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SNAL Report Summary

Project ID: 608184
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: Spain

Periodic Report Summary 1 - SNAL (Smart Nano-objects for Alteration of Lipid-bilayers)


The EU-funded 7th Framework Programme (FP7) Initial Training Network (ITN) SNAL has the main objective to train a new cohort of researchers with systemic thinking equipped with generic skills in combining experimental studies and computer simulations to prepare them for fruitful careers in academia and industry. One challenge for the project is the design and synthesis of novel biomaterials able to modify membrane properties.
During the first year of the project all fellows were recruited, 12 ESRs and 2 ERs, with different nationalities, multidisciplinary backgrounds and gender balance.
The network training was planned in such a way that the fellows receive intensive local and network training during the first year. While the number of mutual visits and secondments will be increased with the progress of the project. The recruited MSCA fellows are receiving rigorous training in lipid research, taking advantage of multidisciplinary environment: physico-chemical aspects, biotechnology, chemistry, biology and industrial perspectives. Numerous training courses organized within the first year are open for external researchers. This allows for larger involvement of researchers. Central event of the network was the summer school in July 2015.


All 12 ESRs were recruited in the first year of the project on time according to schedule, i.e. within 1-2 months of expected dates. ERs were recruited ahead of time such that all fellows started almost simultaneously. This allows to synchronise the training program and balance the team of ESRs. The Supervisory Board composed of 9 full partners and 2 associated partners has followed the recruitment procedure in accordance with the The European Charter for Researchers: The Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. The recruitment was done centralized through the web form on the website of SNAL Open positions were largely advertised on university and public recruitment web sites as well as the official EURAXESS job portal. In total the network received 1000 applications from everywhere in the world and the selection process included examination of CV, motivation letters, recommendation letters, eligibility of the candidates. This procedure was then followed by Skype interviews and onsite interviews. The supervisory board voted for each candidate taking into account eligibility of candidates and merits.
As a result of the selection process, 12 ESRs and 2 ERs were recruited: 7 women and 7 men, i.e. 50% of women. MSCA fellows come from different backgrounds: physics, chemistry, biology, chemical engineering, computer science and medicine; and different nationalities: France, Switzerland, China, India, Italy, Poland, US, Portugal, Bulgaria, Slovenia.


All network events are summarized at the web site:
1-3 June 2014: Kick-off meeting was followed by 3rd Workshop on biomaterials and their interactions with biological and model membranes 2014, held in Salou, Spain (Tarragona) This was a general workshop open for external people which assembled 45 participants from different countries. 6 November 2014: SNAL Open day in URV (Tarragona) ESRs have presented the network to students and researchers of URV and their participation was filmed by PR department of URV as outreach activity.
8 April 2015: SNAL open day in Manchester University (Manchester). Meeting and discussion between ESRs and students of Manchester University.
9-11 April 2015: 2D Materials and Interfaces: Lectures on Physics of Graphene, Lipids and Proteins (Manchester). Training course comprised of lectures from different fields and it was open to researchers outside the network. Total number of attending people is about 40.
23 July 2015: Workshop in Roccalumera (Messina): Soft Interaction in Bio-Nanostructures. Open to external attendees. Total number of attendees is 40.
24 July - 2 August 2015: ITN SNAL Summer School on biomaterials, cell membranes and lipid bilayers 2015 (Messina). 10 days training event of the network open to external attendees. Lectures and practical sessions with about 60 attendees from everywhere in the world.
22-24 September 2015: Training event Fundamentals and Applications of Lipid Membrane Biophysics (London). 2 days training for MSCA fellows and open to external researchers outside the network. Total number of attending people was about 40.
19-21 October 2015: 4th Workshop on biomaterials and their interactions with biological and model membranes 2015 (Salou, Spain). 3 days international workshop. Total number of attending people was about 50.
30 November-3 December 2015: Principles of Imaging for Membrane systems (Strasbourg). Total number of attending people was about 20.
3-5 December 2015: Course on toxicology and molecular biology techniques (Frankfurt). 2 days training course for MSCA fellows. Total number of attending people was about 15.
13-15 April 2016: Compact Courses on General Polymer Theory and Simulation, Dresden, Germany. 3 days cours on theory of polymers including complementary skills. Total number of attending people was 10.


(1) Guo, Y.; Baulin, V.; Thalmann, F. Peroxidised Phospholipid Bilayers: Insight from Coarse-Grained Molecular Dynamics Simulations. Soft Matter 2015. doi: 10.1039/C5SM01350J
(2) Pham, V. T. H.; Truong, V. K.; Quinn, M. D. J.; Notley, S. M.; Guo, Y.; Baulin, V. A.; Al Kobaisi, M.; Crawford, R. J.; Ivanova, E. P. Graphene Induces Formation of Pores That Kill Spherical and Rod-Shaped Bacteria. ACS Nano 2015, doi: 10.1021/acsnano.5b03368
(3) Bhadra C.M., Vi Khanh T., Vy T. H. P., Al Kobaisi M., Seniutinas G.,Wang J. Y., Juodkazis S., Crawford R.J, Ivanova E. P., Antibacterial titanium nano-patterned arrays inspired by dragonfly wings. Scientific Reports 5, 16817, 2015, doi: 10.1038/srep16817
(4) Wang, S.; Liu, X.; Villar-Garcia, I. J.; Chen, R. Amino Acid Based Hydrogels with Dual Responsiveness for Oral Drug Delivery. Macromolecular Bioscience 2016.

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Life Sciences
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