Two years after the kick-off meeting of INITIATE, it was finally possible to hold a face-to-face meeting in Rome. This meeting consisted of presentations by ESRs on progress of individual projects, inspiring lectures, workshops, networking and definitely delicious Italian food. The fantastic presentations from our ESRs and revival of personal communications were the key outcomes of the meeting.

First day of the meeting: face-to-face Supervisory Board Meeting

The meeting started on Sunday, 29th of May with face-to-face Supervisory Board Meeting. The organizational questions such as current status of the project implementation, next reports and organization of the next meetings have been discussed. The updates from Scientific Committee, Training Committee and Outreach Committee showed significant progress in the project implementation.

Monday the 30th of May

On Monday the 30th of May the network meeting started with presentations by nine of the ESRs. During the day this first group of ESRs had an opportunity to present their own work, to answer questions from PIs and their peers. Along the day, during coffee-breaks and lunch the ESRs had face-to-face meetings with their supervisors from the consortium. The first day finished with two training seminars “Immune Modulation Strategies by RNA Virus” by Prof. Ana Sesma-Fernandez from Mt Sinai, New York, USA and “Inhibition of nuclear import & export pathways by SARS-CoV-2” by Prof. Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, from Mt. Sinai, New York, USA, and member of the External Advisory Board. The day was finished with a networking dinner in the ancient trattoria Angelino just a stone’s throw from the Roman “Forum” and the Colosseum.

Presentations on Tuesday the 31st of May

On Tuesday the 31st of May the meeting continued with presentations from five ESRs. These ESRs had a similar opportunity to present their achievements and to obtain feedback from PIs and the peers. Similar to the first day the presentations were alternated with face-to-face supervisory team meetings. In the afternoon different seminars were given. The first was conducted by Prof. Alessandro Marcello from ICGEB, Trieste, Italy and focused on international cooperation in the field of genetic engineering and biotechnology. The second seminar was “Travels and Explorations with Nrf2 and Viruses” provided by Prof. David Olagnier from Aarhus University, Denmark.

Finalizing the Know projects

The last day of the network meeting was dedicated to finalizing the Know projects by ESRs. This workshop was moderated by Linda van de Burgwal from the project partner Sovalacc. The last session of the day and of the meeting itself focused on T cell Memory seminars and presentation by the ESR’s on the background of specific techniques
Overall, the ESRs, PIs, members of SB and guest speakers were happy to meet in person after two-year break. Everybody mentioned that this face-to-face meeting gave a positive impulse for the final year of the project implementation.

Zsofia Keszei