STREAMLINE project activities at Cardiff University

PhD student Aleksandra Medić, a STREAMLINE team member, is currently on staff exchange at the Neuroscience and Mental Health Innovation Institute, University of Cardiff, Cardiff, UK. She is learning how to generate cortical organoids from induced pluripotent stem cells derived from patients with 22q11.2 microdeletion. In the next three months, she will also be trained how to analyze the samples from 60-days-old organoids. This will allow us to better understand the pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental disorders caused by 22q11.2 microdeletion.

Cryosectioning of 60 days old organoids on cryostat, device that maintains low temperature of -20°C and cuts frozen samples of organoids in 12µm thin sections. Sections are than mounted on glass slides and are prepared for immunofluorescent staining.

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UNISTEM DAY 2024 – POZIV NA UČEŠĆE

Dragi srednjoškolci,

Imamo veliku čast i zadovoljstvo da vas pozovemo na već tradicionalnu manifestaciju pod nazivom “UniStem Day” (“Dan matične ćelije”), koja će biti održana u PETAK 22. marta 2024. godine u Beogradu. 

Ovo je XVI edicija najveće međunarodne manifestacije posvećene popularizaciji matičnih ćelija koja se održava simultano na brojnim univerzitetskim centrima širom Evrope. Pokretač i koordinator manifestacije je UniStem centar za istraživanje matičnih ćelija Univerziteta u Milanu. Imajući u vidu značaj matičnih ćelija, pre svega u sferi regenerativne medicine, biologija matične ćelije je trenutno jedna od najaktuelnijih i najdinamičnijih oblasti istraživanja u svetu, koja sve više dobija na značaju i kod nas. Događaj ima za cilj da približi svet matičnih ćelija domaćoj javnosti i pruži priliku za upoznavanje sa revolucionarnim otkrićima koja pomeraju granice savremene medicine. Takođe, srednjoškolci dobijaju priliku da steknu nova saznanja o naučnoistraživačkom radu kod nas kroz direknu intereakciju sa istraživačima i posete laboratorijama.

U Beogradu će UniStem Day biti održan po peti put, pod okriljem Univerziteta u Beogradu u organizaciji Instituta za molekularnu genetiku i genetičko inženjerstvo (IMGGI) uz pomoć i podršku STREAMLINE projekta i BioSave fondacije

Manifestacija je namenjena prvenstveno starijim srednjoškolcima (učenicima III i IV razreda srednjih škola i gimnazija), učešće je besplatno i uključuje prepodnevne i poslepodnevne aktivnosti. Detaljan program manifestacije možete naći na linku:

Prepodnvni program u trajanju od 09:00 do 13:15  biće održan u Svečanoj sali Rektorata Univerziteta u Beogradu, Studentski trg 1, Beograd 

Poslepodnevni program u trajanju od 14:00 do 17:00 obuhvatiće posete laboratorijama na Institutu za molekularnu genetiku i genetičko inženjerstvo, Univerziteta u Beogradu, Vojvode Stepe 444a, Beograd i Institutu za medicinska istraživanja, Institut od nacionalnog značaja za Republiku Srbiju, Univerziteta u Beogradu Dr Subotića 4, Beograd

Postajete učesnik UniStem dana popunjavanjem on line prijave:

Maksimalan broj učesnika u prepodnevnom delu programa je 200, a u poslepodnevnom programu maksimalan broj učesnika je 50. Nedovoljan prostorni kapacitet je razlog zbog kojeg nećemo biti u mogućnosti da sve zaiteresovane učesnike uključimo u poslepodnevne aktivnosti. Dva dana uoči održavanja manifestacije biće održana lutrija koja će nam pomoći da od svih prijavljenih đaka, koji bi želeli da učestvuju u poslepodnevnom programu, izvučemo 50 učesnika. Imena učesnika u poslepodnevnim aktivnostima biće objavljena na https://streamlineproject.rs/ u sredu 20.03. 2024. godine. Za sve učesnike u poslepodnevnim aktivnostima biće organizovan prevoz od Studentskog trga do Instituta za molekularnu genetiku i genetičko inženjerstvo i i Institutaza medicinska istraživanja.

 

Rok za prijavljivanje na učešće u UniStem danu je 15. mart 2024. U slučaju da se ranije popuni maksimalni kapacitet učesnika, prijavljivanje će biti zatvoreno ranije.

Za sve dodatne informacije možete nas kontaktirati putem e-mail adrese:

streamline.imgge@gmail.com

ili putem neke od naših društvenih mreža:

Prijavite se, pridružite nam se! Otkrijmo zajedno fascinantan svet matičnih ćelija!

