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Life sciences have recently increasingly turned their attention to the space between cells and revealed an elaborate network of macromolecules essential for structural support, cell migration, adhesion and signaling. Upon interactions in the extracellular space, these macromolecules affect the extracellular matrix (ECM) dynamics and via cell receptors communicate with the cellular compartment. Emerging areas of research in the ECM field include epigenetic regulation of matrix macromolecules, microRNAs, stem cell biology, as well as the development of novel molecular modeling methodologies. Knowledge of these aspects will deepen our understanding of ECM regulatory roles in pathophysiology and inform the design of new pharmacological agents targeting serious diseases including, among others, cancer, angiogenesis, fibrosis, immunity and infectious diseases.

Issues related to matrix-mediated cell signaling and regulation, as well as the structure/function/dynamics of the matrix macromolecular effectors, namely proteoglycans and glycans, integrins, novel collagen types, matrikines, growth factors and matrix metalloproteinases and other matrix degrading enzymes that affect the cell behavior, will be the target of this ALC. Furthermore, epigenetic control of gene expression in extracellular matrix proteins is an important emerging aspect of disease onset. These topics are of great importance to understand the maintenance of normal tissue homeostasis and disease initiation and development, signaling elicited by interactions of cell surface receptors with matrix components and growth factors, as well as to establish rapid and sensitive structure analysis and cell imaging methods.

The “Extracellular Matrix: Cell Regulation, Epigenetics and Modeling”, will cover topics related to ongoing development in the fields of:

  1. Cell surface, interactions and signaling
  2. Matrix-remodeling enzymes
  3. Matrix organization and assembly 
  4. Epigenetics
  5. Novel insights in molecular modeling of ECM components

The above fields will focus also on bioinformatics, glycomics, matrix-mediated epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), and domain mapping of interactions with matrix effectors and their importance for disease treatment and diagnosis. Key areas of cancer stem cell biology and biomarkers, and pharmacological targeting in malignancies are also included.

Following the 2015 and 2017 very successful set-up of FEBS-MPST series (http://www.febs-mpst2017.upatras.gr/), a young scientists’ committee will organize general lectures/tutorials in the first days of the meeting as well as pubquiz during the entire course providing in this way the necessary brainstorming for those entering the field of Extracellular Matrix Pathobiology. A career development session to promote the motivation of students including general presentations/tutorials will be also organized by the young scientists’ committee.

FEBS has twin commitments to high-quality publications and the promotion of molecular biosciences. As a charitable academic organization,
FEBS uses income from the journals to fund its diverse activities, including support for FEBS Advanced Courses.