Conference Reports: EuPA Annual Conference and MaxQuant Summer School


By Ulrich Eckhard, PDF in Overall Lab, CBR

Ulrich Eckhard, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Chris Overall lab at CBR, attended the EuPA (European Proteomics Association) Annual Congress held on June 23 – 26 in Milan, Italy, and the MaxQuant Summer School held on June 29 – July 3 at the Max Plank Institute for Biochemistry in Munich, Germany. Attendance of these meetings was partly funded by Travel Awards from the CBR.


Views of Milan

After accomplishing my PhD in structural biology at the University of Salzburg, Austria, I joined the lab of Chris Overall at the CBR. My current research focuses on (i) the in-depth specificity profiling of bacterial (e.g. clostridial collagenases) and human proteases (e.g. matrix metalloproteinases) using a proteomics technique called PICS, and (ii) the identification of “missing proteins” by TAILS N-terminomics as part of the Canadian Chromosome 6 Consortium within the global Human Proteome Project (HPP).

The latter gave me the great opportunity to join fellow proteomics-interested researchers at the EuPA conference in dazzling and vibrant Milan, including a workshop of the Chromosome-centric HPP at the Italian Pavilion of the World EXPO exhibit. The conference was a big success on both the scientific and the networking level. I was fortunate to secure a slot in one of the parallel sessions, where I could present our strategy on using TAILS N-terminomics to identify HPP “missing proteins” and our ongoing efforts to map the human heart N-terminome, fostering lively scientific discussions.

My next stop was the MaxQuant Summer School at the Max Plank Institute (MPI) for Biochemistry, in Munich, to deepen my understanding of one of the top-notch open-source software packages used to quantify proteomics data. Besides the several hands-on sessions on both MaxQuant and Perseus, the summer school included striking talks of pioneers and celebrities in the field, such as Matthias Mann (MPI of Biochemistry, Germany), Alexander Makarov (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Germany), Angus Lamond (University of Dundee, Scotland), and Kathryn Lilley (University of Cambridge, England).

After two weeks of outstanding science, the last 3½ days of my Europe trip brought me to my hometown of Salzburg, where I could not only catch up with friends and family, but also had the chance to present my protease-focused research at my alma mater, the University of Salzburg, with a talk titled “From structural biology to PICS and N-terminomics – when substrates and proteases tell TAILS”.

Thanks to the travel awards from the CBR and BCPN, and my research allowance from my MSFHR postdoctoral fellowship, I had 18 amazing and highly productive days in good old Europe, including three amazing cities, two conferences, one paper submission, and an occasional isotonic beverage.