The first progress meeting with the European Commission appointed external panel will be on February 7, 2018
Our first results-driven scientific meeting was held in La Rochelle, France, on October 6 and 7. In addition to the research teams, we also had our two external advisors. It is important to have outside views on research and their substantial contributions were very much appreciated.
The UPEC group did a fantastic job in organising and structuring the meeting. There was plenty of formal time for discussion, as well as time for informal discussions around the breaks, meal times and evening. The meeting itself covered the entire range of topics that lie within the ArrestAD programme. Talks included a recap of our objectives and strategy, administrative matters, ethics, and communication plans. The latter have an important ethical angle, as institutional publicity offices often oversell research. In the case of biomedical research, and perhaps very particularly to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, over positive spinning of research results would likely be upsetting for patients and families. So this is something we will avoid. On the research front, substantial progress has been made on all fronts, from the patient side (patient recruitment, sample processing and so on) to the molecular and research tools. The good news is we are well up on our deliverables and hitting the milestones in each WP and as at our Kick Off meeting, we all learned a lot from each other.
The group as a whole, though we have not met often, gels very well. The extensive discussion time allowed forward research planning between teams, something that always takes time in multidisciplinary research.
The trip to La Rochelle also enabled a number of us, on the way in or the way out, to visit UPEC, where our Coordinator works. This was to ensure that we could plan in detail those parts of the research that will involve two labs working together on a particular task. In our case, this was to determine how we will extract the heparin-binding proteins using Liverpool protocols on French patient samples in UPEC. Happily, all is in order and we should move smoothly onto this phase of the work mid- to late 2018.
Our next meeting, which will be the PIs only, will be in Brussels in February 2018, when we present our progress to the external panel appointed by the European Commission. This will provide excellent feedback, as well as a chance for the team to discuss their progress.
The first science meeting of the ArrestAD programme will be in La Rochelle, France October 6-7.
We are all looking forward to catching up on developments from the first 9 months of the research programme.
ArrestAD started on January 1, and our Kick-Off meeting was on Jan 5, but there remained one important task to complete before the project was actually up and running: for all participants to sign the Consortium Agreement. This documents was signed by all partners, and provides a framework to manage the collective work of the participants. For many of us, we have one more hurdle – finding good postdoctoral researchers (see “job offer”). These are scientists who have complete a PhD, after which they will generally undertake 2-9 years postdoctoral research. This combines high calibre research with further training and development of their scientific skills, which allows entry into industry or public sector research organisations as a research leader.
The ArrestAD team had its kick off meeting in Paris on 5 January 2017. This was held on Paris, the base of our coordinator, Dulcé Papy-Garcia and was hosted by the APHP in the Espace Scipion. Team members from outside Paris stayed at the Hotel La Demeure situated nearby and though on the Boulevard St Marcel, nice and quiet.
The kick off meeting started with a presentation form our coordinator, which provided the backdrop for the day. Science presentations from the participants then followed. These provided an overview of the position of the field of the participant and then summarised research plans. In a multidisciplinary project, one cannot be fully up to speed with the other fields, so we all learned a lot. The more technical part of these presentations gave us an opportunity to discus the nuts and bolts of our research plans and how these fitted together. It is one thing to put this on paper in a proposal, it is another to deliver. These presentations were tremendously useful.
The second part, though briefer, concerned administrative matters, the plans for Communication with the associated website and communication tools (one outcome of which is this website), Data Management, and Dissemination and Exploitation. We finished with an agreed set of actions and a decision on whom to invite to join our advisory board.
So a most productive day in Paris, followed by a run to the airports at the leading edge of rush hour – happily everyone caught their plane home in good time.
Our next immediate steps: signing the Consortium Agreement and hiring researchers.