Frontiers Retreat
Zagreb, October 2018

Dear colleagues,

After the great success of its first edition in 2016, ESACT Frontiers invites you to attend the 2nd ESACT Frontiers Retreat in October 2018 in Zagreb. These meetings are dedicated to early career scientists working in the cell culture technology and related fields. We aim to continue engaging the next generation of ESACT scientists and to encourage those who have not attended previous ESACT meetings to actively participate in this community.

Frontiers retreats are not classical meetings: they are built on sessions and tools to provide participants career and personal development skills, to stimulate their creative thinking emerging from interaction with peers and to promote active networking among the participants. They also aim to stimulate scientific discussions and help to bridge the gap between industry and academia.

The Scientific Sessions are an amazing opportunity for the participants to present their work. Most of the oral presentations slots are saved for young researchers who will be selected from high-quality submitted abstracts. We have prizes for best oral presentation and best poster presentation.

The Career and Personal Development Sessions will help you to develop personal skills and extend your professional network. Few things are as important for a young scientist as good soft skills and a great network: take this opportunity to improve or start building yours!

This meeting is open to the entire community, including NON-ESACT members.

Save the dates: 17th to 19th October 2018.

Looking forward to meeting you in Zagreb!

ESACT Frontiers Retreat Program


Opening Session


Professor Alan Dickson, Director of Centre of Excellence in Biopharmaceuticals (COEBP), University of Manchester

The past 25 years have seen tremendous advances in yields and range of biopharmaceutical products. In the early 1990’s, yields of 0.1g/L were considered as good, the Chinese Hamster ovary system was overshadowed by lymphoid cell types, antibodies were products of the future and cytokines/hormones were emerging as therapeutics. Intellectual inquiry has revolutionised our understanding of complex systems (cells and products) and technological advances have enabled the potential to develop novel products. In the current

world of systems and synthetic biology, we stand at the crossroads for the successful manufacture of new products (domain-engineered proteins/peptides, nucleic acids, cell-based therapeutics). The past has taught us the approaches that can bring imagination to reality but it has also warned that the pathways require innovation and a willingness to continue to engage with new technology. This presentation will review that future landscape.

Personal Development Workshops

Mentor: Michael Heath, Michael Heath Consulting, UK

Michael Heath is a professional mentor and coach. In his own words, he aims to provide his clients “unforgettable learning events which can change the way their people think and perform”. In the first ESACT Frontiers Retreat we had the pleasure to attest how unforgettable and unique his workshops are and he will join us again!

In this edition, Michael will take us on the journey of “personality types”. We are all different! And while the differences make the basis for a rich life and creative working environment, they are also often the cause for resentment and frustration. But it does not need to be that way: sometimes, it only takes to get to know yourself and the other person a little better.

Always based on enthusiastic lectures and dynamic group exercises, Michael will guide you on the path of better knowing yourself and the others to make the most of your personal and professional life. What is your type and what exactly comes with it? And what is your colleague/boss/friend type and what does that imply when dealing with that person? How to recognize the personality type of the person next door?

Career Development Workshops

The ESACT Frontiers Program is dedicated to bring experienced and young scientists together. This workshop is dedicated to intensify such exchanges. In the last edition, we invited successful professionals from academia, industry and start-up to transfer their experience to us. More than a workshop, it was a vivid sharing of professional (and personal!) experiences.

This year we will present a new topic for you dealing with career development. The goal is still to provide to the audience, tools, advises and exchanges with inspiring scientists to drive our career in the next future. Detailed program on this workshop will be provided soon.

Closing Session


Nina Kotsopoulou, Head of Process Development, Autolus

Cellular gene therapies have shown great promise in the clinic in recent years, with a number of products already gaining approval in Europe and the US. These include haematopoietic stem cell gene therapies primarily for monogenic disorders, as well as CAR-T cell therapies for oncology indications. The presentation will give an overview of the development

journey gene therapies have taken, the successes, the promise but also the challenges that still remain to de-liver these transformative therapies effectively. The focus will mostly be on product development of CAR-T therapies, with examples of Autolus’ approach provided.

Abstract Submission


Although abstract submission is not mandatory to attend the meeting, we encourage you to submit an abstract on original work to be presented as oral communication or poster panel. Note that having an accepted abstract will be a selection criterion in the case of registration limitations. It is also a criterion for applying to meeting bursaries.

