Jochen Schwenk (Chair of the HUPO Plasma Proteome Project), KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
The 9th workshop on Affinity Proteomics took place in Alpbach, Austria from March 11th -13th 2019 (https://affinityproteomicsalpbach.com). What started from consortia meetings from the EU projects ProteomeBinders, Affinity Proteome and Affinomics brought together more than 140 attendees to the snowy mountains in a village where the famous Austrian scientist Erwin Schrödinger found his final rest.
The exciting agenda that Mike Taussig and his team assembled kicked off with a series of talks on applying affinity reagents to build a protein and cell atlas. These included multiplexed imaging approaches to expand the current insights into cellular structures of tissues. Following previous trends, a focus was also set on how to validate antibodies for the diverse set of downstream applications and how to liaise with other tools in proteomics. Continuing the traditions, a series of presentations covered the field of alternative binding reagents. This year’s talks provided updated insights into the advances made for generating binding molecules for research and therapeutic applications. These included the classical antibody formats and those developed from binding molecules found in other species such as camels or sharks. Besides protein-based reagents such as full-length IgG, single-chain variants such as nanobodies or ankyrin repeat proteins, talks covered the capabilities of those generated from DNA-based aptamers. A new theme included the strategies to develop binders that display bi-specific properties towards two proteins. Several presentations were given for applying affinity reagents in advanced and multiplexed analytical applications to profile human proteomes towards precise assessments of health and diseases. This theme was expanded by protein and peptide microarray systems in serology and as tools for selectivity assessment of binders.
Started during the previous event, the meeting included presentations and a panel discussion from antibody providers. They focused on the continuing task of context and application specific antibody validation and transparency of the validation information. As nowadays required by a growing number of journals, topics dealt further with the trackability of affinity reagents through standardized identifiers.
The workshop also brought some of the community’s most successful entrepreneurs to the stage. They shared their stories on building a business from generating and applying affinity tools. Another highly appreciated new feature were the flash and short talks by emerging scientists from the community as well as the lively interactions with the posters shown from nearly a third of all attendees.
The next Workshop on Affinity Proteomics is planned to be held again in Alpbach during March 2021.