TAPAS Going “Virtual” during COVID19

TAPAS Virtual Workshop June 2020

Review by Luis Moran

The TAPAS Workshop was celebrated online due to the unprecedented circumstances, that we have all experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it was still a very exciting academic experience and the teamwork, and organization were the protagonists under these circumstances.

The virtual TAPAS workshop 2020 consisted of four-session, each Thursday during June. The first session was focus on career development, industry and publishing. Here, we learnt from Dr Ben Johnson, a former PhD student from the University of Birmingham, about his experience in Medical communications in Excerpta Medica, he made an excellent summary of the challenges, tips and opportunities to develop a career on this field. Moreover, Prof. Christoph Wierling from Alacris presented his work on the development of a virtual patient model for personalised drug response predictions.

On Session 2, we learnt about the career on pharmaceutical industry based on the experiences of Dr Hans Van Giezen in Bayer, as well as, we received a masterclass from Dr Stefan Heitmeier about the efforts of the pharmaceutical industry on the development of novel antithrombotics.  We also enjoyed the scientific talks from Prof Hans Deckmyn and Sonia Severin about the challenges of targeting GPIb-vWF interaction and PI-3K, respectively.

Session 3 and 4 was dedicated to the ESR’s to present their progress and ask challenging question through the different projects. During these sessions, all ESR’s and supervisors demonstrated their compromised to achieve their goals as a team and their effective communication through the previous Slack meetings.

During each presentation, we observed challenging questions from supervisors, but also ESRs. We were all committed to establish collaboration within projects and help our colleagues to get the most of each project around the consortium.

To sum up, I considered that the virtual TAPAS workshop was a complete success, it was interactive, very well organised and it had an excellent scientific level. However, we cannot hide how much we missed our traditional face-to-face meetings.