The CECAM node in Tel Aviv was hosting a workshop in the field of multiscale modelling of light-sensitive proteins from the 3rd to the 5th of September. The event was jointly organized by Maria-Andrea Mroginski and Igor Schapiro. In total 42 participants have attended this meeting.
Centre Européen de Calcul Atomique et Moléculaire (CECAM) is an organization dedicated to the promotion of fundamental research on advanced computational methods and to their application to important problems. The aim for this specific workshop was to bring together experts in multiscale modelling of photoreceptor proteins who will help to identify grand challenges in the field as well as discuss the development of new tools to address them. In particular, two different research areas were addressed: 1) spectral tuning, which describes how the absorption properties of a chromophore is regulated by the protein environment and 2) characterization of photochemical reactions such as photoisomerization, excited state proton transfer etc. The unifying theme was to gather experts on simulation and tool development applied to photoreceptor proteins.
The program was organized in sessions that were dedicated to different families of photoreceptor proteins: Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP), Photoactive Yellow Protein (PYP), Flavin binding proteins, Retinal proteins and Phytochromes. The latter two are at the core of the SFB 1078. In addition, development of novel methods for treating photoreceptor protein was addressed in a separate session. Overall, 24 oral presentations were given by internationally renowned invited speakers and 13 posters were presented. On the last day, an active and stimulated discussion was held about the pitfalls and major challenges in the field of computational modelling of photoreceptor systems. Eventually, the participants agreed to summarize the outcome of the discussion and publish jointly a perspective article in the journal Photochemistry and Photobiology. The pleasant atmosphere experienced by all participants throughout the sessions and the constructive discussion resulting from them, underline this meeting as successful of this particular community. For this reason, the common agreement is to organize the meeting again, in the near future.
The scientific program was complemented by a guided tour of the Old City in Jerusalem that took place on the last day of the workshop. The participants could experience the ancient history of this monumental city. Finally, a festival dinner was held next to the wall of the old city in the traditional restaurant Eucalyptus where the guests have enjoyed the middle eastern cuisine.
To conclude, the enthusiastic feedback from the participants is evident for the success of the scientific workshop and the cultural experience.