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Report from our EACR correspondent at the 2nd DNA Replication as a Source of DNA Damage conference

The 2nd DNA Replication as a Source of DNA Damage: From Molecules to Human Health conference took place in Rome, Italy, from 03 - 06 July 2017.

EACR Member Joana Passos, a 2nd year PhD student at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway), won a free registration to attend the meeting as an EACR Correspondent. You can read Joana’s report on her participation below.

"I found the talks to be very high quality and it was exciting to be exposed to so many talks with significant amounts of unpublished data using the latest state-of-the-art technologies."

Interested in becoming our correspondent? Watch out for opportunities to win free conference registrations through announcements in the EACR e-news bulletin.

Report from Joana Passos, University of Ireland Galway

Scientists gathered in the Sheraton Hotel, 20 minutes from the beautiful Colosseum in Rome, to discuss DNA replication as a source of DNA damage. This conference focused on the mechanisms of DNA replication, DNA replication as a driver of tumorigenesis and aging, and the DNA damage response.

This conference included 53 talks and 99 poster presentations. It was a conference with less than 150 researchers, the majority of which were leading researchers in the field.  The opening session was hosted by Ian Hickson (Professor of Molecular Aging at the University of Copenhagen) and Oscar Fernandez-Capetillo (Group Leader in the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre and Professor in the Karolinska Institute).

As a second year PhD student, this conference allowed me to make contact with many internationally renowned scientists in the fields of DNA replication and the DNA damage response. I found the talks to be very high quality and it was exciting to be exposed to so many talks with significant amounts of unpublished data using the latest state-of-the-art technologies.

Some of the highlights of this conference were talks from Evi Soutoglou (from IGBMC - Institute of Genetics and of Molecular and Cellular Biology in Strasbourg), who highlighted significant differences in the recruitment of DNA repair factors in pericentric and centromeric heterochromatin, Jean-Sébastien Hoffmann (from INSERM - French National Institute of Health and Medical Research), who showed how replication stress influences the timing of DNA replication initiation of the next cell generation, and Matthias Dobbelstein (from Universitätsmedizin in Goettingen), who focused on p53 and Mdm2 as determinants of chromatin structure and DNA replication stress.

The maintenance of genomic integrity was also widely studied by Matthias Samwer (from Daniel Gerlich’s Lab in the Institute for Molecular Biotechnology in Vienna), who described a mechanism that counteracts micronucleation, Stephen Gregory (from the University of Adelaide, Australia), who explained how chromosomal instability causes metabolic disruptions, and André Nussenzweig (from the NIH - National Institutes of Health, in USA) who demonstrated how genome organization drives chromosomal breakage.

The small size of the conference, as well as coffee breaks, two poster sessions, lunches and dinners provided a friendly environment for networking. This was also my first time attending a conference organized by Fusion Conferences and I was extremely impressed with their organization skills, professionalism and overall high quality of the event.

Finally, I would like to thank EACR for giving me the fantastic opportunity to attend this conference, to learn more about the latest research in this field and share my current findings on H2AX regulation in breast cancer with other participants. With the knowledge obtained from this meeting, I feel that I was exposed to many different ideas that will contribute to my PhD project in the following years.

I would also like to thank my supervisors, Dr Helen Dodson and Prof. Peter Dockery for their support and also to the Irish Research Council for funding (2016 Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship).

01 Aug 2017

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