CONSENSE meets in Israel

After five months since the last meeting, the CONSENSE network met up again at The Weizmann Institute of Science (WI) in Israel. Unfortunately, due to travel restrictions the conference took place in a hybrid form so all members of CONSENSE could participate.

The program commenced with a lecture from Professor Fleishman regarding reliable computational optimization of enzymes and binders. Professor Johnsson then presented the use of semi-synthetic protein sensors and lastly, Professor Gothelf shared his expertise in assays for the quantification of small molecules.

As all members of CONSENSE come from a wide variety of backgrounds, these lectures open up great opportunities for expanding our knowledge in relevant methods and technologies as well open up chances for collaboration and discussions with other members of the network.


As with the first meeting, ESRs then presented an update on their research projects. This was followed by questions, discussions and helpful suggestions from the other members of the network.  One major aim of CONSENSE is to train early-stage students and mold them into a new generation of professional researchers, specializing in the field of biosensing.

To fulfil this aim, a number of workshops took place during this meeting in Israel, not only to develop scientific skills but also transferrable skills. Firstly, Professor Merkx discussed how to effectively publish research papers into journals; a valuable talk specially aimed at the ESRs who may not have yet published work of their own. Next, Miss Strehler and Miss Ciscato (accelCH) carried out a workshop on science communication and how to successfully target a particular audience. Lastly, Marc Scherer (ESR at WI) organized a workshop which provided an introduction on AlphaFold2, PROSS and FuncLib webservers for use in protein optimization. Although not all students are working with protein optimization, it was an eye-opening workshop and gave insight into the type of work Marc carries out on a daily basis. To complete the scientific program of this conference, the ESRs were given a tour of the laboratory facilities at WI.

For the next few days during the social program, ESRs explored Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv. We enjoyed seeing the difference in culture, architecture and landscapes, and enjoyed the hot weather before returning to Europe. This conference was a fantastic scientific and cultural experience!

Thank you, Marc, for organizing this unforgettable trip. Until next time!

Authors: Emily Tsang and Claudia Scarpellini