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EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE Newsletter No 01 - March 2020
 
EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE - March 2020

Welcome to our first "EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE" newsletter!

 
Even though a lot of you are probably busy with some sort of COVID19-related issues, we are excited to keep you updated on our EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE activities through this newly created newsletter! In this issue, you will learn about new potential EU-OPENSCREEN ERIC member countries, compound sourcing capacities within the network and the availability of a fragment library in the near future. We also describe how we are actively engaging with industry. Don't miss the meetings and workshop announcements at the end of the newsletter! And last, but not least: you can read about the newly selected EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE user projects. We are looking very much forward to working with all the new users - exciting times ahead!

Take care and stay healthy,
Your EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE management team

 

EASY ACCESS TO THE EU-OPENSCREEN INFRASTRUCTURE

EU-OPENSCREEN provides access to a research infrastructure of 17 screening partner sites, which are located in eight EU-OPENSCREEN ERIC member countries – the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Poland, and Spain. Together, EU-OPENSCREEN’s central office and screening partners defined an access workflow to support biologists and assay providers interested in accessing cutting-edge technologies and technical expertise made available by the EU-OPENSCREEN infrastructure.
 
The user will receive technical and scientific support throughout the entire access process from submission of their proposal and evaluation of its scientific value and technical feasibility, to the agreement with the selected screening site. Moreover, applicants can generally benefit from EU-OPENSCREEN expertise. Additionally, the central office supports scientists when applying for external funding at the national and European level.

EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE: SUPPORTING CHEMICAL BIOLOGY AT EUROPEAN LEVEL

Since April 2018, when EU-OPENSCREEN started its operations as European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) for Chemical Biology, international researchers have the possibility to easily access a distributed network of screening and medicinal chemistry facilities representing the European excellence in the field. EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE is an Horizon-2020-funded project, which aims to support the development and long-term sustainability of EU-OPENSCREEN ERIC operations through actions focused on widening awareness of academia and industry for its services and data, growing the capacity and competences in this field and supporting the management needed for a large distributed infrastructure.

For more information visit our websites https://www.eu-openscreen.eu and https://drive.eu-openscreen.eu

FIRST EU-OPENSCREEN DRIVE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING HELD IN PRAGUE

1st EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE Annual General Meeting participants
On January 15-16th 2020, participants from 33 EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE partner institutions came to Prague from all over Europe to share the achievements of this first year of collaborative work. The meeting was an important moment for active scientific discussions and gave partners the opportunity to directly contribute to the detailed planning of the next steps of the project. The AGM culminated with two evening dinners on the streets of downtown Prague, which allowed for more intense discussions on the open call implementation.

EU-OPENSCREEN COMMUNITY IS GROWING

Founded by seven European countries in 2018, EU-OPENSCREEN encourages scientists, institutions and countries to join and participate in a collaborative effort to develop novel chemical probes. Reaching out to, and engaging with, scientific communities in countries that have not joined EU-OPENSCREEN is an important goal. Over the last 12 months, numerous workshops and symposia have been organised in our candidate countries, e.g. Greece, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland and the UK.

These events brought together scientists and funding organisations to discuss ongoing research in drug discovery and community needs, and will hopefully pave the way towards their membership in EU-OPENSCREEN. Indeed, Denmark, which was an observer country in 2018, is now EU-OPENSCREEN's 8th member country.
Representatives from EU-OPENSCREEN ERIC partner sites and the central office with scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel discussing how to bring together small molecules and biology at the first ISR-OPENSCREEN workshop.

EU-OPENSCREEN IS NOW READY TO SOURCE AND COLLECT ACADEMIC COMPOUNDS FROM CHEMISTS IN EUROPE AND BEYOND

One of EU-OPENSCREEN’s main objectives, the systematic crowd-sourcing of academic compounds from chemistry labs across Europe, ensures that under-exploited compounds become accessible to the research community. As part of EU-OPENSCREEN collection, unique academic compounds will be distributed to our partner sites and used in a variety of screening projects, allowing the generation of a large amount of data that will contribute to their characterization and the development of new molecules with medical potential. Moreover, the incorporation of these compounds into our library will ensure that under-exploited compounds will be made available to the scientific community, strongly stimulating the collaboration between chemists and biologists.

