Despite the difficult circumstances in Greece, EMBL alumni managed to gather for their fifth annual meeting in the picturesque villages of Aspraggeloi and Dilofo on 25-26 June 2011.

Ten Greek alumni, two affiliated members and ten graduate students and post-docs from their research groups along with Christian Boulin from EMBL and Andreas Merdes from CNRS/ Université de Toulouse enjoyed a sunny weekend.

The talks on Saturday, 25th of June, included an update on EMBL news and a description of the Core Facilities  from Christian Boulin and a scientific talk on Centrosome protein assembly and dynamics by Andreas Merdes, who came all the way from France to join this meeting and re-bond with many of his ex-collaborators from the time he was doing his PhD at EMBL in Georgatos’ lab. Andreas was unanimously pronounced a honorary member of the Greek alumni chapter.

Several EMBL alumni,  Zoe Lygerou, Spyros Georgatos, Haralambia Boleti, Fay Christodoulou, Panos Kouklis, Greta Braliou and Stavros Taraviras,  discussed their latest research, future plans and  interesting research tools developed or used in their labs. Topics ranged from ancient microRNAs in animal evolution, nuclear envelope dynamics, stochastic models of protein movement within cells, coordination of proliferation/differentiation in stem/progenitor cells, differentiation down the endothelial lineage and Leishmania Tarantolae as an alternative protein expression tool to meta-analysis of genetic data in polycystic ovary syndrome and activities of a Biopolitics International Organization. Participants heard the latest in Greek science and  explored possibilities for collaboration.

On Sunday alumni visited Aristi village and walked along Voidomatis River.

The next local chapter meeting in Greece will take place in Dilofo in June 2011. As one of the goals is to inspire young scientists, it was agreed that more  graduate students and postdocs should  be encouraged to attend this meeting. In this context financial support for their travel and accommodation expenses should be actively sought from several sources. Alumni also thought that the participation of a Group Leader from EMBL in these meetings would be very inspiring for the young scientists. The possibility to fund the cost of travel for Greek scientists working abroad willing to join the meeting, present their work and discuss the possibilities of collaborations and/or hosting young scientists in their Institutes will also be explored.