20th Heart of Europe Bio-Crystallography Meeting

Milton T. Stubbs
[HEC20 group photo]

Any meeting that has reached its 20th anniversary must have found a winning formula, and Matthias Bochtler and Marcin Nowotny of the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw, Poland, applied this formula in exemplary fashion within the fairytale Wojanów Palace at the foot of the Karkonosze Mountains in southwestern Poland from 28 to 30 September 2017.

HEC20 was attended by structural biologists from 22 laboratories in central Europe (Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland), with PhD students and young postdocs presenting current topics of their research. The quality of their talks was high, making it hard for the HEC Prize Committee to reach its decision. After much deliberation, Ronja Janke (FU Berlin, Germany) was awarded a copy of the IUCr-sponsored State of the art of Macromolecular Crystallization for her presentation Insights into the catalytic mechanism of CotB2. The HEC lecture, presented each year by a prominent scientist outside the HEC community, was delivered by Tim Clausen (IMP Vienna, Austria). His talk The phospho-kiss of death: revealing a specific phospho-signal that serves as degradation tag was truly inspirational, demonstrating how structural studies can open up whole new areas of biology.

[HEC20 Prize]Ronja Janke (right) receives her prize for the best student lecture from Pavlína Řezáčová.

Interspersal of the talks with short company-sponsored presentations served to introduce new technologies to the participants, and the hearty Polish food and drink fostered a warm atmosphere for both formal and informal discussion. The afternoon visit to Karpacz provided something for everyone, with a tour of the Vang stave church for those culturally inclined, a walk up to the Pielgrzymy rocks for the sprightlier, and a hike to the top of the Śnieżka for the sprightliest.

Matthias, Marcin and Małgorzata (Gosia) Figiel are to be thanked for the excellent organisation of HEC20. HEC21 will take place between 20 and 22 September 2018 in the German medieval town of Quedlinburg in the Harz Mountains.

3 August 2018

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