Multifaceted Casr

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Project News

The number of our PhDs has increased further!

Our ESR from Sri Lanka, Samawansha Tennakoon, who was based in Vienna and worked on the signalling aspects of the CaSR, has been awarded the PhD degree. She has gone home to Sri Lanka to lead together with her husband a local Research Institute in Colombo. The importance of their work is shown by the fact that they have been invited for a personal meeting with the newly elected President of Sri Lanka to present their plans for the institute. Sama deserves our congratulations for her success.

Sama being congratulated by her PI Enikő and other members of the group


Sama being congratulated by her PI Enikő and other members of the group.

Irene Lopez from Spain successfully sat her PhD examination in Amiens. Her work was on vascular calcification. She has done well, and we all congratulate her.

Irene Lopez from Spain successfully sat her PhD examination in Amiens. Her work was on vascular calcification. She has done well, and we all congratulate her.

Our Portuguese ESR, Joao Graҫa, who worked for his PhD at AstraZeneca in Macclesfield, in the UK, has gained his PhD from Cardiff University. He deserves all our congratulations.

The next one to receive her PhD will be Susanne Roth from Amsterdam.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)


Last Updated on Thursday, 14 January 2016 07:41

Congratulations to our most recent PhDs

Last month our Oxford, and one of our Vienna based ESRs have become our latest PhDs. Our heartfelt congratulations are sent to Valerie and Abhishek for their achievement. Rumour has it that Abhishek’s networking in San Diego at the 2nd CaSR Symposium has already yielded a job offer to him from a well-respected Californian University. Well done Abhishek!

The two new doctors celebrating their achievement.

Abhishek and Enikö with the head of the Examining Board Prof. Maria Sibilia (left) after the viva.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 June 2015 13:31

The Award of The Society RotePfote

Our Vienna based ESR, Abhishek, has received the RotePfote Award of the Society, for the year of 2014. The Society RotePfote (The RedPaw Society) is a cancer research foundation that concentrates on two and four legged animals. Abhishek used the value of the award to travel to conferences, to disseminate the results of his research work.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 June 2015 13:04

2nd CaSR Symposium

The seeds sawn by the Multifaceted CaSR bore fruit. The first Symposium had been organized in Vienna by the ITN. In their footsteps, the 2nd CaSR Symposium took place in San Diego CA on the 3rd and 4th of March 2015 as an Official Satellite Meeting of the ENDO 2015 Conference.

Our ITN was well represented at the Symposium. Most of the PIs were there (Fadil, Daniela, Raj, Romuald, and Enikő) and so were our Visiting Scientists (Ed Brown ((as a Keynote Speaker as well)) and Arthur Conigrave too). In addition to having been part of the organizing committee and chairing sessions, they actively contributed by their oral presentations by reviewing some of the data obtained under their supervision in the ITN.

Although the ITN had officially run its course by the 31st of December, a number of our ESRs and our ER were there too (Martin, Valerie, Sama, Abhishek, and Sarah), they had posters and oral presentations. They were very successful, harvested many awards, and used the opportunity to network as well.

Most of the participants of the Symposium

Top left: Sama at her poster; Top right: Fadil receiving a question from Arthur

Bottom left: Martin listening to Daniela’s and Abhishek’s conversation

Bottom right: Fadil (left), Valerie (centre), Sarah (right)

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 June 2015 13:03

Annual Meeting in Amiens

The last Annual Meeting of our ITN has taken place in Amiens (France) on the 27th and 28th of No-vember. It was the last of a series of Management Review Meetings that has checked through all the events of not only the last year, but the entire 4 year span of the ITN also.

All the Work Package leaders summed up the achievements of their group. All members of the ITN have outlined their experiences, and drew their conclusions to enable future projects to benefit from them. This was aided by “After the event SWOT” cards, sent to ESRs, which were extensively re-viewed, to great future advantage.

Our two Visiting Scientists, Prof. Ed Brown from Boston, (USA) and Prof. Arthur Conigrave from Sydney (AUS), extensively and helpfully commented on all aspects of the progress that had been made by the projects and the ESRs.

ESRs received their T shirts adorned with the emblem of the ITN to remind them of the time spent in, and the achievements of, the ITN.

ESRs and the Coordinator, back and front, wearing the T shirts

The Steering Board has received the reports of the PIs concerning their research projects, planned, and delivered training. All were found satisfactory. Preparations were made for the successful dis-charge of the end of project reporting obligations to the EU.

ESRs and PIs mingling at one of the pre-dinner receptions

After the normal hours of the Meeting, discussions continued and transformed into joyful celebrations.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)
Last Updated on Friday, 19 December 2014 08:08

The “Multifaceted CaSR” ITN was represented at the ENGRES 2014 Conference

On 18 November 2014, the Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions organised the second Awards Ceremony of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Prizes, which took place at the Italian EU Presidency conference “Empowering the Next Generation of Researchers” (ENGRES) on the 18th and 19th of November in Trento, Italy.

Valerie Babinsky, our Oxford based ESR, has been shortlisted for the “Promising Research Talent” category. Thus she had the chance to present her research data and training obtained during her fellowship in the “Multifaceted CaSR” ITN..

The main theme of the Empowerment of the Next Generation of Researchers “Promoting talents, spreading excellence” Conference was to discuss and reflect on how programmes for researcher.

Valerie and her poster at the Conference

Valerie and her poster at the Conference

Valerie actively and successfully networked throughout the Conference and acquired a lot of important contacts. These will be useful for her own career development as the ITN is coming to its end.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)


Last Updated on Monday, 01 December 2014 09:59

Sama got a Poster Prize!


Samawansha Tennakoon, one of the Vienna based ESRs, was awarded the 2014 Poster Prize of the prestigious Austrian Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ÖGKM) at their Annual Meeting, held in Vienna, on the 15th November. Sama’s work was on the “Downstream Signalling Regulated by The Calcium Sensing Receptor in Colon Cancer Cells”.

Sama and her Poster.

Sama and her Poster.

Our congratulations go to Sama, for work well done, and due recognition gained!

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Monday, 01 December 2014 10:00

Prof Conigrave’s visit to Europe

One of our Visiting Scientists, Prof Arthur Conigrave of Sydney, Australia, has been in Europe during the summer, and visited the still resident ESRs in Cardiff, Oxford, Amsterdam, Amiens, and in Vienna. All welcomed him with enthusiasm. Prof Conigrave (Arthur) has reviewed the progress of the Research Projects, and provided valuable consultations to the ESRs concerning interpretation of their results, and their forthcoming PhD Theses.

Arthur with the Oxford Group, their leader Prof R V Thakker FRS in rear, 2nd from left.

Arthur in Oxford. Fadil Hannan (PI) on his right, and Valerie Babinski (ESR)

Arthur with the Viennese, from left to right: Sama, Ira, Abhishek, (ESRs); Maria-Elena (Project Secretary); Prof Conigrave; Enikő (PI).

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)


ECS Meeting in Aix-en-Provence

ESRs from Vienna represented our ITN at the 13th International Conference of the European Calcium Society, held in Aix-en-Provence (France) in September. Samawansha Tennacoon has exhibited a Poster and Abhishek Aggarwal had been invited to make an oral presentation.

Sama explaining her research, at her Poster, to a visitor.

Sama’ has been supported in her travel costs to the meeting by a Travel Grant from ÖGKM (the Austrian Society for Bone and Mineral Metabolism).

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Monday, 03 November 2014 11:43

Abhishek wins the Drabikowski Award

Abhishek Aggarwal, one of the ESRs of Vienna won the well-respected Drabikowski Award for his presentation that he has made at the 13th International Meeting of the European Calcium Society, at Aix-en-Provence, in September. This Award is given by the Society for the best oral presentation, at its biannual International Conference, by a junior scientist. The title of Abhishek’s presentation was: “The Calcium-sensing Receptor is a tumor suppressor in the colon, regulating proliferation, differentiation, and epithelial to mesenchymal transit.”

Abhishek, having received the Drabikowski Award

Well done Abhishek!

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Monday, 03 November 2014 11:41

Irene wins the Poster Competition, and a Travel Grant

The 11th International Symposium on Resistant Arteries was held in September, in Balff, Alberta, in Canada. Our ITN was represented there by Irene Lopez ESR, who is based in Amines. Her poster has won the Poster Competition, and to top it, she was given a Travel Grant, to enable her to visit other Conferences, as well.

Well done Irene!

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)


The last Annual Meeting in Amiens

Preparations are in an advanced sate for the last Annual Meeting of our ITN, to take place in Amiens on the 27th and 28th of November 2014. It will be an event packed, very important meeting, for we will summarize there the manifold achievements of our ESRs, and of our ITN as a whole.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Monday, 11 August 2014 08:50

A well deserved PhD

Ira (Irfete Fetahu from Kosovo), one of the ESRs who has been working within the Cancer Work Package (WP1) in Vienna (Austria), has just got her very well deserved PhD. Well done Ira, we all congratulate you!

And this is not all: rumour has it that Ira has already landed an offer of a Post Doc position in one of the leading laboratories of the USA. Both will have made the right choice!

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)


Congratulations to Irene

Irene Lopez, who works as an ESR in Amiens within the Vascular Calcification Work Package (WP2), has been awarded a travel grant to pay a research visit to the Laboratory of Professor Wenhan Chang, at the UCSF School of Medicine in San Francisco, by the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds. The work will be an extension of her work done during her secondment in Cardiff with Daniela Riccardi. This is a very important and valuable opportunity both for her scientific research work, and for widening her experiences.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Monday, 11 August 2014 08:47

A belated, but warm welcome

In February of this year Mariangela Galante has joined our ITN, as an ESR to work in Amiens, within the Cancer Work Package (WP1). She wasted little time getting into the middle of the work and in May, already presented a Poster in Limoges (France), at the French Mineralised Tissue Biology Days.

We are all wishing her continued success in her work.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)


ESRs teaching to pupils at the Vienna International School

The ESRs based in Vienna, Abhishek and Samawansha took the students through basic biology lessons focussing on their research on colorectal cancer. Practical demonstrations to understand techniques of protein measurement and function were performed.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Monday, 11 August 2014 08:51

Upcoming news: the second CaSR symposium is coming

Save the date for the 2nd International Symposium on The Calcium Sensing Receptor (CaSR)

March 3 – 4, 2015 Omni Hotel, San Diego, California, USA

Further Information

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Monday, 11 August 2014 08:51

Prof. Raj Thakker elected as Fellow of the Royal Society

It was a great pleasure for us all to congratulate a PI Member of our ITN, Prof Raj Thakker, on the occasion of his election to be a Fellow of the Royal Society. Thus, a long overdue omission has been corrected.