 

UniStem tim-Beograd,

Institut za molekularnu genetiku i genetičko inženjerstvo,

Univerzitet u Beogradu, Vojvode Stepe 444a, Beograd

Broj telefona:

Моb:   +381 65 397 62 12

Теl:     +381 11 397 62 12

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STREAMLINE Summer School “Identification of key genes and novel drug targets for neurodevelopmental disorders”

With great pleasure we want to announce Summer school “Identification of key genes and novel drug targets for neurodevelopmental disorders” as part of the STREAMLINE project. Summer school will be held on June 5-7, 2024, at the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH), Thessaloniki, Greece and will be co-organized by CERTH and Maastricht University.

Why STREAMLINE Summer school?

Summer school will offer a comprehensive guide to current state-of-the-art methodologies for identification of key genes and novel drug targets for neurodevelopmental disorders. By face-to-face lectures, workshops and hands-on training, this Summer school will guide you through the methods of GWAS and imaging genetics, epigenetics and methylation analysis, microRNA analysis, methods and algorithms for in silico screening, pathway modelling, drug-related databases, PRS calculation algorithms and cell-based assays for experimental validation of selected compounds. It will provide knowledge and understanding of current approaches and technologies to support future research and international collaborations.

Who should attend this Summer school? PhD students from the Western Balkan region with interests in computational analysis, drug screening and cell-based assays for drug screening.

Costs: travel (train/bus tickets), accommodation and subsistence costs will be covered by the STREAMLINE project.

Language: English

How to apply? Please apply via the Google form until February 21st, 2024, at 3 PM  at the link below:

Applications are now closed

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Selection procedure: To enable comfortable interactions between the instructors and attendees, the number of participants will be limited to a maximum of 20 attendees. The selection will be based on qualifications, current work, and a motivation letter regarding the ongoing or future research in the field of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Decisions on acceptance will be announced by email on March 1st, 2024.

If you have any additional question please do not hesitate to contact us via streamline.imgge@gmail.com.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Thessaloniki!

STREAMLINE team

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STREAMLINE PROJECT ACTIVITIES AT CERTH

Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) are a significant public health burden that cause cognitive and behavioral abnormalities that persist throughout life. NDDs affect approximately 18 million European citizens, nearly 4% of the population This is a challenge that needs to be addressed at multiple levels, including further research toward understanding of the cause, evaluation of treatments and improvement in recognition of mental disorders in patients with NDDs. The lengthy and expensive process of drug screening is hindered by low productivity and difficulties when employing animals, which prevents the development of novel medications. Filling knowledge gaps in drug development for treatment of NDDs requires the use of powerful new technologies. Development of cell-based high throughput screening platforms, which can offer more pertinent in vivo biological information than biochemical assays and thereby reduce the number of animal tests and speed up the drug discovery process, has been a focus of recent efforts to improve drug screening efficacy and minimize animal testing.

Jelena Pejić, a STREAMLINE team member, is currently on the staff exchange at the Centre for Research & Technology (CERTH) in Thessaloniki, Greece. Throughout her 2.5-month stay, she will acquire knowledge and expertise in high-throughput cell-based assays for in vitro drug testing. This will contribute to a better understanding of drug responsiveness and metabolic changes in neurons and astrocytes derived from pateint-specific iPSCs carrying 22q11.2 microdeletion.

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Short overview on CU trainings in January 2024.

Under the umbrella of the STREAMLINE project, our partners from Cardiff University, United Kingdom held virtual training “Importance and best practice for Data Integrity”. The training was dedicated to participants from Western Balkan region. Topics covered during this training were what is data integrity, why is it important and how to incorporate the data from various resources and how to build a database. We use the opportunity to thank Prof. Adrian Harwood and Dr. Janet Harwood for organizing and sharing their experience.

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A special award for Dr. Danijela Drakulić and Dr. Nataša Kovačević Grujičić

Since Yamanaka and Takahashi generated first human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from adult somatic cells in 2007, iPSCs have become a major tool in many areas of research, such as disease modeling, drug testing and development, and regenerative medicine. One of the most important advantages of iPSCs is that they maintain the genetic background of the host donor. iPSCs derived from patients with specific disorders, such as neurodevelopmental disorders, provide a unique in vitro model system for studying molecular mechanisms underlying their pathophysiology.

Our colleagues Dr. Danijela Drakulić and Dr. Nataša Kovačević Grujičić received a special award from IMGGE for introducing the methodology and the generation of first patient-specific iPSC cells in IMGGE and Serbia. We congratulate them on this award and hope that we will soon read a publication about their results related to iPSC cells derived from patients with 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome.

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Short overview on UM trainings

Thanks to the STREAMLINE project and our partners from the University of Maastricht (UM), participants from Western Balkan region had a great opportunity to participate in virtual training „Preparing and managing EC-funded projects/ project applications“. This training was organized in order to improve management and skills of both administrative staff and researchers. Like last year the training was divided into two Sessions – Session 1, hold on December 8th, 2023. and Session 2, hold on January 12th, 2024.

