Chromatin and Epigenetics: Inheritance and Design


The “Chromatin and Epigenetics: Inheritance and Design” meeting took place on the Helmholtz Zentrum München campus in Neuherberg from April 1st – 3rd 2019. The international meeting saw a wealth of high profile, international scientists presented cutting edge research in the field of epigenetics and chromatin biology, with a ‘tweek’ on synthetic approaches to ‘design’ chromatin.  The keynote lecture was given by Professor Azim Surani, Gurdon Institute Cambridge, and Gairdner Award Laureat 2018.

This was the second meeting at Helmholtz Zentrum München in a biennial series organized by Institute Directors Maria Elena Torres-Padilla (IES) and Robert Schneider (IFE), together with Abcam. This year’s focus was on the latest developments in chromatin dynamics, designing epigenomes, epigenomics and single cell approaches as well as epigenetic phenomena. The meeting brought researchers from around the world to the Helmholtz Munich campus for a dynamic and interactive meeting and provided an invigorating platform for scientific exchange.

Conference organisers Maria Elena Torres-Padilla and Robert Schneider were delighted with the response to the meeting, with similar to the first meeting, registration filling up long before the deadline. “We are thrilled about the growing high interest in the field, attracting also leading experts from other disciplines” said Professor Torres-Padilla. “This meeting is one of the activities we are very excited about and a key element to strengthen epigenetics research at Helmholtz Zentrum München.” added Professor Schneider.

The keynote lecture was given by Professor Azim Surani, Gurdon Institute, Cambridge.  Professor Surani is most famous for his discovery of genomic imprinting, for which he was awarded the Gairdner International Award 2018. Genomic imprinting determines if in our body the copy of a gene inherited from the mother or the father is expressed. His highly anticipated lecture was entitled “From genomic imprinting to the human germline”.

During the meeting, Ph.D students and postdocs actively participated in presentations and discussions, bringing their findings to a global audience. Furthermore, a panel discussion on the topic “Ethics in research publishing” took place, with editors from the Cell Press, Nature press and EMBO, and one of the prominent researchers in the field, Bas vas Steensel, led to dynamic exchange on an increasingly important topic of today’s research world.
Senior editors from Molecular Cell, EMBO Press and Nature Molecular and Structural Biology were also onsite for the duration of the meeting. The conference dinner and party on Wednesday evening further promoted scientific and social interactions, establishing important networks within the global community.

Set to take place every two years, we are already looking forward to the next meeting of this series in this rapidly advancing field!