Second Early Career Scientist Forum on GPCR Research (ECSF-2020-GPCR)

a scientific and social network promoting young researchers

POSTPONED, Berlin, Germany.

Although it is still almost 2 months until the ECSF2.0 meeting in Berlin in May, we decided to postpone the conference due to the COVID-19 outbreak, to risk the chances of spread, quarantine and unnecessary hospital overloads. This is also in agreement with recommendations and official decisions from authorities of the university and government of Berlin and Germany. We are currently looking for alternative dates (likely between the end of 2020 and spring/early summer 2021) and will keep you all posted.

The meeting takes place at the Charité in central Berlin, Germany with around 100 participants.

After a very successful kickoff in 2018, we are happy to announce the second version of ECSF in Berlin, again a unique list of speakers from all around the world, to allow a direct and familiar opportunity for the exchange of GPCR knowledge between early-career scientists and well-known & established scientists.

Speakers include:

  • Michel Bouvier (Université de Montréal)
  • Davide Calebiro (University of Birmingham)
  • David Gloriam (University of Copenhagen)
  • Daniel Hilger (Marburg Philipps University)
  • Brian Kobilka (Stanford University)
  • Evi Kostenis (University of Bonn)
  • Peter Kühnen (Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin)
  • Rob Leurs (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
  • Ines Liebscher (University of Leipzig)
  • Xiangyu Liu (Tsinghua University)
  • Martin Lohse (Max Delbrück Center Berlin)
  • Jesper Mosolff Mathiesen (Zealand Pharma, University of Copenhagen)
  • Christa Müller (University Bonn)
  • Masha Niv (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
  • Simone Prömel (Leipzig University)
  • Gunnar Schulte (Karolinska Institutet)
  • Brian Shoichet (University of California, San Francisco)
  • Roger Sunahara (University of California, San Diego)
  • Chris Tate (MRC Cambridge)
  • Christofer Tautermann (Boehringer Ingelheim)
  • Denise Wootten (Monash University)


Scientific background

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) constitute the largest family of integral membrane receptors within the human genome that sense extracellular signals such as ions, hormones, neurotransmitters, and sensory stimuli and transduce the signal to intracellular macromolecules such as heterotrimeric guanosine triphosphate-binding proteins (G proteins), kinases, and arrestins which regulating distinct cellular downstream pathways leading to a physiological response. As GPCRs play a central role in intracellular downstream signaling and physiological responses, their malfunction is consequently causing various diseases like obesity, cancer, cardiac dysfunction, inflammation, and disorders in the central nervous system. Yet in 2018, less than 134 GPCRs are targeted by approximately 35% of the approved pharmaceuticals, which makes them the largest family of approved drug targeted proteins with likely even more potential targets those roles in therapeutics remains to be revealed.
GPCR-mediated signal transduction begins when an activating ligand binds and stabilizes an active conformation of the receptor that can couple to G protein. This interaction activates the G protein and initiates a cell-signaling cascade based on the interaction of G protein subunits with multiple different cellular proteins. Active receptors are also phosphorylated by specific kinases, which facilitates the binding of the protein arrestin. Arrestin binding blocks further G protein-mediated signaling and, due to the prolific scaffolding ability of arrestin, mediates receptor internalization into endosomes and distinct arrestin-dependent signal transduction. Intriguingly, some ligands modulate the interaction of receptors with intracellular binding partners, such that G protein-mediated or arrestin-mediated signaling is favored over the other pathway. Recent years have witnessed an explosion in the number of high-resolution molecular structures of different GPCRs in ligand-free and ligand-bound forms, and in complex with intracellular binding partners. These structures have already helped to elucidate the molecular details of the GPCR activation mechanism. Yet despite these advances, fundamental questions regarding GPCR function and signaling remain unanswered.

Meeting idea & history

Tackling these questions will require an interdisciplinary approach that involves structural, computational, cell and systems biologists, as well as physiologists and clinicians. Here, we propose a scientific meeting that brings together GPCR researchers from these diverse fields and at different stages in their scientific careers. Although there are currently many international GPCR conferences, very few are focused on building scientific and social networks between established researchers and early-career scientists. In 2018, we successfully kicked-off this meeting idea (ECSF-2018) with a wide participation of national and international scientists from all backgrounds and experiences. We expect the second round to be a successful continuation and hope to encourage cross-discipline cooperation and significantly advance future research. The thematic focus of the meeting is understanding how GPCRs and their associated signal transduction cascades function at the molecular, cellular and physiological levels. The goal of the meeting is to bridge different fields of expertise and different levels of experience, thereby fostering the next generation of GPCR researchers.

Program & Registration

The meeting is composed of various events, including traditional lectures and poster presentations as well as novel elements aimed at fostering networking and engaging early-career scientists.

The detailed program will follow soon!

To plan your travel accoringly, the meeting will start after 1pm on the 3rd and end after 3pm on the 6th of May.

Scientific contribution

This meeting has a strong focus on interactivity and constant learning, despite any career level. We, therefore, presuppose that all participants actively contribute to the meeting, either by a talk or by a poster presentation. Early-stage project concepts and results are very welcome!


Pre-registration will open on Monday, February 10th at 3pm CET!
All prior submitted registrations will be ignored.

Registration: click HERE

First abstract evaluation round: The deadline for the first evaluation round is the 15.03.2020. All abstracts submitted afterwards will not be considered in the first round. Successful applicants will get a confirmation shortly after.

Second evaluation round: In case there is space left, we will considere further abstract handed in latest on March 31st.

All poster/talk abstract should be sended to Only successful submission of the abstract guarantees the participation.

Download the abstract template HERE.

We strongly encourage early-career scientists to register. At the current state, we can not offer travel grants. No registration fee is required. You will get a final confirmation about your successful registration after submitting your poster/talk abstract. We can only accept up to 100 people and will look for gender, country and career status balance.

Location & Accommodation

Sunday: starting at 2pm (keynote by Brian Kobilka) & 6 pm (round-table) at Kaiserin Friedrich-Haus, Robert-Koch-Platz 7

Monday to Wednesday: CharitéCrossOver (CCO) at Virchowweg 6 (image below)

Suggested hotels and hostels close to the conference venue

Parties involved

The meeting program is supported by the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Graduiertenkolleg GRK1910 "Medical Chemistry of Selective GPCR Ligands", Stiftung Charité, Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), and Collaborative Research Centers CRC 1078 "Protonation Dynamics in Protein Function" and CRC 1423 "Structural Dynamics of GPCR Activation and Signal Transduction".

Peter Gmeiner

Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Peter Hildebrand

University of Leipzig

Patrick Scheerer

Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Johanna K.S. Tiemann

University of Copenhagen


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