The first session was theoretical part of the training during which the participants had the opportunity to learn about funding alerts/tips and tricks as well as post-award management of EU grants. The second session was the practical part of the training. Through group practice, the participants presented how they would respond to different EU calls by implementing the knowledge they gained.

We would like to thank Prof David Linden, Marco Brandes, and Tom van den Crommenacker for the organization of these training and sharing valuable and practical information as well as tips and suggestions we received after the presentation of homework projects.

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STREAMLINE Bioinformatics Workshop “RNA-seq data analysis”

December 11. – 15. 2023.

Over four decades ago, Frederick Sanger and his colleagues developed a method to decode the genetic information stored in DNA. The first human chromosome to be sequenced was chromosome 22 in 1999, and the first human genome was mapped in 2001 as part of the Human Genome Project. Over the past two decades, technologies for DNA sequencing have progressed rapidly. Nowadays, next-generation sequencing technologies allow rapid sequencing of millions of DNA fragments simultaneously, providing information about the structure of genomes, gene expression profiles, genetic variations, and epigenetic modifications. These technologies enable the development of targeted therapies and precision medicine approaches and facilitate studies on genetic diseases, cancer genomics, and microbiome composition. Consequently, there is a growing demand for bioinformatics approaches to analyze the big data obtained by next-generation sequencing technologies.

Thanks to the STREAMLINE project and our partner from the Maastricht University, over 50 participants from the Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering, University of Belgrade (IMGGE) had great opportunity to learn about new bioinformatics tools for RNA-seq data analysis. On December 11 to 15, 2023, Maastricht University and IMGGE organized online STREAMLINE Bioinformatics Workshop “RNA-seq data analysis” that included interesting topics and hands-on training. The lecturers were Dr. Friederike Ehrhart, Dr. Florian Caiment, Dr. Marcha Verheijen, Dr. Tooba Abbassi-Daloii, Dr. Martina Summer-Kutmon, and Dr. Susan Steinbusch-Coort (Maastricht University), and instructors for hands-on training were Dr. Friederike Ehrhart and Aishwarya Iyer from the Maastricht University, and Dr. Danijela Drakulic, Dr. Natasa Kovacevic Grujicic, and Stefan Lazic from the IMGGE. Academician Milena Stevanovic, STREAMLINE project PI, gave a warm welcome to participants, introducing them to the importance of the STREAMLINE project, and Prof. David Linden gave an overview of the workshop at the end of the training.

Topics covered during this workshop were: how to obtain raw counts from FASTQ files, how to obtain a list of differentially expressed genes from raw counts, and which tools to use for functional analysis and visualization of the results (WGCNA, WikiPathways, Pathvisio, and Cytoscape).

Thanks to all for joining us in the first kind of this workshop in Serbia.

Successfully completed STREAMLINE „RNA-seq data analysis“

On Wednesday, January 24th, we awarded the certificates to the participants of the STREAMLINE Bioinformatics Workshop „RNA-seq data analysis“ held from December 11 – 15 2023. We also announced STREAMLINE Bioinformatics Summer School that will be held in Thessaloniki in June 2024.
Once again, we want to thank everyone who participated in the workshop.

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Overview of the staff exchanges at Maastricht University

Welcome back Dr. Danijela Drakulić, Dr. Nataša Kovačević Grujičić and Stefan Lazić! After almost two and a half months, members of the STREAMLINE team returned to Belgrade from their staff exchange at the Maastricht University, Netherlands. Their staff exchanges were dedicated to mastering the RNA-sequencing and bioinformatics data analysis and digitalized repository formation. They learned how to adequately isolate RNA for RNA-seq, perform library preparation and sequencing and how to check the quality of samples for RNA-seq. Staff exchange dedicated to bioinformatics data analysis covered the following topics: how to obtain „raw counts“ from FASTQ files and identify differentially expressed genes, how to perform gene set enrichment/overexpression analysis, Weighted gene coexpression analysis, data visualisation in pathways, and how to create pathway models with PathVisio, and network analysis using Cytoscape. They came back full of impressions and ready to implement acquired knowledge in our institute.

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Short overview on CERTH trainings held in November 2023

Within STREAMLINE project researchers from Western Balkan region attended the trainings that were organized by our partners from Centre for Research & Technology Hellas (CERTH), Greece.
First training, “Proposal preparation for EU calls”, was devoted to the overall structure of the EU programme followed by descriptions of project proposal preparation, call documents, evaluation criteria, and then project management. Second CERTH training held in November, “Managing a research project”, gave insight and guidelines concerning management of EU-funded research projects and monitoring of its progress. The last training organized by our partners from Greese, “Improving soft/professional skills of ESRs” has been devoted to early stage researchers (ESRs) in helping them writing good quality research papers, with presentation of research at conferences, CV preparation. We would like to thank Dr. Spyros Petrakis, Ms Athina Karachaliou and Mr. Dimitrios Kaboukos for the organization of these events and sharing valuable and practical information with participants.