July 2016, Newsletter 1

Big data in chemistry + informatics = chemoinformatics

BIGCHEM project started on 1.1.2016, it is a Marie Skodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) for Early Stage Researchers (ESR) funded by the European Commission under the H2020 Programme. This project integrates the premier European academic and industrial expertise in chemoinformatics and will provide a comprehensive and cross-disciplinary structured curriculum for doctoral students in large chemical data analysis using machine-learning, computational chemistry and chemoinformatics methods. 

Project development

The Kick-off meeting took place on January the 18th and the 10 ESR positions were open for applications from February 10 until March 20.

On April 4 Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen hosted the recruitment meeting in which twenty-one candidates were interviewed. Nine candidates were selected and the General Assembly appointed the selected fellows on May 6. ESR7 was reopened from April 4 to June 30 and a fellow has been already selected for this position as well. 

The fellows will start working in the project in September and October of this year. 

BIGCHEM Consortium

BIGCHEM consortium consists of 9 beneficiaries which will host and train 10 Early Stage Researchers (ESR) and 8 Associated Partners that will provide additional training. The network includes the academic institutions in Europe that are currently most experienced in chemoinformatics education and investigators from leading European large pharmaceutical companies as well as a number of innovative scientists- entrepreneurs. Thus BIGCHEM brings together the leading investigators from academia and the pharmaceutical industry across Europe. 

Link to BIGCHEM Partners

Helmholtz Zentrum München is the German Research Center for Environmental Health. The studies within this project will be performed in the Chemoinformatics group, which is part of the Institute of Structural Biology. Its main know-how is the development of computational tools for drug discovery, including Virtual Computational Chemistry Laboratory http://www.vcclab.org and On-line CHEmical Modeling Environment http://ochem.eu. Screening data will be provided by the Assay Development and Screening platform (ADSP), which is part of the Institute of Molecular Toxicology and Pharmacology. ADSP has profound knowledge in running biochemical HTS and cell-based HCS assays.
The Department of Life Science Informatics of the University of Bonn mostly focuses its research on the development of computational methods for pharmaceutical research and chemical biology and on large-scale compound data mining.
The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. The focus of the family-owned company, founded in 1885, is researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing new medications of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine. The Computational Chemistry Group is part of a department that focuses on lead identification and optimization support by - among others - high-throughput screening, virtual and fragment-based screening, compound profiling, Xray crystallography, NMR, and Computer-Aided Drug Design.
Lead Discovery Center is a professional drug discovery company with all required infrastructure, core competencies and disciplines operating in a fully integrated way at highest industrial standards. Collaborating with both academia and industry, Lead Discovery Center functions as a facilitator to translate academic basic research results into professional drug discovery projects and high quality products that can be readily commercialized.
The University of Strasbourg is one of the largest universities in France, with nearly 46000 students (including 19,5% of international students) and over 2750 researchers. The University also offers access to 25 modern languages, multinational diplomas, jointly supervised doctorates, upholding renowned international postgraduate schools and student exchange agreements. The scale of research activity at Strasbourg is substantial, involving a European Doctoral College, 10 doctoral schools and 78 research units.
The Department of Life Sciences of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia hosts an extended network of laboratories, with over 120 academic staff, 40 technicians and several postdoctoral researchers committed to basic and translational research in the fields of chemistry, biology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical research. The studies within this project will be performed in the Molecular Modelling & Drug Design Lab. Research activities focus on the development and application of computational methods for drug design. 
AstraZenca is one of the leading research-driven biopharmaceutical companies to span the entire value chain of a medicine from discovery, early- and late-stage development to manufacturing and distribution, and the global commercialisation of primary care and specialty care medicines that transform lives. The computational chemistry group in Discovery Sciences provides computational chemistry support for both in-house lead generation/optimization projects and drug discovery projects with external partners. It has the state-of-the-art computational tools and high performance computing hardware.
The Reymond´s research group is located at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry of the University of Bern. Its research extends from computer-aided drug design to small molecule and peptide synthesis and to their biological evaluation. Its aim is to describe and understand chemical space to identify new molecular classes, with method developments in the area of database enumeration, big data virtual screening, and interactive chemical space visualization.

Freedom and individual responsibility, entrepreneurial spirit and open-mindedness: ETH Zurich stands on a bedrock of true Swiss values. Our university for science and technology dates back to the year 1855, when the founders of modern-day Switzerland created it as a centre of innovation and knowledge. At ETH Zurich, students discover an ideal environment for independent thinking, researchers a climate which inspires top performance. Situated in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, ETH Zurich is pioneering effective solutions to the global challenges of today and tomorrow.  

Associated Partners

BIGCHEM network is strengthened with seven innovative small and medium enterprises and the Technical University of Munich. Our next newsletter will introduce them. 

Meet BIGCHEM partners at:

Recent presentations of BIGCHEM partners:

  • Chemoinformatics Strasbourg Summer School 2016, June 27 – July 1 2016, University of Strasbourg, France. Plenary lecture by Dr. Tetko ( Helmholtz Zentrum München)
  • RICT 2016,  July 6 – 8, 2016, Caen, Normandy, France. Poster presentation by Dr. Tetko (Helmholtz Zentrum München)

Coming soon: Second BIGCHEM Newsletter

In the second newsletter we will describe expertise of associated partners and will also share challenges with search and recruitment of talented fellows for the BIGCHEM program. 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 676434. 

Disclaimer: the newsletter reflects only the authors’ view and neither the European Commission nor the Research Executive Agency are responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.