Professor R.V. Thakker FMedSci FRS

May Professor of Medicine, University of Oxford


For those who might not recognize the significance and gravitas of such an Election, it must be added that, this is the highest science honour and recognition that can be bestowed upon a scientist in the UK. The Royal Society looks back on over 350 years of history; it is the foremost independent scientific academy, learned society in the UK. The Royal Society elects its own Fellows (members), currently less than fifteen hundred, solely on their scientific merit.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)


Raj’s research has made significant contributions to endocrinology and metabolism, and especially to our understanding of the pathophysiology of parathyroid and kidney disorders that affect calcium homeostasis. His research at the basic science and clinical interface, has resulted in seminal discoveries of genes, with mechanistic insights at the molecular, cellular and physiological levels, that include: identification of functional pathways of calcium-sensing, through characterisation of mutations of the calcium-sensing-receptor, a G-protein coupled- receptor (GPCR), and components of its signalling pathway such as G-protein-alpha-11 subunit (Gα11) and adaptor-protein-2-sigma-subunit (AP2σ), which regulates GPCR endocytosis; and defining new parathyroid and kidney disorders that have established a molecular-based taxonomy with important biological insights into the development of syndromic and non-syndromic forms of parathyroid tumours, as well as the syndromic and non-syndromic forms of hypoparathyroidism and renal tubular physiology of calcium homeostasis. His clinical application of these advances has had a major impact on the diagnosis and treatments for endocrine and renal disorders.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 May 2014 10:33

Martin Schepelmann is a doc!

Earlier this month, our Cardiff based ESR, Martin Schepelmann has been awarded his doctorate. He has survived this ordeal, that took 3 hrs. and 7 minutes, with flying colours. Thus he became the first of our ESRs who is now a PhD.

We are all proud of Martin. Well deserved congratulations to him.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)


The third Annual Meeting of the Multifaceted CaSR ITN

The third Annual Meeting of our ITN took place in Macclesfield on the 12th and 13th of December 2013. It was hosted by Dr Sally Price of Astra Zeneca. It was a very successful meeting.

Before the meeting, for three days, courses were held for the ESRs. There was one on Management Systems that are compatible with International Standards. Another one was held on Internal Auditing of Management Systems. A number of the AZ specialists held technical courses relating to the work taking place at the Research Establishment of AZ at Alderley Park. AZ’s resident scientists held a course on Preclinical drug safety, and another on Histopathology. Equipment supporting this work and used in the laboratories was shown (presented) too.

Prof. Alan Clarke, as an invited speaker from Cardiff University and Director of the European Cancer Stem Cell Institute, reviewed in a very interesting presentation the topic of “ Wnt pathway modulation: consequences for stem cells and cancer”.

Prof. Alan Clarke being introduced by Dr. Sally Price

Another invited speaker was Dr Donald Ward of Manchester University. He reviewed his department’s work on the Calcium-sensing Receptor and how that dovetails into the work of the ESRs of our ITN.

Dr. Donald Ward talking about a topic close to the heart of all present.

Prof. Enikő Kállay, the Coordinator of the ITN summarised the progress of our ITN, and indicated that all was developing as it should.

The heads of the Work Packages reviewed the results of their respective Work Packages.

During the two days of the Annual Meeting all the ESRs presented their work in detail, and their presentations were discussed thoroughly. The scientific sessions were chaired by the ESRs. The “Visiting Scientists” of our ITN (Ed Brown and Arthur Conigrave) were there too, and asked many searching and testing, yet helpful questions that did not only plumbed the knowledge that the ESRs have amassed, but helped to confirm future research directions too. Dr Ward, Prof Brown, Prof Conigrave, together with the former ER of the ITN, Sarah Brennan, formed a jury that gave valuable feedback to the ESRs regarding their research, and presentation skills.

ESRs at the presentational session of the Annual Meeting

One of our Visiting Scientists, Prof. Arthur Conigrave presenting his and his laboratory’s work at the University of Sydney (AUS).

The Steering Board held its annual meeting, reviewed the events of the past year. All were found satisfactory. The Coordinator was thanked and congratulated upon her ceaseless work for the success of the ITN.

The ESRs have held their meeting as well, and gave feedback to the Steering Board on the Multifaceted-CaSR – specific Training Programme. They made some valuable recommendations that are now being considered by the Steering Board for possible implementation now, or in the future for similar ITN-like programmes.

Members of the ITN, with some visitors present as well.

To seal the success of the Annual Meeting a fare well dinner was held, in a Christmassy mood. It was also used to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the first publication (in Nature) of the cloning of the CaSR by Prof Ed Brown and colleagues, among them Daniela Riccardi, the PI from Cardiff University. Prof Ed Brown is one of the Visiting Scientists in our ITN whose contribution is continual, thus he was present at this dinner. Andrew proposed a surprise toast to celebrate Prof Ed Brown and his Anniversary. This was received with enormous enthusiasm by all present.

Prof Ed Brown responding to the toast celebrating him on the occasion of his Anniversary.

If you have problem with the video please klick on the link to the Hiphip hurray video.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 11:25

Work Package Meeting of the Cancer & Signalling WP in Vienna

WP Meeting of the Cancer & Signalling Work Package took place in Vienna on the 5th and 6th of July 2013. It was attended by all the ESRs of the WP, namely Susanne from Amsterdam, Ursula from Amiens, Rita from Florence, Ira, Sama, and Abhishek from Vienna. PIs representing the Centres (some via Skype), and Prof. Dr. Arthur Conigrave (Visiting Scientist and member of the Advisory Board) were also present.

Invited Post Graduate members from Florence (Sergio) and from Vienna (Julia, Charlotte) were also attending.

The main objective of the meeting was to review the state of the ESRs research projects, their progress, the results, the technical and theoretical problems that they have encountered, the solutions found, or were under development. Discussions were initiated by the well constructed and detailed presentations that the ESRs have made.

