Milan, 16 June 2020 – The Italian Institute for Life Sciences Human Technopole virtually opened its doors today to representatives of the scientific community. Over 200 actors of the Italian life sciences field were invited to Open HT, including representatives of all Italian universities and Italian research hospitals (IRCCS) as well as the country’s main research centres and institutes. The first day hosted a keynote speech by Prof. Gaetano Manfredi, Minister of University and Research.
Open HT is an important moment to share updates on the current status of the Human Technopole project and an opportunity to engage with the national scientific community on the research areas that will be at the centre of HT’s focus in the upcoming years, as well as an opportunity to present the institute’s strategic plans. The overall event reflects Human Technopole’s mission and values and its aim of becoming a research hub to improve the quality of people’s lives.
Minister of University and Research Gaetano Manfredi underlined: "One of the challenges to which our country must respond, to be at the international forefront is to promote the integration of projects in a logic of open innovation. This means upgrading large infrastructures to allow our researchers free and competitive access, but also to encourage relations, sharing of knowledge and a constant collaboration between public and private sector. Human Technopole's example thanks to the use of cutting-edge technologies combined with the diffusion of a knowledge sharing culture, represents a perspective to be supported and promoted for the birth of new opportunities, to ensure that research can continue to give timely and high quality answers".
The President of the Human Technopole Foundation Marco Simoni underlined: “With today’s collective dialogue, Human Technopole marks another important step forward in its growth and development. We hoped to host these events in Palazzo Italia, unfortunately this has not been possible. It is at the heart of our mission as a life science hub to actively and openly engage with the science community. This is only the first in a series of meetings we will organise on a regular basis. As many other research institutes, over the past months we have contributed to the international and national efforts to battle COVID 19. The current health emergency has tragically shown us the importance of science and investments to research, technology and open platforms. A country’s scientific ecosystem is the most important antibody for any society, making us stronger and more able to react to unexpected crises”.
In presenting the institute’s strategic plans, Human Technopole Director Iain Mattaj commented: “Human Technopole’s mission is to promote and contribute to improving human health and well-being. Our activity will be guided by a number of key principles including: scientific excellence, interdisciplinarity, internationality and diversity. Our life science research efforts aim to be collaborative, sharing scientific results and activities to the maximum benefit of the national and international research community. Let’s never forget that science is a common good, accessible to all and trying to serve all”.
According to Human Technopole’s strategy, the Italian and international biomedical community will be able to access the technologies and equipment present within the institute’s research facilities: for example cryo-electron microscopy, next generaion sequencers and high performance computing. Opportunities to train the next generation of researchers and scientists will be at the heart of HT’s activities. The Scientific Visitor Programme, for example, will encourage mobility and the exchange of competences among scientists. Meanwhile, the innovation potential of Italian academic research will be enhanced through the promotion of scholarships such as the Early Career HT Fellowship Programme, promoted with the Ministry of University and Research, to support the research of young scientists at Italian institutes, ensuring a stable link between Human Technopole and the Italian research system. Initiatives such as the Entrepreneurship for Life Scientists Course organised in collaboration with expert partners, will be aimed at promoting an entrepreneurial mindset in the academic world in order to bring practical benefit to the results of research.
Director Iain Mattaj also presented the five research areas currently pursued by Human Technopole: genomics, neurogenomics, computational biology, structural biology and public health and healthcare systems. Two dedicated scientific roundtables take a more indepth look at the individual research areas, at the presence of scientists, members of the Italian scientific community and institutional representatives of the private sector.
These first events will be followed by other moments of regular engagement with the public health community and Italian industry.
Genomics and Computational Biology
Tuesday 16 June from 10.30 to 12.00
Piero Carninci, Advisor Research Centre for Genomics
Francesco Iorio, Group Leader Research Centre for Computational Biology
Florian Jug, Group Leader Research Centre for Computational Biology & Head of Image Analysis Facility
Moderated by Valeria Poli, President of the Italian Society of Biophysics and Molecular Biology and member of the governing board of the Italian Federation of Life Sciences.
Neurogenomics and Structural Biology
Wednesday 17 June from 10.30 to 12.00
Giuseppe Testa, Head Research Centre for Neurogenomics
Alessandro Vannini, Head Research Centre for Structural Biology
Gaia Pigino, Associate Head Research Centre for Structural Biology
Nereo Kalebic, Group Leader Research Centre for Neurogenomics
Moderated by Daniela Corda, Director of Biomedical Sciences department at Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche