In person in Kraków: The 44th FEBS Congress

To continue our journey into the history of FEBS through its Constituent Societies, here we remember the 44th FEBS Congress, which was held in Kraków, Poland, in July 2019, and was the last in-person Congress before the COVID-19 pandemic struck and we had to temporarily move to online events.
In person in Kraków: The 44th FEBS Congress

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The 44th FEBS Congress was held from 611 July 2019 in Kraków. It was the third FEBS Congress taking place in Poland but the previous two (1966 and 2004) took place in Warsaw. The 2019 Congress was hosted in the ICE Kraków Congress Centre – a flagship cultural venue of Kraków located almost in the heart of the city on the bank of the Vistula River, opposite the Wawel Castle. This location allowed all the participants to enjoy the stunning views of the city even during the Congress coffee breaks. Kraków's old city was within walking distance from the ICE Centre.

The Congress was organized by the Polish Biochemical Society (PTBioch) in cooperation with FEBS and it was chaired by Andrzej Legocki (Chair, PTBioch President). Other members of the Organizing Committee included Adam Szewczyk (Vice-Chair), Piotr Laidler (Vice-Chair) and Małgorzata Iciek (Secretary), while the organization of the event was handled by PCO Targi w Krakowie. Immediately before the main Congress, on July 36, the 19th Young Scientists' Forum (YSF) was held, chaired by Anna Jagusiak. In parallel with the YSF, the 4th FEBS Fellows Meeting also took place in Kraków. The FEBS Congress in Kraków attracted over 1800 delegates from 54 countries. It is noteworthy that young scientists made up nearly 60% of all participants.

The title of the 44th FEBS Congress was “From molecules to living systems.” The scientific programme was arranged to cover all current topics in the field of biochemistry and related areas. Plenary lectures and those delivered during scientific sessions were very popular, which was reflected in the high attendance in lecture halls. The world-famous lecturers included two Nobel Prize winners. One of them – Prof. Andrew Fire (USA, Stanford) started the Congress with an inaugural lecture entitled "Opportunistic RNAs and acquisitive genomes", while Prof. Venki Ramakrishnan (Cambridge, UK), delivered a lecture "Termination of translation in bacteria and eukaryotes" during the closing ceremony of the Congress.

The rich scientific programme of the 44th Congress – which included plenary lectures, session lectures, short speeches, poster sessions, and FEBS special sessions and workshops – was enriched with two special "Art & Science" sessions. The aim of this idea was to give all participants the opportunity to learn something about the history and culture of Kraków (lecture by Prof. Jacek Purchla), as well as look at science through the eyes of an artist (presentation by Prof. Joanna Hoffmann-Dietrich).

Beyond many of the scientific experiences, the Congress in Kraków was also accompanied by numerous cultural events. During the opening ceremony, the participants could listen to the excellent music provided by the Pro Musica Bona Foundation, which supports young musical talents. At the end of the Congress, lecturers and participants met at a traditional dinner, which was organized at the Old Tram Depot in the medieval Jewish quarter of Kraków. The undoubted peculiarity of the 44th FEBS Congress is the fact that this unique scientific event left a tangible mark on the urban space of Kraków, which is a souvenir in the form of a tree. It is a Swedish whitebeam planted during the Congress by representatives of FEBS, Organizing Committee and PCO in the special avenue close to the ICE Congress Center.

During the closing ceremony of the 44th FEBS Congress in Kraków, the FEBS flag was passed to Ljubljana – the organizers of the planned 45th FEBS Congress. None of us expected at the that time that the Covid pandemic would move it into 2021 and convert it to virtual format.

Małgorzata Iciek (44th FEBS Congress Secretary)

Photo showing the backs of people looking at the Wawel Castle from the ICE Congress Centre.
The views on the Wawel Castle from the ICE Congress Centre, during the 44th FEBS Congress in Kraków.
Phoo taken from above showing Congress participants during a lecture.
Congress participants during a lecture at the 44th FEBS Congress in Kraków.
Group photo showing Congress speaker Venki Ramakrishnan with young Congress participants standing next to him.
Venki Ramakrishnan with young participants at the 44th FEBS Congress in Kraków.
Group photo of young scientists standing around, with a young woman standing at the front holding a microphone.

The meeting for young scientists during the 44th FEBS Congress in Kraków.

Photo of a classical music orchestra performing in a hall, watched by Congress attendees.

The concert during the opening ceremony of the 44th FEBS Congress in Kraków.

Photo of a group of people planting a tree.
The planting of a tree at the 44th FEBS Congress in Kraków.
Photo of two Congress attendees going upstairs in the ICE Congress Centre, the venue of the 44th FEBS Congress in Kraków

The ICE Congress Centre, venue of the 44th FEBS Congress in Kraków.

All images by the Polish Biochemical Society (PTBioch).

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Go to the profile of ADAM SZEWCZYK
about 1 month ago

Kongres bdb!