The European Union has awarded ten million euros to a consortium of 18 research groups in the field of mass spectrometry based proteomics research.
The European Proteomics Initiative Consortium (EPIC-XS)
, funded as part of the Horizon 2020 Work programme, is coordinated by Albert Heck, professor of biomolecular mass spectrometry and proteomics at Utrecht University. The project began on 1 January 2019 and will run for four years.
Proteomics, the large-scale study of proteins and their role in living cells and organisms, is an important technology used to gain insight into the function of biological systems. Proteomics has been applied in many different types of studies. These include understanding how cells of the body respond to drug treatment and discovering new biomarkers in body fluids such as blood serum that can be used to detect disease but also monitor how patients respond to treatment.
Proteomics research requires state of the art technology, in-house technical know-how, sustainable and robust workflow practices, successful and correct data interpretation, and data management. The EPIC-XS initiative will support researchers by providing them with access to state of the art proteomics equipment, and allowing them to submit research proposals that make use of the proteomics technology offered by the project.
This initiative is a follow-up of the previous European proteomics infrastructure project PRIME-XS, which was completed in 2015. EPIC-XS will again provide access to proteomics facilities throughout Europe, supporting and expanding the European proteomics community with its expertise. The provision of courses and training programs will enable new research communities to be schooled in advanced proteomics technologies.
The EPIC-XS consortium consists of partners from fifteen nations: Great Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Czechia, Austria and Norway. All partners share a common goal: to facilitate the development and sustainability of proteomics exploration to all life science researchers within the European Union.
The British partner of EPIC-XS is the Cambridge Centre for Proteomics (CCP). CCP was established in 2000 in the Department of Biochemistry. Since then, CCP has become a world-leading facility applying its technology to a wide variety of biological questions. The Centre is comprised of a core facility that offers full quantitative analysis on virtually any sample of any complexity and a research group that creates and applies novel proteomics technology. Its Director, Professor Kathryn Lilley, said:
“I am delighted that CCP is involved in EPIC-XS, having been a partner in its highly successful forerunner, PRIME-XS. As part of consortium, we develop technology, combining our expertise in determining where proteins are located within living cells, with that of our European colleagues who are using proteomics to investigate protein structure.
“This kind of international partnership is essential. There is a vast array of proteomics methods and each research laboratory can only become expert in a sub-set of these. By working together, we can unite and finesse our methodologies to uncover important cellular processes inaccessible with current approaches. This will make us greater than the sum of our parts.”