To ensure correct management of the acquisition process in terms of legal and technical requirements, our partners Päivi Tammela (University of Helsinki), Mabel Loza (University of Santiago de Compostela), and Edgar Specker (Leibniz Research Institute for Molecular Pharmacology in the Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. / EU-OPENSCREEN ERIC) with the support of Federica Rossella (EU-OPENSCREEN ERIC) have finalized the Material Transfer Agreement to be signed between the academic donor of the compound and EU-OPENSCREEN ERIC. Moreover, they have defined a workflow for the compound collection, during which identification, tracking and storage of the academic compounds are managed according to FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reproducible) data in chemistry. EU-OPENSCREEN is now ready to realise the vision of a pan-European compound collection!

SELECTION OF EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE TRANSNATIONAL ACCESS USER PROJECTS COMPLETED

EU-OPENSCREEN is very excited to announce that the selection process of the recent open calls for transnational access has been completed. Outstanding academic as well as industry researchers from all over Europe have been attracted by EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE’s “Small Molecule Screening Call” and “Chemoproteomics Call 1”. Independent, external experts in the fields of small-molecule screening and chemoproteomics were asked to evaluate the quality of the proposals in terms of their scientific excellence, impact and innovation potential, project feasibility, excellence of principal investigator and research staff, and gender balance.

 

Small Molecule Screening Call

 
53 proposals from 17 different European countries were submitted to the Small Molecule Screening Call. The highest number of applications were received from Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. The proposals cover a broad range of research fields and were characterized by scientific excellence and significant scientific impact. The available funding allows EU-OPENSCREEN to support the implementation of 13 projects that have been submitted by researchers working in eight different European countries, strongly improving the transnational collaboration inside the European Union. The selected proposals will contribute to answer open questions in oncology, neurodegenerative diseases, inflammation, viral infection and biocalcification.
  User institutions
  • University of Oxford, UK
  • Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Santiago de Compostela, ES
  • University of Cologne, Institute for Genetics, DE
  • University of Oslo, NO
  • University Pompeu Fabra, ES
  • CIBIO, University of Trento, IT
  • University of Glasgow, UK
  • Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy, RO
  • Biozentrum University of Basel, CH
  • University of Oulo, FI
  • Institute for research in biomedicine Barcelona, ES


  Screening facilities
  • University of Santiago de Comostela, ES
  • Leibniz Research Institute for Molecular Pharmacology, DE
  • Principe Felipe Research Center, ES
  • Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Science, PL
  • Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, DE
  • Fraunhofer IME ScreeningPort, DE
  • University of Bergen, NO
  • University of Helsinki, FI
  • Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, CZ
  • Fundación Medina, ES
  • Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway, University of Oslo, NO
  • Institute of Molecular and Translational Medicine, Palacký University, CZ
Distribution of EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE screening facilities are shown in green, institution locations of the selected users projects are shown in red and EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE beneficiary countries are shown in orange.


Chemoproteomics Call 1

 
In total, eight projects were submitted to the first EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE Chemoproteomics Call 1 by applicants from Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. This call was aimed to support European researchers access to target-based and phenotype-based workflows, proteomics and related advanced mass spectrometry-based technologies. The research fields covered by the proposals were diverse and characterised by broad scientific interest from mitochondrial function to immune oncology, multiple sclerosis and Leishmaniasis. Three projects with the highest scientific potential have now been selected and will receive scientific support from our partner sites as well as from other advanced proteomic facilities in Europe. Look out for our second Chemoproteomics call 2 coming in Autumn 2020!
  User institutions
  • Technical University of Darmstadt, DE
  • German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), DE
  • University of Nottingham, UK
 
  Chemoproteomics facilities
  • SINTEF, NO
  • Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Science, PL
  • Leibniz Research Institute for Molecular Pharmacology, DE
  • University of Santiago de Compostela, ES
  • Technical University of Munich, DE
  • Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, DE
  • Hochschule Mannheim, University of Applied Sciences, DE
Distribution of EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE chemoproteomics facilities are shown in green, institution locations of the selected users projects are shown in red and EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE beneficiary countries are shown in orange.

