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<interact> 2011

For the first time, the <interact> 2011 symposium took place at the main building of the Technische Universität München on 7 April 2011. The keynote lectures and student talk were held in the Audimax. The poster sessions as well as coffee breaks and presentations and stands of our partners took place in the foyer directly in front of it. 

As during the previous <interact> meetings, there were many opportunities to discuss science and interact.



<speakers> 2011


John Nicholls (FRS, DSc, PhD, MBBS) is Professor of Neurobiology and Cognitive Neuroscience at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste. He has worked at University College London, Oxford, Harvard, Yale and Stanford Universities and the Biocenter in Basel. With Stephen Kuffler, he made experiments on neuroglial cells and wrote the first edition of "From Neuron to Brain", now in its fourth edition. He has given laboratory and lecture courses in neurobiology at Woods Hole and Cold Spring Harbor, and, (on behalf of IBRO), in many universities in South and Central America, Asia and Africa. His work concerns synaptic transmission and regeneration of the nervous system after injury, which he studied first in an invertebrate, the leech, and then in immature mammalian spinal cord. Since 2004 he has made experiments to analyze neural mechanisms that give rise to the rhythm of respiration.


The International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) was founded in 1961

IBRO is an international organization dedicated to the promotion of neuroscience and communication between brain researchers around the world with special emphasis on assisting young investigators in the developing world. Over the years, IBRO has set up a number of programs to stimulate international contacts in brain research.


Lab homepage: [click here]



Curriculum vitae

Andrei Lupas was born on September 6, 1963 in Bucharest (Romania). Studies in Biology at the Technical University Munich (1982-1985) and inMolecular Biology at Princeton University (1985-1990); PhD with Jeff Stock on the mechanism of signal transduction in bacterial chemotaxis (1991). Postdoctoral fellow with Andreas Plückthun at the Gene Center of the University, Munich (1992-1993), working on antibody engineering. Research assistant with Wolfgang Baumeister at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry, Martinsried (1993-1997), working on the development and application of sequence analysis tools, and on the structure and function of the proteasome. Senior Computational Biologist, later Assistant Director of Bioinformatics, at SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, Collegeville, USA (1997-2001), working on the development of antibiotics. Since 2001, director of the department of protein evolution at the Max-Planck-Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen.


At the origin of life: How did folded proteins evolve?


Proteins are essential building blocks of living cells; indeed, life can be viewed as resulting substantially from the chemical activity of proteins. Because of their importance, it is hardly surprising that ancestors for most proteins observed today were already present at the time of the 'last common ancestor', a primordial organism from which all life on Earth is descended. Yet folded proteins are too complex to have arisen de novo. How then did they evolve? We are pursuing the hypothesis that folded proteins evolved by fusion and recombination from an ancestral set of peptides, which emerged in the context of RNA-dependent replication and catalysis (the "RNA world"). Systematic studies should allow a description of this ancient peptide set in the same way in which ancient vocabularies have been reconstructed from the comparative study of modern languages.



Dr. Lupas developed the first useful algorithm for predicting coiled coils in protein sequences.

Lupas, A., M. Van Dyke, and J. Stock, "Predicting Coiled Coils from Protein Sequences." Science, 1991. 252: p. 1162-1164.


Lab Homepage: [click here]



<awards> 2011

We congratulate the winners of the speakers and Poster prizes of the 2011 Munich <interact> PhD symposium.


Best Speakers:

First prize

Sebastian Bultmann

"Targeted transcriptional activation of the pluripotency gene oct4 by designer TALEs"

Olympus camera E-PL2



Best Posters:

First prize

Natalia Sarmiento

"Investigating the folding and stability of the Surrogate Light Chain", P43

Olympus camera XZ-1

Second prize (shared)

Catherine Sorbara

"In vivo imaging of axonal transport reveals early transport block in animal model of multiple sclerosis", P47

EYCN award


Second prize (shared)

Holger Hartmann

"P-value based motif identification using positional weight matrices", P17

EYCN award



<booklet> 2011

Booklet 2011
Adobe Acrobat Document 4.2 MB