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EMBO Workshop

Awakening of the genome: The maternal-to-zygotic transition

19 – 22 May 2021 | Virtual

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  • Registration Deadline
  • 12 March 2021
  • Abstract Submission Deadline
  • 12 March 2021
  • Chosen Participants Will Be Notified By
  • 9 April 2021
  • Payment Deadline
  • 30 April 2021

Apply now!

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About the Workshop

Life for all sexually reproducing species commences with the generation of a totipotent embryo with a unique transcriptional program. This process requires the gradual handover of developmental control from maternally provided mRNAs and proteins to products of the zygotic genome. This maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT) is accompanied by epigenetic reprogramming, 3D chromatin reorganization, changes in chromatin accessibility, dynamic regulation of non-coding and coding RNA, as well as transcriptional activation of genes and transposons from a repressed state. Pioneer transcription factors required for zygotic genome activation (ZGA) and developmental progression beyond the MZT have been identified in Drosophila but essential regulators of genome awakening remain unidentified in most organisms. The revolution in single-cell approaches may close this gap and will facilitate answering mechanistic questions in early embryos across species. Therefore, the major objective of this meeting is to advance the mechanistic understanding of ZGA and the MZT. To achieve this, this EMBO Workshop will bring together both established scientists and young researchers working on diverse organisms and in different disciplines, ranging from development and transcription to structural biology, with a shared interest in the earliest stages of life.







  • Registration Deadline
  • 12 March 2021
  • Abstract Submission Deadline
  • 12 March 2021
  • Chosen Participants Will Be Notified By
  • 9 April 2021
  • Payment Deadline
  • 30 April 2021



Registration includes:

  • Welcome reception, get-together coffee
  • Scientific Sessions
  • Lunches
  • Coffee/tea breaks
  • Dinner on-site 19 May
  • Heurigen Evening, 20 May
  • Guided city tour and Dinner, 21 May

Accommodation is not included. Reduced rates will be offered in hotels near the venue.


Payment should be made through the registration system.

Selection criteria

Conference participants will be selected by the organizers (Harrison, O’Carroll, Tachibana, Vastenhouw), as a group, based on submitted abstracts, taking into consideration the relevance of the work to ZGA and MZT, novelty and scientific excellence. EMBO guidelines on balancing gender, new and senior scientists, and a representation of different nationalities, will be followed.

Abstract guidelines

Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words.

Poster specifications

70 x 100 cm (portrait style)

Travel grants

A limited number of travel grants are available for participants. Applicants do not need to apply separately for travel grants for this event but should indicate on the registration form if they wish to be considered for a travel grant. Selection of awardees is handled directly by the organizer who will notify all eligible participants. More information is available at EMBO Travel Grants' page.

Specific travel grants and fee waivers are available for participants of any nationality working in laboratories in Chile, India, Singapore and Taiwan. To apply, please fill out the relevant section in the registration system or send an email directly to the meeting organisers justifying your request.

Child care grant

EMBO Courses and Workshops offers grants to offset additional child care costs incurred by participants or speakers when participating at any EMBO Courses and Workshop funded meeting. Eligible costs include fees for a caregiver or child-care facility, travel costs for a caregiver, or travel costs for taking the child to the meeting etc. Please indicate on the registration form whether you would like to be considered for the grant. Please also describe how you intend to use the child care grant and specify the sum that you will need.



Manuela Steurer



EMBO Journal