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8th Workshop of Healthy Ageing Research Centre (HARC) "Nucleic Acids in Medicine: perspectives for new diagnostic and therapeutic tools"
March 22, 2016

The Workshop on Nucleic Acids in Medicine: perspectives for new diagnostic and therapeutic tools, chaired by Prof. Lucyna Wozniak from the Medical University of Lodz and Prof. Zbigniew Lesnikowski from Institute of Medical Biology ofPolish Academy of Sciences in Lodz, was held on March 10-11, 2016 at the Medical University of Lodz and was primarily aimed to build a synergistic relationship between chemists, molecular biologists and medical doctors in the field of synthesis of modified nucleic acids and their application in biological and medical sciences. This important event was funded by the EU under Framework 7 and convened researchers from Europe to present and discuss the latest progress made in the area of chemistry and applications of nucleic acids.

Prof. Wojciech Markiewicz, a recognized authority in nucleic acid chemistry who heads Department of Chemical Biology of the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Poznan, presented the opening keynote speech Some recent advances in chemical synthesis of nucleic acids and their components”. Subsequent speakers of the first panel were Prof. Zbigniew Lesnikowski (topic: Modification with boron clusters – New forays into therapeutic nucleic acids design), Prof. Agnieszka Olejniczak (topic: Boron clusters as redox labels for electrochemical detection of DNA-probes) from Institute of Medical Biology, Polish Academy of Sciences in Lodz, and Prof. Francois Morvan (topic: DNA tools to select anti-bacterial glycoclusters) from Institut des Biomolecules Max Mousseron in Montpellier (France).

During the second panel the three lectures were provided: by Prof. Barbara Nawrot (topic: tRNA damage in oxidative stress: desulfuration of wobble 2-thiouridines) from Centre of Molecular and Macromolecular Studies of Polish Academy of Sciences in Lodz, by Prof. Maria Koziolkiewicz (topic: Proangiogenic activity of nucleoside 5'-O-phosphorothioate analogues under hyperglycaemic conditions) from Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Sciences of Lodz University of Technology, and by Prof. Boleslaw Karwowski (topic: From Energy transfer to DNA damage) from Faculty of Pharmacy of the Medical University of Lodz.

After lunch break the first lecture of the third panel began at 02.00 pm and was delivered by Prof. Andrzej Bednarek from Faculty of Biomedical Sciences and Postgraduate Training of the Medical University of Lodz (topic: Aberrant Notch pathway signaling in cancer). Subsequent lectures gave Prof. Manuel Santos (topic: Understanding tolerance to protein mistranslation and aggregation ) and  Ana Soares, PhD (topic: Identification of conserved tRNA derived fragments in zebrafish reveals their potential as gene expression modulators and disease biomarkers) – both from Institute of Biomedicine – iBiMED of University of Aveiro (Portugal), dr Peter Szlosarek (topic: In vitro and in vivo metabolomic analysis of arginine deprivation therapy in malignant pleural mesothelioma) and dr Essam A. Ghazaly (topic: Novel nucleotide analogues that overcome the key cancer drug resistance limiting patient survival) - both from Centre for Haemato-Oncology of Barts Cancer Institute in London (United Kingdom).

The third session came to an end at 04.15 pm and it was followed by open discussion for 15 minutes.

The second day of the Workshop started at 9.45 am with the lecture on the topic “180° Turn - hompurine ([All-RP-PS]-DNA oligomers form stable parallel complexes with Hoogsteen paired nucleic acids” provided by Prof. Piotr Guga, followed by the lecture on  “Thermodynamic properties of complexes formed by stereodefined PS-oligos containing LNA units with complementary DNA templates” delivered by Katarzyna Jastrzębska, PhD student – both speakers work at Centre of Molecular and Macromolecular Studies of Polish Academy of Sciences in Lodz. The fourth panel ended with the lecture entitled “Comprehensive protection via thermolabile groups for bioconjugates synthesis” gave byJolanta Brzezinska, PhD from Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of Polish Academy of Sciences in Poznan.

The last panel included the four lectures provided by: prof.  Arkadiusz Chworos (topic:RNA nano-objects as        programmable therapeutics), by Dominika Jędrzejczyk, PhD student (topic: RNA trimer as a gene regulating nano-particle in a model GFP system), by Prof. Marcus Duechler (topic: Exosome-transported miRNAs may contribute to cancer immunosuppression) – all attendees from Centre of Molecular and Macromolecular Studies of Polish Academy of Sciences in Lodz and by Prof. Eliza Wyszko (topic: Anti-aging properties of N4-furfurylcytosine) from Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of Polish Academy of Sciences in Poznan.

In summary of the meeting, there was arranged a discussion panel moderated by prof. Lucyna Wozniak and prof. Zbigniew Lesnikowski during which prof. Markiewicz, prof. Nawrot, prof. Santos, prof. Bednarek, and prof. Morvan made their comments on major directions of the research of interest, perspective, limitations and major challenges including diagnostic and medical applications. It was mentioned by prof. Wojciech Markiewicz and prof. Manuel Santos and other participants that such interdisciplinary workshops are very creative and can reduce communication barriers between chemists, biologists and medicinal doctors and lead to new collaborations. There was a proposal to regularly continue this workshop.

The concluding part of the Workshop started at 01.15 pm with Prof. Lucyna Wozniak, the main co-organizer of this event, who thanked all the invited speakers for presenting highly stimulating lectures. She also underlined the fact that a unique feature of the 8th HARC Workshop was oral and poster presentations by PhD students who get feel of research atmosphere and develop their communication and presentation skills.  

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