Zinc-Net was supported by a grant from the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Office. While the funding is mainly for European countries, we would like to include as many “zincologist” in this network as possible through the VIZIBI (Virtual Institute of Zinc Biology). We have build a functional website for sharing ideas, reagents and good time together in which your help and participation is much welcome.

The private section of the old website is still available for those who have already signed up.

Legacy website

The 4 key objectives of Zinc-Net were:

  • Defragmentation of the knowledge base across scientific, clinical and industrial partners.
  • Generation of new research ideas, collaborations and standardisation of methodologies.
  • Establishment of a web-based portal for dissemination and communication.
  • Researcher training, public outreach and communication of science.
We hope to achieve these through forming 5 work groups (WG) to which you can sign up to:

Working Group 1: Chemical Biology

This WG will help to develop and disseminate new imaging methodologies, formulations and assessment technologies by identifying the needs of biologists and health care professionals and the capabilities of chemists.

  • The development of new small molecule probes for zinc, which target specific cellular space, with a range of Kd.
  • The synthesis of zinc probes allowing the detection of zinc at specific points in biological time and space.
  • Multi-modality probes for zinc.
WG 1 Leader: Professor Mike Watkinson, Queen Mary University London, UK

Working Group 2: Biomarker discovery

This WG will bring together nutritionists and health care professionals with biochemists and molecular biologists to develop appropriate biomarkers for zinc status to enable better identification of deficiency and toxicity and disease, especially to enable early detection of zinc related pathologies. This has been a long-term challenge in the field of zinc research, highlighted by work done by previous EU initiatives (e.g. EURECCA), that requires a multidisciplinary approach to resolve for which COST is the best platform.

  • Use Zinc-net as a platform for collaborative research on:
  • Standardising methodologies and chemicals.
  • Developing a list for primers and share experience (trouble shooting).
  • Sharing material from human as well as animal experiments, cell-lines.
  • Facilitate training on new and emerging technologies which may provide a novel approach to biomarker discovery.
  • Liaise with BOND and co-ordinate joint workshops.
  • Work with WG4 to engage industrial partners to find novel solutions.
WG 2 Leader: Professor Elena Planells, University of Granada, Spain

Working Group 3: Clinical coordination

This WG will facilitate the best design of clinical and nutritional work, from model organisms to human. It will be made up of individuals from previous and existing zinc networks in order that the knowledge gained from these networks (including EURRECA, ZENITH, ZINCAGE, and BOND) can be used to inform and provide best practice guidelines for future research projects. Specifically it will:

  • Host workshops and seminars aimed at harmonising experimental design, methodological approaches and techniques.
  • Testing the outputs of WGs 1 and 2.
  • Provide advice for design of new research studies (for example, for new collaborative grant applications).
  • Disseminate best practice through the VIZIBI web portal.
WG 3 Leader: Professor Arie Moran, Ben-Grion University of the Negev, Israel

Working Group 4: Industrial liaison

This WG will provide advice on intellectual property issue, encourage and organise discussions and collaborations with Big-Pharma as well as small medium enterprises (SME) bringing together their needs with viable research ideas facilitating the entry of zinc-related products into the industrial pipelines. Specifically it will:

  • Actively seek industry based partners to join the network.
  • Host workshops and seminars aimed at encouraging dialogue and collaboration between researchers in industry and academia around specific issues relating to zinc in human health.
  • Coordinate specific training events by technology transfer units from member states to understand issues around IP.
  • Facilitate a discussion forum between industry and academia via the VISIBI web portal.
WG 4 Leader: Dr Hector Gonzalez-Iglesias, Oviedo, Spain

Working Group 5: Knowledge transfer, outreach and training

This WG will be made up of individual members and also cross WG members from groups 1, 2, 3 and 4. Its primary focus will be to co-ordinate activities relating to the sustainability and public face of Zinc-Net. Specifically, it will:

  • Gather and assimilate knowledge generated by the Action (for example publications, workshop reports, key note speaker presentations) and formulate this information for presentation via the VIZIBI web portal.
  • Facilitate the training of early stage researchers (ESRs) through co-ordinating training and scientific exchange opportunities.
  • Create mentor partnerships between women and ESRs and established researchers (based on pre-defined criteria such as gender, subject discipline, career aspirations) within the network.
  • Oversee the development of the VIZIBI web portal. Actively managed website for dissemination.
  • Develop a book on Zinc biology.
WG 5 Leader: Dr Imre Lengyel, Queen's University Belfast, UK