FRAGMENT-BASED SCREENING: THE NEW EU-OPENSCREEN FRAGMENT LIBRARY

A library of fragments (MW < 300 Da) will soon be made available as part of the EU-OPENSCREEN small molecule collection, benefitting research into early stage drug discovery. Fragments are compounds with relatively low molecular weights and target affinities, which can bind important sites on proteins (e.g. catalytic or ligand domains) not accessible to screening compounds.
 
During the first “EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE fragment-based screening workshop”, which took place on June 13th 2019 at the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis in Riga, library design criteria were discussed and a workflow for monitoring the performance and the improvement of the library was desgined together with EU-OPENSCREEN and iNEXT / Instruct experts. After the selection of the fragments of interest deriving from the EU-OPENSCREEN compound library, EU-OPENSCREEN is now working on the acquisition process of the first EU-OPENSCREEN fragment library that will be available for structure-based fragment screening projects at EU-OPENSCREEN and iNEXT-DISCOVERY sites that expressed interest in receiving the library. Users will have access to the EU-OPENSCREEN fragment collection and will be able to screen the library at iNEXT-DISCOVERY sites using NMR and X-ray.
 
The recently funded Horizon-2020 project, iNEXT-DISCOVERY, enables European facilities to offer access to advanced technological instrumentation and expertise for the development of new drugs, advanced vaccines, novel biomaterials, engineered enzymes for food production, efficient biofuels, and other benefits. Scientists from Europe will be able to perform high-end structural biology research with state-of-the-art equipment that is often unavailable in their home countries. The fragment library is an exciting tool to foster the collaboration between EU-OPENSCREEN and the iNEXT and Instruct communities, which represents a new strategic cooperation across research disciplines.
Representatives from EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE and iNext communities discussing the fragment library design.

EU-OPENSCREEN SUPPORTS COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS OF ACADEMIA AND INDUSTRY

One important goal of EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE is to intensify the collaboration between academic research centers and industry partners by actively supporting industry engagement in EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE projects. Together with the EU-OPENSCREEN partners Mabel Loza and Pepo Brea from the University of Santiago de Compostela and Kjetil Tasken and Johannes Lanskron from the University of Oslo, the EU-OPENSCREEN Industry Liaison Office (ILO) has been established, representing a direct communication channel between academic research centres and industry representatives. Several co-development proposals are ready to be discussed during the first ILO workshop that will take place in Santiago de Compostela in April 2020.
 
The proposed collaborative projects will be aimed at establishing innovative methodologies that can become part of the routine workflow of pharmaceutical companies, or to support providers of reagents or instrumentation through the validation of their technologies by using the EU-OPENSCREEN compound collection at EU-OPENSCREEN partner sites.

KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE DURING THE FIRST EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE COMPOUND LOGISTICS COURSE

Participants from EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE partner institutions in Poland, Spain, Norway and Germany participated in the first EU-OPENSCREEN “Compound logistic course”, which took place on November 28-29th 2019 at the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the ASCR (IMG) in Prague. The training also raised the interest of external researchers from the Research Center for Natural Science in Budapest, who were attracted by the state-of-the art technologies available at IMG and the offered high-quality training. Experienced scientists from IMG as well as from our partner site FMP contributed with interesting lectures as well as hands-on training focused on compound management workflows, automated liquid handling workstations and storage systems, as well as compound quality control. As this course proved very popular, EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE will offer this training again in 2020, and in upcoming years.
Compound logistics course participants at the IMG in Prague, Czech Republic.

STAFF-EXCHANGES TO ACTIVELY INVOLVE NEW AND FUTURE EU-OPENSCREEN ERIC PARTNERS

To actively stimulate know-how transfer amongst EU-OPENSCREEN screening sites and European researchers, a short-term staff exchange program is organized by Šárka Šímová from the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the ASCR (IMG), Prague, with the support of EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE. Trainees from European researcher centers will have the possibility to visit one of the EU-OPENSCREEN facilities and learn more about a technology of interest. Participation of scientists coming from new as well as from future ERIC partner countries is strongly encouraged to allow a physical interaction with EU-OPENSCREEN and a better understanding of the potential of the EU-OPENSCREEN infrastructure.
 

