Programme

ENCAPP 2016, the European Networks Conference on Algal and Plant Photosynthesis, is the final open event organized by two Marie Curie Initial training networks: AccliPhot and PHOTO.COMM. Participants of the conference will have a unique chance to interact within the diverse group of scientists and contribute to the research on algae and plant photosynthesis.

The conference aims to create a platform for knowledge exchange and contains the following sessions:

Photosynthetic electron flow
This session will present the recent advancements in the field of photosynthesis, photosynthetic linear and cyclic electron flow, regulation of photosynthesis, dissipation of excessive energy and effects of changing environmental conditions. It will expand on state of the art methods and techniques used in photosynthesis research. Approaches to direct electrons from photosynthesis towards enhanced production of high value compounds will also be reviewed. The session will also discuss the generation and neutralization of reactive oxygen species (ROS), associated with photosynthesis.

CO2 & carbon metabolism
This session intends to encourage scientific discussion on the structure and function of primary carbon metabolism with an aim to increase the photosynthetic productivity in plants and algae. Relative importance of individual enzymes in the Calvin cycle, their regulation and contribution for photosynthetic efficiency will be highlighted. Discovery of potential alternate and efficient carbon fixation pathways to produce high value compounds, transgenic manipulation of carbon metabolism to identify the factors that affect the photosynthesis and yield, will be among other topics of discussion.

Light acclimation
Plants and algae must optimally perform under varying environmental conditions, among which light changes are critical for optimum photosynthesis. During this session we will integrate a broad range of disciplines to set the theoretical framework for testing current hypothesis on light absorption, utilisation and dissipation, and to decipher the molecular mechanisms behind these processes. Presentation of results of in silico experiments with biologically significant predictions, is encouraged.

Engineering
Rapid progress in molecular biology and genetics is continually changing the landscape of algal and plant research and potential biotechnological applications. The belief that engineering biological systems can become more like the engineering of any hardware has inspired researchers to create powerful genetic tools for real-world applications. From synthetic genetic circuits to the expression of industrially relevant proteins this session will reflect the true interdisciplinary nature of cell engineering covering a broad spectrum of recent advances in the engineering of various “green” host organisms.

Chloroplast structure and assembly
Within this session, dedicated to chloroplast structure and assembly, the discussion will be focused on the interplay between structure and function in the plastidial physiology. We will bring together specialists in diatoms and microalgae physiology, investigating the adaptation capacity of these organisms and scientists involved in elucidate the shaping role of phosphorylation for the photosynthetic acclimation in  Arabidopsis thaliana. Last but not least an insight about potential industrial and biotechnological applications of photosynthetic organisms as machinery for complex molecules production will be presented by our speakers.

Omics
“-omics” techniques (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics etc.) aim to the collective characterization and quantification of a complete set of biological molecules. In the “-omics” section at ENCAP16 we are interested in innovative technical approaches used in “-omics” studies as well as in recent, interesting results obtained using one or a combination of omics approaches. Omics studies are producing basic knowledge that can be combined and used in biotechnological and system biology applications.

Communities
It is now well established that most if not all microbes exist in stable communities with several other species. For communities that include photosynthetic organisms, there is an added dimension in terms of metabolite exchanges and signal molecules. In this session, the presenters will show examples of both synthetic and natural communities that enable the study of the mechanism important for community structures, and ways that could have application in biotechnology. The presentations will be on eukaryotic algae, prokaryotic algae & bacterial communities and among the methods presented will be metabolic modelling, genetic screening, and metabolic engineering.

Modelling metabolism
The session on “Modelling Metabolism” will cover different approaches to investigate the potential behaviour of plant metabolism using a variety of computational methods, including kinetic (ODE based) and structural (constraint based) techniques, applied to both small and large models. A special focus is given to the study of representative organisms of green algae, diatoms and plants, to identify areas of metabolism involved in growth, adaptation and production of important biochemical compounds. Presentation of investigations that either integrate modelling with existing experimental data or that suggest, or could direct, new practical investigation at the laboratory or industrial scale are particularly encouraged.

Innovative algae research for a bio-based economy
This session aims to address issues associated with the scaling up of algae cultures from lab-scale to large outdoor ponds and bioreactors. It will introduce innovative techniques to optimise large-scale algal cultures, including novel production techniques, and the optimisation of bioreactor production. The session will also look at the use of molecular biology techniques to gain insight into the enhancement of high-value compound production as well as fatty acids for biofuel applications in algae.

Industrial cultivation
This session is a follow-up of the “Innovative algae research for a bio-based economy” session. It combines metabolic engineering approach together with generation of computational models for increasing the productivity – both growth and product yields. It will mostly focus on scaling up of the microalgal cultures to the industrial levels and emphasize major bottlenecks related to the topic. Furthermore it will bring up the contamination of microalgae and diatom cultures issue and also identification and possible exploitation of the multi-species interactions for the industrial applications.