It was pleasing to see the developments that the ESRs demonstrated by their results, their depth of understanding of the problems that they have encountered, and the understanding that they had not only of their own project, but of their colleagues’ also.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 October 2013 06:29

Vienna’s ESRs organised the 9th YSA Symposium

All three ESRs from Vienna were elected to be members of the Board of the Young Scientists Association at the Medical University of Vienna: Abhishek (Vice President), Sama (Secretary), Ira (Workshop Coordinator). Interestingly, another two PhD students from the same research group are on the Board as well. (

Prof. Arthur Conigrave making his keynote presentation

One of the most important activities of the YSA is to organize every year a PhD Symposium. The 9th YSA-PhD-Symposium at the Medical University of Vienna was held on the 19-20th of June 2013. Prof. Arthur Conigrave (our Visiting Scientist and Advisory Board member) accepted the invitation of the YSA to be one of the keynote speakers at this Symposium. The Symposium was a great success, 348 abstracts from 6 countries were submitted for oral or poster presentations. The effort of the participants was rewarded with 18 oral presentation awards, 21 poster awards and one publication award.

Eniko and Arthur at the Symposium. (Ira, one of the organizers, standing) - Arthur (his back to the camera) at the Dinner organized by the YSA for all participants.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)


Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 06:26

Meeting with Prof. Gerda Breitwieser

While Enikő and her PhD students were in Washington DC for the Annual Meeting of AACR, Prof. Gerda Breitwieser, the well-known and highly respected CaSR researcher, visited them for a consultation session. Gerda has already had the opportunity to be impressed with our ESRs during their performance at our Second Annual Meeting and CaSR Symposium held last November in Vienna.


In the back: Enikő and Doris - in the front, L to R: Sama (ESR), Gerda, Ira (ESR), Abhishek (ESR), and Julia

Wide ranging science discussions that were planned for just one afternoon were enjoyed so much by all, that they run well into the night.


Gerda (on the left), in discussion with Enikő’s ESRs and other PhD students at their Washington DC accommodation. These scientists of the future appreciated greatly Gerda’s generosity in coming to see them and spending time with them. It was also a very valuable “networking” session for them.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)



Last Updated on Monday, 27 May 2013 14:39

Annual Meeting of the American Association of Cancer Researchers (AACR) in Washington DC

Several of Enikő’s PhD students, including 3 of our ESRs participated in the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Cancer Researchers (AACR) in Washington DC from the 6th to the 10th of April. All of them had posters these were received well and attracted lot of interest.


(Andrew Hollo-Tas)


Last Updated on Thursday, 02 May 2013 10:54

Visit of Prof. John MacLeod

The Vienna based ESRs had the opportunity to rekindle the acquaintance of Prof. John MacLeod of Queen's University, Kingston, Canada, whom they met during the CaSR Symposium in last November. Prof MacLeod is having a sabbatical at Heidelberg University and was kind enough to pop down to Vienna to discuss possibilities of collaboration with Enikő and her group. He has given a presentation at the Medical University of Vienna and spent a valuable afternoon in consultations with Enikő’s research group, including 3 of our ESRs and other PhD students of Enikő.

Enikő invited Prof MacLeod and her ESRs for dinner.

Prof MacLeod in foreground, then to his left: Ira, Abishek, Sandun Gunawardhna,Elisabeth Miller, Enikő, and Sama.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)


Meeting of the Cancer Work package group


Participants of the Cancer Work Package held a meeting in Vienna on the 7th of January. All the PIs and ESRs involved in this Work Package have been present. The ESRs, Ira, Rita, Ursula, and Abhishek presented and discussed each other’s work in great detail under the guidance of the PIs. Research ideas and directions were discussed as well. Sama, an ESR from the Signalling Work Package was present also.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)


Last Updated on Monday, 04 March 2013 15:18

The First CaSR Symposium

The first ever CaSR Symposium has taken place on the 1st of December, to great and undoubted success. It was planned and prepared by all the Fellows of the “Multifaceted CaSR ITN”, and organized by the Vienna based Fellows, the Coordinator, and her Project Manager (Dr Maria Elena Manfredini.

The Symposium seamlessly followed the Annual Autumn Conference of the Austrian Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

On the dawn of the 30th November a very important and successful “Meet the Experts” session took place, moderated by our own Enikő Kállay, where the Fellows of our ITN had the opportunity to present their questions to the Experts (Gerda Breitwieser, Ed Brown, Naybediya Chattopadhyay, Arthur Conigrave, Pierre Marie, Ed Nemeth, Dolores Shoback, and Donald Ward) and had the chance to put to them their questions and discuss with them the problems that they are facing in their research.

The Experts Panel: (Ed Nemeth, Donald Ward, Dolores Shoback, Pierre Marie, Arthur Conigrave, Naybediya Chattopadhyay, Ed Brown, and Gerda Breitwieser) and the moderator (Enikö Kallay)


The lead-in into the CaSR Symposium continued on Friday afternoon, when Prof Shoback has made a presentation of her laboratory’s work.

On Saturday, in a very tight schedule of 27 (!) presentations, the current Greats of the science of CaSR have alternated with the greats of the future (the Fellows of our ITN). In the coffee intervals the Fellows descended on the “Greats”, who bore that gallantly and with visible pleasure.

All the Fellows of the “Multifaceted CaSR” have presented to the Symposium either an oral presentation, or a poster.

About a third of the participants of the CaSR Symposium

(Other photos will be available at a separate location of the Platform.)

