Bologna, Italy
ABCD 2015 header



Tomas Kirchhausen
Pier Paolo Di Fiore
Ruggero Pardi

ABCD 2015 Pre-Congress Meeting

"The making of a cell" and "The making of a scientist"

Bologna • 16-17 September 2015

The pre-congress meeting will be held at the same location as the ABCD 2015 Congress, Savoia Hotel Regency.



The pre-congress meeting is reserved for post-docs and Ph.D. students who are under 35 years at the date of the congress. Attendance will be limited to 60 participants.

Participation in the pre-congress meeting is reserved to post-docs and Ph.D. students who will attend and submit an abstract to the ABCD 2015 National Congress.

In case of oversubscription, acceptance will be decided by the organisers based on the quality of the presented abstracts.

Among the participants of the pre-congress meeting, twelve will be selected for oral presentations during the pre-congress meeting. All participants (including those selected for oral presentations) are still expected to present their posters at the ABCD 2015 National Congress.

There is no registration fee for the pre-congress meeting and for the pre-congress meeting dinner.

All post-docs and Ph.D. students accepted to the pre-congress meeting will receive a travel fellowship of 150 EUR to help defray from their lodging and traveling costs.

Scientific & Social Program

Wednesday, 16 September


Arrival and Registration
(pre-congress meeting participants will register also for the congress)


Pier Giuseppe Pelicci (Milan, Italy)

The making of a cell - Genetics vs epigenetics [60 + 30 min]


Giovanni de Nola (Pavia, Italy)

Miniaturizing HGF/SF: a novel Met agonist with important applications in regenerative medicine


Maria Chiara De Santis (Turin, Italy)

PI3KC2α, a new spindle associated protein involved in genomic instability and tumorigenesis


Coffee break


Sheila Spada (Rome, Italy)

hMENA alternatively expressed isoforms as checkpoint of β1 integrin signaling pathway


Cecilia Battistelli (Rome, Italy)

A lncRNA-mediated interaction between Snail and Ezh2 governs epigenetic modifications causal to EMT of the hepatocyte


Giulio Fulgoni (Madrid, Spain)

Interplay between rab8 and caveolin-1 in membrane trafficking and mechanosensing


Victor Alfred (Milan, Italy)

Genetic analyses of interactors of endosomal sorting and tissue growth in Drosophila


Alessandro Luciani (Zurich, Switzerland)

Disruption of lysosomal dynamics and function entails monoclonal Light-Chain renal Fanconi syndrome


Dine with the Scientists


Participants will enjoy dinner (in small groups of 7-8 people) with one of the following outstanding scientists who kindly accepted to participate in the activities of the pre-congress meeting:

  • Tomas Kirchhausen
  • Stephen C. Harrison
  • Elaine Fuchs
  • Michele Pagano
  • Elisabetta Dejana
  • Stefano Bertuzzi
  • Pier Giuseppe Pelicci
  • Stefan Lohmer

Enjoy your opportunity to discuss career paths, how to chose an advisor, how to write an effective paper, pharma vs academic career and any other topic of your interest, by picking the brain of people who made it!


Round Table

The making of a scientist: what does it take?


  • Tomas Kirchhausen (Moderator)
  • Stefano Bertuzzi
  • Stefan Lohmer
  • Eelco Van Anken
  • Lisa Vozza

Thursday, 17 September


Tomas Kirchhausen (Boston, MA, USA)

The making of a cell - From molecular machineries to organelles [90 + 30 min]


Coffee break


Advait Subramanian (Naples, Italy)

Export of cargo from the Endoplasmic Reticulum is regulated by a homeostatic control system


Valentina Prando (Padua, Italy)

Role of the mitochondrial protein Opa1 in the regulation of the function and survival of cardiac sympathetic neurons (cSN)


Claudia Contadini (Rome, Italy)

p53 centrosomal localization and function: different p53 behavior in human and mouse cells


Alessandro Vitriolo (Milan, Italy)

Looking for structure/function correlations between mutations of chromatin modifiers and neurodevelopmental disorders


Alessandra Rossi (Milan, Italy)

Function and mechanism of action of the polycomb repressive complex 1 in the homeostasis of adult intestinal stem cells



Round Table discussants

Stefano Bertuzzi
Executive Director, American Society for Cell Biology

Science is one of the most exciting fields to enter for a career. However, we have always defined a career in science as an academic one. While the thrill of discoveries is almost an "incurable disease" in all of us, being a scientist is more than just being skilled at running experiments, publishing, or doing all that we normally do in our labs. Being a scientist is a phenomenal training bench for learning the value of asking the right questions, for solving very complex problems, and in general for developing an analytical mind. All these skills are perfectly suited, actually in many cases in high demand, for many careers for scientists to look at. I will bring my own experience as an academic, a science policy leader and business person.

