Scientific training: This training comprised both lectures and practical sessions. It focused on the range of substrate specificities required to maximise sugar utilization from plant cell walls and how the repertoire of non-catalytic CBMs increases substrate access. It explained how structural biology can be used to obtain a detailed mechanistic understanding of substrate specificity and access, and how this information can be harnessed by bioinformatic approaches to identify novel highly efficient biocatalysts (topic of WP2 & WP3). The fellows received theoretical and practical training in how to clone, express and purify glycoside hydrolases and how to carry out enzyme assays to screen for activity and to determine kinetic parameters for complex substrates.
Complementary skills training: Eurice and Newcastle University presented relevant issues for "Grant proposal writing". The course comprised an overview on different EU funding opportunities, special funding opportunities for ESRs/ERs (e.g. Marie Curie Programmes) and information sources for upcoming calls. More specifically, it gave an overview of how to write a successful proposal, how to find relevant project partners, budget calculation and resource allocation between project partners.
EC funding opportunities: What schemes are available and how to position yourself to get funded?
Marie-Curie Fellowship grants: How to write a successful grant and what is the process?
IPR in EU projects and Horizon 2020
Finding relevant project partners, and resource allocation between project partners
Case study 1: The Marie-Curie Fellowship experience
Case study 2: Progression from Marie-Curie Fellowships to become a tenured scientist
Day 2 & 3
General features of CAZYmes and CBMs; Methods to explore CAZYme function; Methods to study protein: carbohydrate recognition
Structural Biology: protein crystallization and 3D structure determination
They talk about the event
WallTraC fifth training event was hosted by the Newcastle University in the United Kingdom. It provided the basis to clone and characterize recombinant proteins, as well as to write successful grant proposals. Merve, PhD student at INRA, and Jean-Luc, post-doc researcher at Bayer, gave us their impression at the end of the event:
“I am pleased to have attended the intensive scientific trainings provided by Prof Carlos Fontes and Prof Harry Gilbert at Newcastle University Medical School. Despite my main interest on carbohydrate research, looking at protein, methods used for cloning, expression and purification was a good freshen up. In addition to the structure of these plant cell wall degrading enzymes and the specificities of the CBMs, we discussed about the advantages and discrepancies of the methods used in the field. Protein crystallization to determine 3D structure was an exiting topic for me, although it has some limitations in use.” Merve.
"We 've just had a very nice overview on EU Grant Writing and career development thanks to experts like Deirdre Dodd, Martin Embley that both work regularly in contact to and within the EU grant system. It was very interesting to understand how it works practically and what are the most important points to take in account when applying for a grant. They also gave us the broad picture of all the available funds for us within the next European program that is Horizon 2020. It was also very nice to have some testimonials from people that already went through this EU grant process like Claire Dumon or Tom Williams. They explained the difficulties but most important the advantages of looking for such grants on your career. This whole EU grant writing and career development training was a very good experience and I'm glad that I had the opportunity to attend it." Jean-Luc