Advanced Proteomics Seminar and Workshop builds regional capacity

The University of Pretoria (UP) hosted a Proteomics seminar and workshop, which they co-organised with the African Centre for Gene Technologies (ACGT) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Over 20 delegates attended the events; which represented the majority of the ACGT’s partner institutions.

Prof Ole Jensen visited South Africa during this period to give a plenary talk at the seminar, as well as to facilitate the subsequent two-day workshop. Prof Jensen is a Professor of protein mass spectrometry at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark (SDU), in Odense. His research focus includes chromatin biology and epigenetics, as well as “middle-down” proteomics approaches and mass spectrometry to study co-existing post-translational modifications and their cross-talk in proteins.

The seminar took place on the 11th of October 2017 at UP’s Plant Sciences Complex Auditorium.  Dr John Becker (ACGT Centre Manager) made opening remarks and highlighted the progression of the proteomics workshops since their inception in 2012 under the leadership of Prof Duncan Cromarty from UP. After being introduced by Dr Stoyan Stoychev (CSIR), Prof Jensen gave a plenary talk on “One protein – many outcomes: Elucidating histone proteoform dynamics during aging by using Mass Spectrometry”. He was followed by other speakers from UP (Dr Duncan Cromarty and Ms Kim Sheva) and CSIR (Mr Ireshyn Govender and Dr Ashok Prabhu). The day ended off with the delegates, who were to attend the workshop taking place a day after the seminar, giving short presentations about their research studies which involved proteomics.

The advanced proteomics workshop ran for two days (12 and 13 October 2017) at the ACGT Centre for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (CBCB) at the FABI Square building. Delegates for the workshop were carefully selected based on their motivation to attend this specialised training workshop. Prof Jensen facilitated the two-day workshop with the primary focus being post-translational modifications of proteins. The workshop was interactive which allowed the attendees to ask questions which were specifically related to their research. The workshop also included practical sessions as well as round-table discussions in which the attendees had an opportunity to ask more in-depth questions about their research. Prof Jensen, Prof Cromarty and Dr Stoychev facilitated the round-table discussions.

These events are part of the ACGT’s strategic plan to build and increase capacity in the field of proteomics. Some of the delegates have attended these training workshops since the “Introduction to proteomics” stages. With each year, the ACGT have (and will continue to) focus on modifying the training workshops to suit the community, as well to advance the expertise in proteomics so that our South African community can keep up with the rest of the global proteomics community. Researchers in the partnership are welcome to contact Mr Thabo Khoza, who is driving capacity-building initiatives in this field at ACGT, to discuss specific training and networking requirements and suggestions for future events ().

The ACGT would like to thank Prof Cromarty and Dr Stoychev for assisting in organising the forum as well as facilitating some sessions at the workshop.