC).

In the field of biocomputing advances, the symposium gathers experts such as Juan Fernández Recio, researcher at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, who pronounces the lecture “Computational protein docking for the new challenges of the interactomics era”, and Patrick Aloy (IRB Barcelona), who gives the speech “A network biology approach to novel therapeutic strategies”. Alfonso Valencia (Spanish National Cancer Research Centre) and Jörg Gsponer (University of British Columbia) also participate in the symposium.


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