GENEGUT Convenes for 5th General Assembly

Last week, the GENEGUT consortium gathered for the project’s 5th in-person General Assembly meeting. This time, the meeting was hosted by GENEGUT partner i3S, at the Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde da Universidade do Porto, in Porto, PT. The two-day meeting, held on the 6th and 7th of June 2024, provided an excellent platform for the consortium to discuss the significant progress made in the first 20 months of the GENEGUT project and to prepare for the upcoming steps towards the development of an RNA-based therapy for Crohn’s Disease.

Over 30 attendees from all 9 GENEGUT partners participated in this General Assembly meeting. The meeting provided a great opportunity for fruitful scientific discussions and updates across all work packages (WP). The WP leads and early-career researchers presented their progress, interaction with other WPs, challenges, and next steps.

The meeting commenced with a warm welcome from Dr. Bruno Sarmento (i3S) and Prof. Caitriona O’Driscoll (UCC), introducing all participants to the meeting and venue. Following the welcome speeches, a group brainstorming session was held to set the tone for the General Assembly. This warm-up activity allowed all participants to share their wishes and expectations for the meeting, fostering a collaborative and open environment.

The first day of the meeting was dedicated to updates on all work packages. WP1: Synthesis, formulation, and characterisation of therapeutic RNA-based nanoparticles. WP2: Cellular specificity and mechanism, with a focus on organoid development and ADME factors. WP3: Formulation development for regional specificity. WP4: Proof of efficacy under diseased conditions. WP5: Early health technology assessment and regulatory preparedness. WP6: Communication, dissemination, and exploitation. The significant progress and results of the last 20 months of the project was reflected in lively discussions and feedback from all participants.

A social activity and networking dinner organised by i3S brought day one of the meeting to a nice close, providing opportunity to connect, unwind, and enjoy great company!

Looking beyond GENEGUT

The second day featured a guest lecture by Dr. Salomé Pinho, i3S Immunology, Cancer & GlycoMedicine Group leader and coordinator of the EU-funded project GlycanTrigger, who provided valuable insights into her research under the title “Glycans as Master Triggers of Health to Intenstinal Inflammation Transition”. We would like to thank Dr. Salom Pinho for joining us and enriching the project meeting with current findings from the area of IBD research!

The guest lecture was followed by two focus sessions, aimed at preparing the consortium for looking beyond GENEGUT. A project landscape discussion facilitated interesting insights in potential collaborations to further expand the work conducted in GENEGUT, and a lecture on requirements for entry into Phase-1 provided by Dr. Jens Ceulemans (Janssen) contained important information on future steps of advancing the GENEGUT solution to a readily available therapy. Closing the meeting, the GENEGUT early career researchers updated the consortium on their actvities in the Early Career Researchers (ECR) Club.

Thank you to our partners at i3S for organising this successful General Assembly meeting, and all GENEGUT members for sharing their work. 

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