conferences participation and networking

platform and poster communications; conference sessions; focus group on Twinning management
POSTER SESSION – SETAC Europe 2023

Epigenetic changes modulating the response of organisms to environmental challenges from phenotypic effects to microevolution patterns
Chairs: Laia Navarro Martin, Jana Asselman, Joana Luísa Pereira

Environmental stressors (natural, anthropogenic and/or their interplay) have an impact in the biota. This impact ranges from almost imperceptible molecular changes to well identifiable phenotypic responses that will shape the short- and long-term resistance and resilience of populations to similar and new pressures. The role of epigenetic changes (e.g. DNA methylation, histone modifications, non-coding RNAs) as the landscape of molecular initiating events of phenotypic change in response to stressors has been acknowledged in general, their incorporation in adverse outcome pathways for the environmental risk assessment of chemicals being advocated in particular.
Despite the evidence in the field has been growing in the recent past, little is known about the normal functioning and natural variation in epigenetic traits for environmental species, on whether or not changes in those traits are responsible for adverse outcomes or on the variability of the scope for epigenetic responses across different species. The generation and sharing of clarifying knowledge in this context is then critical to promote the incorporation of epigenetic responses in risk assessment frameworks as it will allow to better establish (i) reliable epigenetic endpoints and biomarkers; (ii) representative models from different environmental compartments whose epigenome is sensitive and responsible in a stable way; (iii) sources of and ways to control experimental uncertainty; (iv) parallels between epigenetic responses across model organisms and between these and humans; (v) links between epigenomic initiating events and phenotypic effects, completing adverse outcome pathways potentially allowing read-across within specific classes of chemicals; (vi) efficient and sustainable methods to access stressor-induced changes in the epigenome; (vii) guidelines to identify and interpret evolutionary consequences of stressor-induced epigenetic changes. We invite contributions that can provide insights into these gaps, regardless to the taxa or the specific scope focused, and hope that this session can become a fruitful forum to share knowledge, ideas, and discuss future directions that will facilitate the incorporation of the emerging findings in environmental epigenetics into environmental risk assessment in the future.

FOCUS GROUP ON TWINNING MANAGEMENT

The EPIBOOST project identified the coordinators of sister Twinning projects as a relevant stakeholder for the co-elaboration of a good practice guide on the management of widening-twinning projects. This is a document may effectively help the scientific community in the successful implementation of this type of Coordination and Supporting Actions, which greatly act towards the leveling of the European Research Area critical mass.

The Focus group on twinning management involves all sister projects that replied positively to the invitation to engage. Participation happens at different levels of commitment according to the availability of each coordinator. This can involve replying to inquiries, participation in online meetings and/or collaborative writing of the guide, which will be publicly available by the end of the EPIBOOST project. Appropriate acknowledgement of participation, including co-authorship of the guide will apply depending on the level of involvement of each sister project.

Progress

Current phase

• All sister projects invited
• Approx. 50% expressed interest

Next steps

• First survey out in Feb 2023
• First online meeting in April 2023

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