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RNA in disease

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - RiboMed (RNA in disease)

Reporting period: 2020-12-01 to 2023-02-28

The Instituto de Medicina Molecular João Lobo Antunes (iMM) ranks among the top research institutions in Portugal. However, the institute faces a number of constraints related to reduced availability of national research funding and access to cutting-edge resources and scientific infrastructure. RiboMed was set on the strategic vision of iMM to boost its community of RNA researchers, placing the institute in Lisbon within the core of European laboratories that are producing frontier research on how RNA shapes the complexity of human disease.
RiboMed strengthened existing interactions and promoted the creation of new collaborations between iMM groups and researchers at the University of Oxford, MDC Berlin and the Weizmann Institute, mainly through short-term staff exchanges, on-site training and expert visits. Advances generated by these collaborations were published in seven scientific articles and two pre-prints. RiboMed further contributed to nurture a community of self-challenging and ambitious students and early-stage researchers at iMM through ensuring external expert mentoring and facilitating attendance of international conferences. Two Summer Schools were organized at iMM, mingling early-stage researchers from the four RiboMed partner institutions. Additionally, RiboMed raised the international visibility of iMM through a seminar series program, on-site workshops and an international conference on RNA and disease. Finally, RiboMed consolidated the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem at iMM through translation of basic findings into potential novel RNA biomarkers, RNA-based diagnostic assays and RNA therapeutic targets.
Networking promoted by RiboMed partners resulted in four new projects approved for funding at iMM. Moreover, RiboMed contributed to increase institutional awareness for the RNA field. Indeed, iMM Group Leaders that were not initially involved with RiboMed have made important discoveries related to RNA, and the Board of Directors approved the recruitment of a new Group Leader who will work at iMM on RNA binding proteins.
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