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From 19 to 23 May 2024, the picturesque town of Jozefow, Poland, hosted an exceptional scientific gathering: the EMBO workshop on Molecular Biology of Mitochondrial Gene Maintenance and Expression. This workshop, meticulously organised by MITGEST fellow Principal Investigators (PIs) Roman Szczęsny from the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Polish Academy of Science and Joanna Rorbach from Karolinska Institute, offered a rare and invaluable opportunity for some of our MITGEST doctoral candidates (DCs) to engage with the foremost field experts and immerse themselves in cutting-edge research.

The workshop featured four main sessions focusing on crucial aspects of mitochondrial biology: the maintenance and engineering of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), mitochondrial RNA and transcription, mitochondrial translation, and the role of mitochondrial gene expression in cellular homeostasis. Each of these sessions delved into the latest discoveries and technological advancements, demonstrating how mitochondrial function is vital for cellular health and overall organismal well-being.

With 22 speakers and over 70 posters presented, the workshop was a vibrant forum for knowledge exchange and networking. The discussion covered groundbreaking topics such as the maintenance and engineering of mtDNA, emphasizing replication and repair mechanisms crucial for preventing mitochondrial diseases and presenting innovative therapeutic techniques for correcting mtDNA mutations. Insights into mitochondrial RNA and transcription were also shared, focusing on regulatory mechanisms essential for accurate gene transcription. Advancements in understanding mitochondrial translation were highlighted, particularly the structure and function of the ribosome to meet cellular energy demands. Finally, the broader implications of mitochondrial gene expression on cellular homeostasis were explored, underscoring the link between dysregulation and metabolic disorders and the importance of maintaining mitochondrial function for overall cellular health.

By bringing together leading researchers and emerging scientists, the EMBO Workshop encouraged an environment of collaboration and innovation. MITGEST DCs hence had the unique chance to discuss their research with leading scientists, and by this gaining invaluable feedback, and forging connections that could shape their future careers.

Moreover, the workshop wasn’t all work and no play. Participants also had the opportunity to visit the beautiful city of Warsaw, experiencing the rich cultural and historical heritage of Poland’s capital. This excursion provided a welcome break from the intense scientific discussions and allowed participants to bond in a more informal setting, further strengthening the sense of community among attendees.

The workshop culminated in an exceptional gala dinner in an elegant venue that perfectly captured the charm of Polish hospitality. The evening featured live music, creating a festive atmosphere where attendees could enjoy traditional Polish cuisine. This memorable dinner provided a perfect conclusion to the workshop, leaving participants with lasting memories of both the scientific advancements and the warm, communal spirit of the event.

As we reflect on the success of this workshop, it is clear that such events are crucial for advancing scientific knowledge and fostering the next generation of researchers. The participation of our DCs and PIs in this prestigious workshop highlighted their dedication and expertise and underscored the importance of collaborative efforts in tackling complex biological questions.
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The news item was written by

MITGEST DC9 Francesca Tavolaro

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