M12 Project Meeting in Tampere

On March 30th and 31st, 2023, the SMELLODI project consortium held the M12 project meeting in Tampere, Finland.

Day 1 – March 30th, 2023

On the first day of the meeting, Prof Veikko Surakka welcomed the attendees and introduced them to the city and university of Tampere. Following, Prof. Gianaurelio Cuniberti, representing the coordinating institute TU Dresden, announced that the consortium was set to welcome a new „widening“ partner, the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Science (IOCB). This partnership was made possible through the „WIDERA program“, which aims to strengthen research excellence and promotes collaboration among institutions in different European countries.
The meeting proceeded with progress reports from different scientific work packages (WPs). Antonie Bierling presented the progress of WP2 on human perception, which included the development of a body odor description matrix based on the results from an online study with over 2000 participants from 20 countries and 14 languages. The report also included the progress of recruiting body odor samples.
Dr. Nicole Power Guerra gave a presentation about WP5, which focuses on collecting body odor samples from patients with Parkinson’s disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment, acute cold, and COVID-19. As the team from university hospital Dresden already recruited the full sample, the SMELLODI consortium discussed, how to proceed with the planned rating study and how to implement the electronic nose measurements.
The collected body odor samples from healthy participants and patients from WP2 and WP5 will be sent for a chemical analysis to the new widening partner IOCB. Thus, in the following presentation, Dr. Robert Hanus presented his group from IOCB, which has its original background in social chemistry of insects and now shifted towards studying human participants. Furthermore, IOCB showed first preliminary analysis results from samples from a pilot study in WP2 showing differential chemical compositions for body odors from different body states.
Prof. Shlomo Yitzchaik gave a short progress report on WP3, which is focused on the workflow of single wall carbon nanotube (SWCNT) IDE preparation and production of 40 detector chips functionalized with mucin-derived molecules. The presentation also included the first successful distinguishing of different
chemicals for citrus odors.
After the lunch break, the meeting continued with Dr. Rafael Gutierrez and Dr. Alexander Croy presenting the progress in WP4. The groups of TUD and FSU used a subset of 102 body odor molecules that were also present in a study by Keller et al. (2016). Using these molecules opens up the potential to combine chemical composition and perception and relate it to the body odor perception investigated within SMELLODI WP2, 5 and 6. Furthermore, the efforts to find descriptors for the prediction of receptor-analyte interaction and computational studies of sensing mechanisms for glycan receptors adsorbed on graphene were discussed.
Afterwards, WP6 was presented by Prof. Veikko Surakka, Dr. Pasi Kallio, and colleagues, who reported progress in building the 2-channel odor display device and preliminary electronic nose measurements, as well as their work plan for involving human participants in the testing loop. WP7 was presented by Dr. Viktor Bezugly and Timo Land, who discussed progress on chip distribution for functionalization and encouraged the other partners to get in touch to discuss measurement procedures. They also discussed plans for a new round of measurements with newly built devices with new sensor chips.

Day 2 – March 31st, 2023

On Friday, March 31st, the meeting began with administrative discussions led by Beate Brenner from TU Dresden. Important details were shared regarding the soon-to-start review procedure, amendment status, and shifts of deadlines for deliverables, subcontracting at FSU Jena, etc.
This was followed by Dr. Alexander Croy and Antonie Bierling presenting progress in WP8, which focuses on dissemination and communication activities. The activities conducted so far involve setting up a website, a Twitter channel, and participation at events such as the Long Night of Science in Jena. The group discussed the organization of an Open Science workshop and the implementation of a PhD training day. Prof. Cuniberti also initiated a more general discussion about SMELLODI’s goals and perspectives. After the lunch break, participants took a lab tour that showcased an odor display and a virtual reality application. The VR application allows users to grasp a fruit and experience its smell through a face mask.

Overall, the meeting was a great success and provided an opportunity for partners to discuss progress, challenges, and future plans for the SMELLODI project.

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