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Monday, 10 December 2012 07:21

Training Event

The gathering of experts for the Mid-Term Review, and the CaSR Symposium has been exploited for further benefit of the Fellows of the “Multifaceted CaSR” by capturing some of the gathering Experts, to present special Training Sessions.

Prof Sabina Baumgartner-Parzer (a PI in the ITN) gave an insight to the Fellows into the Genetic Aspects  of Primary Hyperparathyroidism. Then she introduced the Fellows to the intricacies of Genotyping in Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, and held a practical seminar as well.

Prof Christine Mannhalter (a member of the Advisory Board of the ITN) has introduced the Fellows to the “Methodological and ethical issues to be considered for genetic diagnostic analysis”.

AMGEN, an Associate Partner of our ITN, provided three lectures. Dr Erich Durchschlag acquainted the Fellows with AMGEN, as a BioTech Company, and what that meant in practice. Dr Christoph Noe explained about the practicalities of Drug Development. Dr Nadine Pigard enlightened the Fellows of the clinical trials of Mimpara - a CaSR Modulator.

Prof Naybediya Chattopadhyiay answered his own question, “whether the CaSR is a double-edged sword in cancer?”

Prof Gerda Breitweiser presented a riveting survey of the “Intimate link between the CaSR trafficking and signalling.

The fellows are immensely grateful to the lecturers for their very interesting and useful lectures, and for the opportunity of discussions afterward.

from left to right: Prof. Christine Mannhalter, Prof. Naybediya Chattopadhyiay & Prof Gerda Breitweiser

(Other photos will be available at a separate location of the Platform.)


(Andrew Hollo-Tas)


Mid-Term Review Meeting

The Mid-Term Review Meeting of our ITN has taken place on the 27th and 28th of November. It was attended by all the Fellows and Partners of our group. The EU was represented by our Project Officer Mr Victor Estrada, and the Scientific Auditor appointed for the occasion, Prof. R. O’Connor from Cork.

Prof Ch O’Connor (on the left) and Victor Estrada at the Mid-Term Review & Prof Enikő Kállay opening the Mid-Term Review

After the Coordinator of our ITN has opened the Review Meeting, the EU’s Project Officer has made a presentation, in which he detailed the purpose and tasks of the Review Meeting.

The Coordinator of the “Multifaceted CaSR ITN” (Prof. Enikő Kállay) made an opening presentation in which she reviewed the past two years and gave account of the overall state of progress, and the realization of the milestones and deliverables that the Partners have committed to.

(Other photos will be available in a separate location of the Platform.)

All the Fellows have made an introduction presentation of themselves that extended to their personal history and educational past, then covered their research project and their achievements in it to date.

The PIs presented their institutions, then they described the offices they hold in the ITN and how they execute their tasks. They focussed on the research achievements of the Work Package they are involved in, as much as on the involvement and training of the Fellows under their supervision.

The presentations have highlighted the objective orientated cooperation amongst all the involved parties for the success of our ITN. It appeared that the Review was successful and the Project Officer has made no adverse comments about what he has seen and heard. The evaluation of the Mid-Term Report by the EU, due to be presented to the EU in the early part of 2013, will be the final word on this topic.

Ed Brown, one of the Visiting Scientists in the ITN, and a member of the Advisory Board, has followed the presentations and will provide later an analysis of the performance of the Multifaceted CaSR.

Members of the “Multifaceted CaSR ITN”

Not only the mind but also the body needed nourishment. Well deserved dinner after a hard day’s work.

(Other photos will be available in a separate location of the Platform.)

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Monday, 10 December 2012 07:09

Late breaking News!

It has recently came to our knowledge that Fadil Hannan, one of our PIs in Oxford, has won two prizes at the 2012 meeting of the Society for Endocrinology BES in March this year.

One of his prizes was The Clinical Endocrinology Trust Prize for the top basic science abstract.

The other one was for the best basic science oral communication.

Fadil, on the left, receiving his prize

The prizes were for his work on utilizing disease-causing CaSR mutations to gain novel insights into receptor structure-functions. His work has been published also, in Human Molecular Genetics.

Those who know Fadil are not surprised of his achievement. Our heartfelt congratulations are due to him.


(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Monday, 10 December 2012 07:09

News October 2012

Copenhagen meeting

The Cardio-vascular Work Package of our ITN has sent a sizeable delegation to the ISN NEXUS 2012 Symposium of the International Society of Nephrology that took place in Copenhagen between the 20th and 23rd of September. The Nexus symposia aim to address the increasingly multidisciplinary approach to kidney and bone health issues by bringing together researchers and practicing clinicians to advance science and treatment. Three of our ESRs were there, Joao from Macclesfield, Martin from Cardiff and Ursula from Amiens, who was accompanied by another PhD student of Romuald, Lucie. All presented their results in the form of Posters. Two of our PIs were there also, Sally Price and Romuald Mentaverri.

(picture 1) Sally and Joao in front of his poster, (picture 2) Martin Scheppelmann and his poster. & (picture 3) Ursula Thiem and her poster.