Webinar:

Introduction to High-Throughput Screening


Web-based theoretical course for researchers and students considering HTS as part of their research
 
Have you ever heard about High-Throughput Screening (HTS)? What is it used for? Is there any connection between HTS and drug discovery? Are there any research institutions where you can get trained in HTS? You can find answers to these questions and a lot more information if you register to our webinar "Introduction to High Throughput Screening".
 
The webinar will be held by experts from several EU-OPENSCREEN screening partner sites: Dr. Francisca Vicente from FUNDACION MEDINA in Granada, Dr. Jose Manuel Brea from the University of Santiago de Compostela in Santiago de Compostela and Dr. Sheraz Gul from Frauhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME in Hamburg.
 
Webinar program:
  1. Target identification and definition (hit, lead, drug target), assay development 
  2. Compound collection (desired properties, compound libraries)
  3. Assay optimization, pilot screen and primary screen
  4. Hit selection and confirmation
  5. Data analysis (detection technologies and data normalization)

Date: Wednesday, April 2, 2020, 2-7 pm
Location: Webex Dial-In (will be provided after registration)
Registration: Šárka Šímová, simova@img.cas.cz (first come, first served)

This webinar is free to attend, but you need to register for a place beforehand. The webinar will be hosted on CISCO Webex.

Šárka Šímová (IMG, Prague, Czech Republic), Francisca Vicente (Fundación MEDINA, Granada, Spain), Sheraz Gul (IME, Hamburg, Germany) and Jose Manuel Brea (USC, Santiago de Compstela, Spain) will present the Introduction to High-Throughput Screening - Webinar.

Pre-conference workshop:

Defining workflows for screening approaches using repurposing libraries, from assay design to data analysis

 
Do not miss our satellite workshop on drug repurposing co-organised by Fraunhofer IME, EU-OPENSCREEN and Specs. The workshop will be held at our EU-OPENSCREEN partner Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany during the 3rd Helmholtz Drug Discovery Conference (HDDC) 2020. Our partners Philip Gribbon and Andrea Zaliani from Fraunhofer IME ScreeningPort will introduce you to workflows for assay design, compound screening and data analysis. More information on the program and the registration process can be found here.

Date: Wednesday, April 22, 2020, 2-7 pm
Location: Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany
Registration:
https://www.helmholtz-hzi.de/en/news-events/events/view/event/info/hddc-2020-3rd-helmholtz-drug-discovery-conference

Webinar:

Tool compound/Probe evaluation and selection

 
How to use these powerful tools for the exploration of bioactive compound space, how to select the right set of tool compounds and controls for HTS experimental design?
The detailed program will be announced.

Date: June 2020
Location: Webex Dial-In (will be provided after registration)
Registration: Šárka Šímová, simova@img.cas.cz (registration will be open in May 2020)

This webinar is free to attend, but you need to register for a place beforehand. The webinar will be hosted on CISCO Webex


Probe % Drugs Portal LogoThe "Probes & drugs portal" will be used as an example of the tool for compound/probe evaluation and selection.

UPCOMING COURSES

Hands-on courses:
  • Winter 2020: Assay development, Fraunhofer IME Screening Port, Hamburg, Germany.
  • Summer 2020: Fundacion MEDINA, Valencia, Spain.
  • November 2020: 2nd Compound logistic course, Institute of Molecular Genetics of the ASCR (IMG), Prague, Czech Republic
Webinars:
  • Summer 2020: Webinar Introduction to chemosensitive profiling
  • Autumn 2020: Webinar Open access principles
If you have any questions on upcoming courses, please contact the EU-OPENSCREEN-DRIVE team (drive@eu-openscreen.eu) or Šárka Šímová (simova@img.cas.cz).

General enquiries

Phone: +49 (0)30 9489 2422
Email:  drive(at)eu-openscreen.eu
Web:   www.eu-openscreen.eu


EU-OPENSCREEN ERIC
Robert-Rössle-Str. 10, Building C87
13125 Berlin, Germany
 

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