Since this meeting is especially dedicated to young scientist generation, we will also ask you to provide the following information:

  1. Affiliation
  2. Current position
  3. Academic qualifications
  4. Main expertise areas
  5. Outreach activities you find relevant

Note that there are no specific age/position restrictions but in the case of registration limitations, priority will be given to students (Master/ Ph.D.) or young professionals with less than 7 years after completing their degree. Also, in case of registration limitation, priority will be given to delegates who have not previously attended a Frontiers Retreat.

The Abstract Submission form is available below. Submission deadline has been extended until May 1st 2018. Successfully submitted abstracts will be acknowledged with an electronic receipt. Abstract acceptance will be notified in June 2018.

Abstract preparation guidelines:

  • Abstracts must be submitted in English (.doc(x) files)
  • Maximum abstract length is 500 words
  • Abstracts should include relevant and detailed information about the work to be presented, divided into the following sections: i) background and novelty; ii) experimental approach; iii) results and discussion.
  • Use our file template to write your abstract and name the file with your name and category code (i.e.: Surname_Forename_CODE)
    Click here to download our abstract file template.
  • Codes for Category:
    • VVV tag for “Vaccines and viral vectors”
    • CLDE tag for Cell line development and engineering”
    • PDO tag for “Process development and optimization”
    • NMA tag for “New methods and analytics in cell culture”
    • CTDD tag for “Cells for toxicology and drug screening”
    • SCRM tag for “Stem cells & regenerative medicine”
  • Note: If your abstract matches with different categories, please include them all in the file name of your abstract (i.e.: Surname_Forename_CODE1_CODE2) and select the main one from the drop-down menu in the submission form.

Abstracts will be selected by a Scientific Committee according to their quality and will be proposed for oral or poster presentations in the different scientific sessions. Abstracts containing limited detail will not be accepted.

Contact Information

Experience and Interests


Abstract Upload (.doc format / 500 words)

Accommodation / Travelling Information

The 2nd ESACT Frontiers Retreat will take place from 17th to 19th October 2018 in Zagreb, Croatia. Conference and accommodation will be at the same place for you to make the most of your time to enjoy the sessions, the workshops and to network with your peers. The welcoming hotel is Hotel International, located right in the center of Zagreb (

Zagreb is the capital of Croatia and its major economic and cultural center with the largest and the oldest university in the country as well as the most extensive industrial infrastructure. At the academic level the (under)graduate study program in biotechnology, including animal cell culture engineering, is held at the Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology of the University of Zagreb for more than 60 years. The university has well established connections with the leading national institute for natural and biomedical sciences (Ruđer Bošković Institute) and has founded a company that offers infrastructure and services necessary for growth and development of the early stage biotech firms (BICRO-BIOCenter). Long tradition of biotechnology research enhanced decades long development of local pharmaceutical companies and their internationally recognized products (e.g. antibiotic azithromycin, Edmonston-Zagreb measles vaccine). More recently, a few large biotech corporations (Pfizer, Teva, Galapagos) as well as some privately owned firms and startups (Genera, Genos), took over the production facilities, while still keeping their focus on techniques with animal cell culture.

Zagreb is easily accessible with direct flights from many European cities, and alternatively by train. Taxi from the airport to the conference hotel takes about 20 min (approx. 25 €). You can also take the airport shuttle which takes you to the central bus station (approx. 5 €). From there, the hotel can be reached by public transportation (tram #5, approx. 0,5 €) or on foot (approx. 25 min). If coming by train from the central train station (Glavni kolodvor), go to the central bus station (Autobusni kolodvor) by tram (#2 or #6), and proceed as previously described.

If using cash, have in mind that Croatia kept its national currency which is called hrvatska kuna (HRK) and its approximate exchange rate is 1 € = 7.5 HRK. Money exchange offices are frequent downtown and regular in all the banks.

Registration and Fee

Registration with abstract

Early Registration – 200 euros: July 2nd to August 15th 2018
Late Registration – 300 euros: August 16th to September 30th 2018

Registration without abstract – 300 euros : July 2nd to September 30th 2018

Registration fee includes participation in the meeting and social activities as well as hotel accommodation for the nights of 17th and 18th of October

Bursaries information:

We know meeting fees can be a limitation for students and young researchers. Thus, ESACT Frontiers defined a reduced fee covering registration, hotel accommodation and main meals during our meeting.