The full team, from L to R: Lucie (a guest), Romuald, Ursula, Martin, Sally, and Joao


(Andrew Hollo-Tas)



Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 November 2012 13:45

News September 2012, Part 2

“Center Retreat” in Vienna
The ESRs based in Vienna are attached to the Dept. of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research at the Medical University’s Center of Pathophysiology, Infectiology & Immunology. On the 18th of September the Center held a Retreat, at which all researchers have reported on their research, and their results. Ira, Sama, Abishek and Martin participated. Our ESRs were again highly successful: two of them, Ira and Martin, were awarded Poster Prices.
Ira and Martin with their Poster Prizes
(Andrew Hollo-Tas)


Last Updated on Monday, 05 November 2012 10:49

News September 2012


Toulouse Conference

The Multifaceted CaSR ITN has been present with a significant delegation at the 12th Symposium of the European Calcium Society in Toulouse (France) between the 9th and 12th of September. Four of our ESRs, Samawansha Tennakoon, Irfete Fetahu, Abhishek Aggarwal, from Vienna, and Susanne Roth from Amsterdam have presented posters. Abhishek was awarded a Travel Fellowship by the Organising Committee. It was gratifying to see the interest and lively discussions that surrounded their posters. Our ER, Sarah Brennan from Cardiff (who presented her work in a well received talk), and two of our PIs, Daniela Riccardi (from Cardiff) and Enikő Kallay (from Vienna) have attended also. Daniela was one of the invited speakers of the Meeting.

Sarah giving her address to the Symposium

Sama in deep discussion with an interested visitor to her poster

Ira explaining her research to an enquirer

Susanne and her poster

Abhishek explaining his Poster


Abhishek, was awarded a well deserved Travel Fellowship.


From L to R: Ira, Sama, Abhi, Sara, and Susanne at the Mayoral reception. It’s all work.


From L to R: Enikő, Ira, Sama, Abhi, Susanne, and Sarah at the gala dinner.


(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 November 2012 13:38

News July 2012


Arthur Conigrave’s visit to Europe

During July 2012 Prof. Arthur Conigrave (of Sidney University) has visited the Multifaceted CaSR Project. He is a Visiting Scientist, and spent 3 weeks steeped in the Projects. He based himself in Vienna where 3 ESR of the Project (Sama, Ira, and Abhi) are based. Arthur has also visited Cardiff, where one ESR (Martin) and our only ER (Sarah) are.

During his stay in Europe Arthur has done everything, and more, that the PIs have asked him to do. He has consulted, advised on various projects, attended Journal Clubs, contributed with his vast experience to meetings, reviewed data, corrected papers, and supported the progressing researches.

His helpful contribution, knowledge, patience, and friendship was greatly appreciated by all, whom he came into contact with. Everyone is looking forward to his next visit.

Arthur with the Viennese

(Back row L to R: Charlotte, Julia, Sabina (PI), Enikő (PI) and Arthur. 
Front row R to L: Doris, Abhishek, Irfete, Samawansha, and Lucas.)

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)



Last Updated on Monday, 05 November 2012 10:36

ESRs of the CaSR ITN diversify, and learn new skills

The Young Scientist Association of the Medical University of Vienna (MUW) organized the 9th PhD symposium, open to all pre-doctorates currently enrolled in a PhD program at the MUW or affiliated universities.

As co-workers of the YSA, we got the opportunity to sharpen our skills in team building and got a hands-on experience in understanding the do-hows that go into organization of such a big symposium.

Although we had pre-defined roles, on the day of the symposium we realized that the only answer to having a successful event was working as a team. With over 300 abstracts, work began months in advance, arranging sponsors, designing layouts, inviting key-note speakers (and ensuring that they got in and out of Vienna with a smile), sorting abstracts, sending thousands of emails, managing food, packing abstract bags ….!

For the entire time, until the finale of the 2-day symposium, the 13 of us (the board and co-workers) worked relentlessly and enthusiastically, had a lot of fun, but also ensured that we had a smooth event in our hands!

We have learnt a lot from this ‘extra-curricular’ activity, made some good friends, and more importantly developed good networks. Hopefully we can integrate all this valuable experience into the CaSR symposium planned for late autumn, and ensure it becomes a great success!

written by Abhishek, Samawansha, Julia, and Doris 
provided by Andrew Hollo-Tas


Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 July 2012 13:56

News for Mai 2012

Martin Schepelmann's report on his secondment to Vienna:

I started my secondment at the Medical University of Vienna on Monday the 16th of April and ended it on Friday the 8th of June.

We performed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of mouse hearts in our Experimental MRI Center (EMRIC) in Cardiff. For analysis of these scans, Dr. Enikö Kallay (our coordinator, who is at home at the Medical University in Vienna) arranged a collaboration with MRI specialist Dr. Martin Krssak from the Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University Vienna, Austria. Therefore, we decided that I should do my first secondment in Vienna to analyze my pre-recorded scans with his help. The secondment was planned as "open ended" as it was not foreseeable how much time would be necessary to finish all the analyses. Preliminary results of this work were presented during the “Stimulating Friday Seminar” series at the Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research on May 12th 2012.

Very promising data were gathered on both fronts (MRI and cytometry) which will lead to another stay in Vienna in the near future. Apart from the scientific aspects, I took part in various social events at the department which was great for developing new and rekindle existing relationships and networks.

All the best from Cardiff,


(provided by Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 July 2012 11:30

It is Ira again!

Three of Enikö’s students, including Ira of our ITN, participated in the 17th Annual Meeting of the Austrian Endocrine Society, in Graz, Austria.

Ira presenting her work to the Conference


Ira, Enikö, Julia, and Doris

Amongst the three of them they harvested 5 prizes. Ira was given a Young Investigator Award. The other prizes were: a Science Award, and a Mentor for a year to Julia; and one more Young Investigator Award and a Mentor for a year to Doris. Just as well they attended the Conference. Enikö’s prize was having three clever and industrious students.

