Denmark is currently among the leaders in the field of proteomics and it is therefore somewhat surprising that no official Danish proteomics organization exists. National proteomics societies are already established in other countries and an European Proteome Organization (EuPO) is emerging. A Danish Proteomics Society should be established to promote proteomics, to facilitate proteomics education and training activities in Denmark and to serve as a national contact point for international proteomics societies and organisations.
Proteomics is defined as the systematic analysis of proteins expressed by an organism at a given time under certain conditions. Proteomics encompass the determination of protein expression levels, interactions, localization, regulation by post-translational modifications, etc. Proteomics has a wide range of applications in fundamental cell biology, biotechnology and molecular medicine, from the definition of the components in multiprotein complexes in the cell to the discovery of biomarkers for human diseases. Proteomic technologies include yeast two-hybrid screens for protein interactions, fluorescence microscopy for protein localization, 2D electrophoresis for protein separations, mass spectrometry for protein identification and characterization, protein/peptide array technologies, and many more. Proteomics is truly an interdisciplinary field that embraces ideas and tools from molecular cell biology, biochemistry, biophysics, biomedicine, bioinformatics, and nanotechnology. In Denmark proteomics research is pursued at universities, hospitals, governmental institutes, and in industry. The high level of research activity and interest in proteomics in Denmark was evident at the Danish Biotechnology Forum meeting on ‘Applied Proteomics’ in May, 2004, which attracted 190 delegates (‘sold out’).
Proteomics and functional genomics have caught the attention of international organizations and national governments. For example, the Netherlands, UK, Sweden and Finland are prioritising proteomics and functional genomics research and have awarded large grants to national initiatives. The EU 6th Framework programme has a series of activities in proteomics and functional genomics to promote European collaborations and innovation in these fields.
The Human Proteome Organization (HUPO) was established 5 years ago and has set out to pursue several pilot projects in proteomics (human blood, brain, liver) and to define international standards for proteomics data exchange.
The European Proteome Organization (EuPO) was established during the Siena conference in August 2004. Representation by National Proteomics Societies currently include Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and soon also Finland and the Netherlands. Although organization and funding issues are not yet resolved EuPO will have a meeting for national representatives during the Spanish Proteomics Society meeting in Cordoba in February, 2005.
The objectives of the Danish Proteomics Society (DAPSOC) are to:
A DAPSOC-committee consisting of a number of proteomics researchers from academia and industry should define the mission and set up a simple infrastructure for the society. I propose to initially establish DAPSOC as a ‘focus group’ of the Danish Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (DSBMB). Interested researchers will join DSBMB and subscribe to the DAPSOC focus group and email list. Communication between DAPSOC members/subscribers will be maintained by an email list-server, a website and by announcements in BioZoom.