24th Heart of Europe Bio-Crystallography meeting
The 24th Heart of Europe Bio-Crystallography meeting (HEC24) took place in September 2022 on the shores of the beautiful Lake Lipno in the South Bohemian village of Dolni Vltavice, Czech Republic. Organized in collaboration with the Czech and Slovak Crystallographic Association by Ivana Kutá Smatanová and her team from the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, HEC24 received financial support from seven companies, the European Crystallographic Association (ECA) (which awarded twelve bursaries for young scientists), as well as IUCr Journals who provided two copies of State of the Art of Macromolecular Crystallization as prizes for student presentations.
This first post-COVID-19 meeting was attended by 109 structural biologists from 22 research groups in central Europe (Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland), and opened with the introduction of new HEC group Przemek Grudnik (Jagiellonian University, Krakow). Over the next three days, 26 PhD students and four young postdocs presented current topics of their research. The quality of the talks was excellent, making it hard for the HEC Prize committee to reach its decision. After much deliberation, Elżbieta Wątor (Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland) was awarded the prize for her presentation “Half way to hypusine. Molecular basis of (deoxy)hypusination”. Ten flash talks, introduced for the first time at HEC23, were also presented, and Jakub Hrubý (CTU Prague, Czech Republic) was awarded for his presentation “Effects of the Zn2+ to Cd2+ Exchange on the Structure and Activity of S1 Nuclease”. The HEC lecture, presented each year by a prominent scientist outside the HEC community, was delivered by Kay Diederichs (University of Konstanz). His talk “A better understanding of X-ray data quality indicators” was truly inspirational, reminding participants young and old (!) of the importance of statistics.
Interspersal of the programme with short company-sponsored presentations served to introduce new technologies to the participants, and the hearty Bohemian food and drink fostered a warm atmosphere for both formal and informal discussion. The afternoon boat ride provided time for relaxed discussions over a Czech beer or two, and the last-night disco was thoroughly appreciated.
Ivana and her team are to be thanked for the excellent organisation of HEC24, which ended with an (almost) impromptu live sing-along of the HEC song that was penned for HEC23 during lockdown. The next Heart of Europe Bio-Crystallography meeting (HEC25), organized by Michael Lammers of the University of Greifswald, will also be lakeside, taking place on the shores of Lake Kummerow in Salem, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Germany), from 21 to 23 September 2023.
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