Enikö, Ira, and Sabina at the Conference

Sabina Baumgartner-Parzer is a co-supervisor of Ira, and a PI in our ITN.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 April 2012 06:57

News for April 2012

Susanne at the Annual Meeting of the AIMMS

Another success of an ESR of the "Multifaceted CaSR" ITN: on the 4th of April Susanne Roth presented an Abstract in Amsterdam at the annual meeting of the "Amsterdam Institute for Molecules, Medicines and Systems" (AIMMS) titled: "How can the Calcium Sensing Receptor establish ligand dependent signaling?"  Susanne is working under the supervision of Frank Bruggeman, who recently has been appointed Professor at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. Our congratulations go to him.

It appears that our ESRs are progressing with their research well. More and more of them have results that deserve to be presented to an outside audience. Well done to them all!

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 08:05

News for March 2012


Microarray Training Course in Florence, 2012 March 27th to the 30th.

Our ESRs got together for a microarray training course in Florence. According to the ESRs, it was “brilliant” and fantastically enjoyable. According to the Florentine trainers the ESRs have worked hard, and learned a lot, and it was worthwhile to hold the course.

Mass photo of the Florentine Trainers and our ESRs


In addition to the microarray course, the ESRs held the first general meeting of their own ESR Board, to discuss all aspects of their development. Abhishek, their elected representative duly reported on the comments and recommendations that the ESRs have formulated.

Susanne is based in Amsterdam and is concerned with building a pathway map of the CaSR signalling. She presented the CaSR model she is working on, highlighted how the other ESRs can help her with information about CaSR signalling, and contribute to the modelling work. This has led to a deeper understanding of her tasks and what she is expecting from her fellow ESRs to complete the CaSR model. The ESRs have concluded that they will contribute regularly to this essential work.

Our ESRs in Florence: (from left to right) F: Doris Hummel*, L: Irene Lopez (Amiens), O: Valerie Babinsky (Oxford) and Irfete Fetahu (Vienna), R: Susanne Roth (Amsterdam), E: Samawansha Tennakoon (Vienna), N: João Graça (Macklesfield), and Martin Schepelmann (Cardiff), C: Abhishek Aggarwal (Vienna), E: Julia Höbaus*, and Ursula Thiem (who now joins Amiens).

* Doris and Julia are PhD students in Vienna, but are not involved in the "Multifaceted CaSR" ITN.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 07:57

December News 2011

It is not surprising that Ira (Irfete Fetahu from Kosovo) working in Vienna is again in the news. She is probably the ESR who has been the earliest to have joined into the “Multifaceted CaSR” ITN. Thus she has the most to show. And she did that, with great aplomb, when she has presented some of her work at the Autumn Meeting of the Austrian Bone and Calcium Society.

The online Journal Club of the ESRs has now well and truly taken off. Every month from one of the scientific journals an article, that is relevant to the research work of the ESRs, is selected for dissection and consideration. Two ESRs are charged with the task of summarising, and moderating the analytical contributions made by the ESRs. In November Rita (Anna Rita Gato from Portugal) who is working in Florence, and Ira (see above) applied themselves to these tasks with surprising skill, confirming the important contribution the Journal Club can make to the development of our young scientists. In December Sama (Samawansha Tennakoon from Sri Lanka), working in Vienna, and Sandrine (Sandrine Seeber from Germany), working in Amiens, have the task of summarising and moderating the critique provided by their colleagues.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)


November News

The first annual meeting and the joining Systems Biology Course of the "Multifaceted CaSR" ITN has taken place in Amsterdam between the 25th and 28th of October. All the Partners were present with their ESRs and the one ER.

The first two days were taken up by lectures. The highlight of these was Frank Brüggeman’s all day introduction into Systems Biology that was very well received, due to its clarity, understandability and attractive presentation style.
On the third day, our two “big gun” Visiting Scientists, Ed Brown from Harvard University, and Arthur Conigrave from University of Sydney gave Keynote Lectures. These outlined what is already thought to be known about the CaSR and pointed to areas where the ESRs might be able to contribute to science with their own research. Their presentations were rounded up by a very comprehensive third Keynote Lecture given by Maria Luisa Brandi the leader PI from our Florentine Partner UNIFI.
During the rest of the day, and the first half of the fourth day all the PIs, their ESRs and the ER gave overviews of their Institutions, past research successes, and looked forward to plans of our ITN.


Maria Luisa Brandi Frank Bruggeman Ed Brown Arthur Connigrave

The 19 artwork graphics sent in by the ESRs for a competition to select a logo for the Multifaceted CaSR was voted upon, and Samawansha Tennakoon’s idea was selected with a stunning, over 47%, approval.
The ESRs have selected Abhishek Aggarwal to be their representative/spokesman.
On the last day the PIs held an exhaustive and very fruitful meeting discussing the common characteristics of the scientific questions facing us. The Steering Board, after 5 virtual (telephone) conferences, met again face-to-face and reviewed current administrative and financial matters.
The Amsterdam Meeting was a great success. It was not only useful, but it was enjoyable as well. Now everybody in the Multifaceted CaSR ITN knows everybody else, and clear signs of cohesion were palpable.
Frank Brüggeman hosted this Amsterdam event. He succeeded in maintaining the very high standard established in Florence in February, on the occasion of theKick-off Meeting. It will not be easy to best these efforts.

(Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 November 2011 14:55

Recruitment successfully closed

Wonderful news: Recruitment is now successfully closed. All ESRs have been appointed, and all indications are to the fact, that the various PIs have managed to enlist the “crème de la crème” for the Project. The appointed ESRs (in alphabetic order) are the following:

  • Abhishek Aggarwal (from India), is in Vienna;
  • Ana Rita Gomes (from Portugal), is in Florence;
  • Irene Lopez (from Spain), is in Amiens;
  • Irfete Fetahu (from Kosovo), is in Vienna;
  • João Graça (from Portugal), is in Manchester;
  • Martin Schepelmann (from Austria), is in Cardiff;
  • Samawansha Tennakoon (from Sri Lanka), is in Vienna.
  • Sandrine Seeber (from Germany), is in in Amiens;
  • Susanne Roth (from Germany), is in Amsterdam;
  • Valerie Babinsky (from Austria), is in Oxford;
  • Sarah Brennan (from Australia) is the ER, who will work on the Multifaceted CaSR in Cardiff.

All researchers will have commenced their work by the 1st of October 2011.

Also, we can report with great pride, on the first presentations by ESRs:

Martin Schepelmann has been invited to Vienna, to the Institute of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research by Prof. Isabella Ellinger, to give a talk about his work. On Monday the 26th of September he has given an oral presentation entitled: “Perspectives on investigating the Ca-sensing receptor’s role in vascular calcification”. Martin’s presentation was very well received.

On the 27th of September, Irfete Fetahu has presented a poster during the Retreat of the Centre of Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology, Medical University of Vienna.

It is an unusual achievement so early in the life of a Project to have two differing types of successful presentations.

Well done for them. (Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 October 2011 10:37

Sommer news: The Mineral and Bone Metabolic Diseases Unit of Florence has a new seat


The new seat of SOD (Departmental organizational structure) named “Bone and Mineral Metabolic Diseases” directed by Prof. Maria Luisa Brandi, as part of the Ortopedic Department of Integrated Care (Ortopedic D.A.I.), has been inaugurated on the day of 14 July 2011 nearby the Orthopaedic Traumatologic Center (CTO) of the hospital-academic corporation of Careggi. The choice of the new seat is consistent with the reorganization project of CTO that foresees a strengthening of the orthopaedic division through a constantly greater integration with other disciplines, as endocrinology of bone metabolism, in a new vision that places the patient and his complexity at the core of the welfare mission. “Bone and Mineral Metabolic Diseases” SOD is the only unit in Italy characterized by a close collaboration between clinicians and surgeons. Its location within the framework of CTO guarantees a strengthening of the organizational efficiency and also of the welfare quality. Within the SOD 30 persons work, torned between doctors, nurses and technicians.

“Bone and Mineral Metabolic Diseases” SOD is the seat of the Regional Reference Center on Hereditary Endocrine Tumours with more than 600 patients. Furthermore from the 2010 it coordinates the Regional Project for the treatment and the prevention of lesions arised from osseous fragility. The structure avail oneself of advanced diagnostic activity of the  Careggi Central Laboratory for biochemical markers and also of a diagnostic centre equipped with innovative machines with ultrasound technologies, peripheral TAC and microTAC.



Last Updated on Thursday, 22 December 2011 15:11

News June 2011

Our website: has come online! Our internal online platform will be launched in the next few days too.

Selection of ESRs for the "Multifaceted CaSR" ITN is well on the way. Four Early Stage Researchers have been already appointed: in Florence Ana Rita Gato de Jesus Gomes from Portugal, in Vienna Irfete Sh. Fetahu from Kosovo, in Cardiff Martin Schepelmann from Austria, and in Amsterdam Susanne Roth from Germany. Ana Rita and Irfete have already started their work and PhD studies. The rest are going through the stages of the selection process, and will join the other appointees to start their work and PhD studies in September. After the success of the first E-Moderator Course, the second one will be started in early July for those PIs who were unable to participate in the first course.
We have experienced our first telephone conference which proved to be very useful.

Everything is developing consistent with expectations. (Andrew Hollo-Tas)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 July 2011 08:22

Successful Kick-off Meeting

Andrew Hollo-Tas: "A very successful Kick-off Meeting was held in sunbathed Florence in early February 2011. The Florentine Partners, under the leadership of Prof. Maria-Luisa Brandi, organized the venue to everyone’s satisfaction. All the Partners and some of the Assoc. Partners were present. Management matters, research directions, and recruitment policies were clarified and agreed. As a result of this meeting, we are now a functioning and integrated group, whose members are looking forward to the future with great expectations."

Foto 1: The project team in sunny Tuscany

Foto 2 and 3: The project team at  work


Last Updated on Thursday, 01 September 2011 12:32

Kick-off Meeting in Florence

Welcome to the Kick-off Meeting of the Multifaceted CaSR in Florence,  on the 3rd and 4th of February, 2011.

Main objectives of the meeting are:

  • Presentation of the persons who are going to be involved in  Multifaceted CaSR.
  • To agree upon our internal procedural rules, methods of communication  and values.
  • To ensure that we have common controlling standards and reviewing tools  and methods.
  • To plan the next steps necessary to start the Multifaceted CaSR  Programme successfully.

Aspects of Multifaceted CaSR

The Network is designed around two counterbalancing imperatives: the need for sufficient size to provide the required range of expertise needed, and the need to be sufficiently small to provide flexibility without bureaucracy. This has been achieved with ten partners – seven from academia and three from industry. The Academic Partners are laboratories at the forefront of biomedical research, working on, amongst other topics, several aspects of cancer and cardiovascular disease. The Industrial Partner, AstraZeneca, has major interest in development of drugs and signalling through the CaSR.


Multifaceted CaSR is a Marie Curie Action
funded by the European Commission
under the 7th Framework Programme

Official Sponsors of the 1st CaSR Symposium

Sponsors of the first CaSR Symposium





Flyer 3rd Symposium on CaSR