MBI 2018 - NUI Galway


The 5th Annual MBI meeting was hosted by NUI Galway at the Hotel Meyrick from 21st-22nd November 2018. Co-chaired by Dr Manus Biggs and Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis from NUIG and the Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM), the meeting sought to consolidate national and international scientific interest and expertise around extracellular matrix research in all its forms, under the theme of "Matrix Pathophysiologies and Reparative Therapies".

The local organising chairs welcomed the national and international delegates as they opened the meeting. Dr Thomas Iskratsch (King’s College London, UK) delivered the first invited lecture concerning cardiomyocyte rigidity sensing with nanopillars and nano-pattern. Thereafter, the first session maintained focus on the role of natural and biomimetic scaffolds in tissue & matrix regeneration, with podium presentations on piezoelectric composites, elastin-based hydrogels, and cell-substrate interactions in stem cell applications.

Following a lively discussion at the meeting’s first poster session, the afternoon session switched to a focus on matrix imaging and in vitro culturing methodologies. Dr Peter Owens of the Centre for Microscopy and Imaging at NUIG showcased the technology available on Ireland’s west coast for advanced extracellular matrix imaging beyond confocal microscopy, followed by an in-depth analysis of collagen matrix organisation and quantification in periodontal soft tissues by Dr Yves Bayon (Medtronic, Trévoux, France). A detailed but fascinating series of talks on spectral polarimetric examination of micro-structural anisotropy in biological tissue and macromolecular crowding techniques to maintain stem phenotype through matrix deposition subsequently closed out the session, before the day ended with a welcome wine reception at the Oyster Bar in the Hotel Meyrick.

The second day of the meeting kicked off with an energetic and insightful invited presentation from Prof George Bou-Gharios (University of Liverpool, UK) that outlined how the targeted inhibition of aggrecanases has potential for preventing cartilage degradation in osteoarthritis, elegantly revealed using the STR/ort mouse model. Prof Jo Adams from the University of Bristol followed up with her own invited talk on the direct roles of thrombospondin-1 in fibrillar collagen organisation and homeostasis, before two bioengineering-themed presentations from the REMODEL group and Prof Pandit’s group in CÚRAM discussed matrix-rich scaffolds for chondrogenesis and glycoprofiling of degenerated intervertebral disc tissue, respectively.

The second session continued in the same vein of tissue engineering, with invited talks from Dr Ruggiero, Head of Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle de Lyon (France), regarding developmental neuromuscular collagens in zebrafish models, and Dr Cian O’Leary (RCSI, Ireland) on utilising engineered extracellular matrix analogues for the development of novel in vitro drug development models. In the final two talks before lunch, fascinating presentations on carbohydrate-functionalised collagen hydrogels for neural cell delivery and the application of polysaccharides to prevent biofilm formation on implanted medical devices provided a translational perspective on matrix biology research.

The final two sessions in the afternoon displayed a real flavour for the depth and variety of matrix biology research happening nationwide in Ireland. Dr Damien Thompson of the Bernal Institute (University of Limerick, Ireland) spoke first on rational bioengineering at the nanoscale for advanced protein immobilization and gene delivery strategies. Thereafter, Dr Mark Aherne presented on the influence of material stiffness on corneal cell behaviour. Finally, the remainder of the sessions highlighted research into other bioengineered scaffolds, nanoparticles, exosome and miRNA activity in the neuroblastoma microenvironment, platelet-rich plasma, and a shear stress mechanically induced neuroinflammation model from Alex Trotier, student representative on the MBI Council and researcher in the Biggs Lab, NUIG, before a closing address from Dr Manus Biggs as conference chair.

As the fifth successful meeting, the MBI Executive Committee are delighted to keep the society moving from strength to strength, with a new spring meeting on the horizon in2019, jointly held with the British Society for Matrix Biology at the University of Liverpool. Additionally, the sixth annual MBI meeting will take place in Dublin at the end of 2019. For further information, please visit the society webpages (www.mbi.ie), follow the Society on Twitter (@MBIreland) and for membership enquiries, please contact the MBI secretary at secretary@mbi.ie.

Meeting Chairs

Manus Biggs

Dimitrios Zeugolis

National University of Ireland, Galway

National University of Ireland, Galway

Scientific Advisory Committee

Garry Duffy

David Hoey

Caitríona Lally

Cian O'Leary

Fabio Quondamatteo

National University of Ireland, Galway

Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin

Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

University of Glasgow

Local Organising Committee

Marc Fernadez

Adriona Kelly

Augusto Loffredo

Alex Trotier

James Britton

National University of Ireland, Galway

National University of Ireland, Galway

National University of Ireland, Galway

National University of Ireland, Galway

National University of Ireland, Galway