Dr. Bertuzzi is the Executive Director of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), the largest cell biology society in the world, and one of the most prestigious scientific organizations; the Society is a highly influential advocacy group in Washington, DC advocating for support of scientific research. ASCB also provides its members training and opportunities for effectively accelerating their careers. In his position, Dr. Bertuzzi is responsible for all strategic and organizational decisions of the Society. ASCB counts around 9,000 members, including 31 Nobel Prize Laureates, 36 Lasker Award recipients, and eight recently awarded prestigious Breakthrough Prizes. Before joining ASCB, Bertuzzi was a scientific executive at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) where he was the Director of the Office of Science Policy, Planning, and Communications. In this capacity, Dr. Bertuzzi was responsible for planning and implementing a comprehensive agenda for national mental health research. Previously, Dr. Bertuzzi was responsible for return on investment analyses in the Office of Science Policy, Office of the NIH Director, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in the US government. In this position, Dr. Bertuzzi advised the NIH Director on a wide range of health science policy matters and was co-Director of the White House Initiative STAR METRICS to capture the impact of Federally-funded research. Dr. Bertuzzi has contributed to reforms of biomedical research systems in foreign countries. Dr. Bertuzzi has been the NIH lead in the bilateral working group with the European Commission (EC) to achieve a funding reciprocity policy between the EC and the NIH. Dr. Bertuzzi has widely contributed to the NIH revision of the peer review system and to the development of a public access policy to NIH funded publications. He is the recipient of several NIH Director’s awards, and other national and international awards. Dr. Bertuzzi is a regular speaker at national and international events. Dr. Bertuzzi received a Master’s degree in Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biotechnology at the Catholic University of Milan (Piacenza campus), in Italy. After a postdoctoral training in the Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology at the Salk Institute in San Diego, CA., he became a tenured Associate Professor at the Dulbecco Telethon Institute in Milan, Italy. He has authored numerous research publications in neurobiology and science policy, published in top scientific journals. His research activities led to the discovery of a novel family of homeobox genes involved in the regulation of neuronal axon guidance in the visual system. He lives in Chevy Chase, MD in the outskirts of Washington, DC with his wife, and Economist, Elena; his nine-year old son, Davide, and his four-year old daughter, Celeste.

Stefan Lohmer
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Axxam

Stefan is a co-founder, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer. Prior to founding Axxam, he was head of the assay development unit at the Bayer Research Centre in Milan and the Head of Genomics worldwide for Bayer AG. He was responsible for generating and managing Bayer's external genomic alliances with Millennium and Lion Bioscience. Stefan Lohmer joined Bayer in 1992. He holds a degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the University of Cologne and completed his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding in Cologne. He is author of more than 15 peer reviewed publications and present on more than 20 patent applications.

The discovery of new things which no one have seen before is one of the most exciting and rewarding experience a human being can make. But you need always an environment of people with an outstanding personality who guide you in order to become an excellent scientist. I was lucky to get my scientific educations as a molecular biologist at leading Institutes in Germany with outstanding scientific leaders which were also founders of very famous biotech companies and “infected” me very early to apply my knowledge in drug discovery which for me is still one of the most exciting and regarding places to be. I will share with you my experience of being since more than 15 years an entrepreneur in the biotech field.

Eelco Van Anken
San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy

Having been trained in the Netherlands and the US, I am a Group Leader at the Division of Genetics & Cell Biology at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan since 2010. In my lab we focus on how cells sense and respond to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress with an emphasis on live cell imaging of the Unfolded Protein Response. Several innovative imaging techniques are currently explored to unravel the molecular detail of the signaling processes and of intracellular accumulation of secretory proteins when ER stress responses go awry.

To start as an independent researcher is an exciting but challenging step. It starts with securing funding and finding an inspiring research environment. Equally important is to attract talented team members, to consolidate a promising research line and to develop an effective mentoring style. I will contribute to the discussion by highlighting what it is like to be a de novo principal investigator and how I experience doing just that as a foreigner in Italy.

Lisa Vozza
Chief scientific officer at the Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC)

AIRC is the leading biomedical funding agency in the country. As Chief scientific officer, Lisa does her best to ensure that the money donated to the charity by common people, seeking a solution to the cancer plague, is spent in the most responsible manner on the most promising projects only. This implies: issuing calls for proposals with clear rules; asking international experts without conflicts of interest to evaluate the projects; having competent peer review- and grant management offices to run the process. With these simple guiding principles, AIRC has granted continuous, reliable funding to many deserving cancer scientists in Italy in the last fifty years, fostering the birth, the growth and the renewal of a community of about 5000 researchers. In 2014 AIRC distributed more than 85 million Euros to cancer research projects.

As a science writer, Lisa has written: «Nella mente degli altri» (In the mind of others, Zanichelli, 2007) with Giacomo Rizzolatti; «I vaccini dell’era globale» (Vaccines in the global era, Zanichelli, 2009, Galileo literay prize 2010) with Rino Rappuoli; «Come nascono le medicine» (How medicines are borne, Zanichelli, 2014) with Maurizio D’Incalci. Besides writing books, she is the editor of a series of popular science books, Chiavi di lettura, and the author of over 170 articles on her blog, Biologia e dintorni. She is often invited to present her books in schools, bookshops and other venues, and to teach science writing as a complementary skills for scientists.


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