If this is still too much for you, contact us. The European Society for Animal Cell Technology (ESACT) strives to encourage and facilitate the participation of students and young researchers in all ESACT related meetings and events by sponsoring conference bursaries.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Applicant must be a presenting first author of a paper accepted as an oral or poster presentation.
  • Applicant must be a Ph.D./Masters student (proof of affiliation will be required) or an early career Post-Doctoral researcher/Industrial Scientist/Engineer. If over-subscribed priority will be given to scientists/engineers in the first 7 years of research following completion of the degree (copy of diploma/certificate will be required).
  • A letter from your supervisor is requested to support the need for traveling bursary.
  • The work presented in the paper will be judged by the Scientific Committee (on the basis of the abstract submitted) and must be of high quality.
  • Limited bursaries will be awarded. In case of more applications fulfilling the basic criteria, the Scientific Committee reserves the right to rank according to scientific quality and relevance of the work to Animal Cell Technology field.

Contact Information

Registration Details

Gala Dinner Preferences

Accomodation Information

All accommodation reservations must be made via this Link as soon as you registered for the Retreat:

Detailed instructions can be downloaded here.

In the case of room sharing, only one of two occupants books the room and puts the name of the other occupant in "Other comments and requests" at the bottom of the booking page.

You must use the access key “esact”.

Included in the registration fee are the 2 nights from 17th to 19th October in a shared double room.

Please, mark below if you accept the included shared double room, and specify with whom you want to share a room:

If NO, please note that this will not reduce your registration fee. If the roommate field is not specified, the organization will randomly assign you a same-gender roommate.

To simplify the process, please also specify your roommate on the hotel reservation homepage in the comments and requests field and make sure that only one of you fills in the hotel reservation!

Room upgrade, extended stay and guests

As we reserved some extra rooms at the hotel, on the hotel reservation website you have the possibility to:

  • Upgrade your room to a single room for the nights of 17th and 18th October (extra costs: 35 € per night)
  • Choose to arrive earlier or stay longer and reserve a room for those nights (80 € for a single room and 90 € for a double room - 45€ per guest)
  • It is possible to share a room with your spouse/partner by choosing a double room option. However, please note that if your spouse/partner is not registered as a delegate, extra fees will apply. Alternatively, we suggest registering him/her as a guest, since it will include the two nights without further payment, plus all the meals during the meeting as well as the social program. If this is the case, your spouse should register as “invited guest” and fill-in the “Institution” field with N/A. For that option, the fees are 200 € for registrations on Jun 25th - Aug 15th and 300 € for registrations on Aug 16th - Sep. 30th).

For all above scenarios (room upgrade, prolong your stay and guests) extra costs will be charged to you and you will get an invoice and pay on your own at the hotel. Find below a break down of what you will pay at the hotel for the different options:

*For the convenience of the Hotel, the resulting price at the room booking website will not be shown reduced for the amount covered by registration

NOTE: When submitting the registration form - you aren't redirected to any new page, the form just goes empty again - that's normal, your registration has gone through and you will receive a confirmation e-mail.

For any additional queries, please contact us at

Organizing Committee / Sponsors

Organizing Committee:

  • Ana Filipa Rodrigues, iBET (Oeiras, Portugal)
  • Andrea Osterlehner, Roche (Penzberg, Germany)
  • Christopher Sellick, Kymab (Cambridge, UK)
  • Claire Pearce, Kymab (Cambridge, UK)
  • Emma Petiot, CPE-Lyon Engineer School (Lyon, France)
  • Igor Slivac, University of Zagreb (Zagreb, Croatia)
  • Igor Stuparevic, University of Zagreb (Zagreb, Croatia)
  • Paulo Fernandes, Autolus (London, UK)
  • Peadar O Beara, Dublin City University (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Ricardo Valdés-Bango Curell, Dublin City University (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Simon Ausländer, Roche (Penzberg, Germany)
  • Sven Tautenhahn, Sanofi (Frankfurt, Germany)
  • Verena Lohr, Sanofi (Frankfurt, Germany)

Scientific Committee:

  • Ana Sofia Coroadinha, iBET – Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnológica (Oei-ras, Portugal)
  • Anne Tolstrup, BioProcess Technology Consultants (Hillerød, Denmark)
  • Hansjörg Hauser, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (Braunschweig, Germany)
  • Helene Kildegaart, Denmark Technical University (Lyngby, Denmark)
  • Claire Pearce, Kymab (Cambridge, UK)
  • David Ausländer, Novartis, (Basel, Switzerland) • Mercedes Segura, bluebird bio (Cambridge, MA, USA)
  • Eric Olmos, University of Lorraine (Nancy, France)



Previous Frontiers Retreats

1st ESACT Frontiers Retreat
20th to 22nd October 2016, Lyon

For more information on this event please visit