Hellenic Matrix Biology Section of HSBMB


The Hellenic Matrix Biology Section (HMBS) (former the Hellenic Research Club for Connective Tissue and Matrix Biology - HRCTMB) was founded in 1997 and operates inside the Hellenic Society of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (HSBMB). The scope of Matrix Biology Section is to promote research in the fields of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Medicine, Biotechnology and Clinical Chemistry, related to Connective Tissue and Extracellular Matrix, and also to create the proper environment for the communication between researchers in this field, in order for them to be informed, to exchange opinions and to create conceptual scientific networks. The MBS is a member of the Matrix Biology Europe (MBE) and also a member of the International Society for Matrix Biology (ISMB).

Introductory notes

Extracellular Matrix is a complex network of macromolecules containing structural proteins, such as collagen and elastin, structural and functional scaffolding macromolecules, such as proteoglycans and hyaluronan, and special proteins, like laminin and fibronectin. This network of macromolecules along with its structural role, which is mainly focused in providing mechanical support for cellular growth, it also has other important regulatory roles, such as adhesion, migration, proliferation and differentiation. These distinct cellular operations depend on the composition and structural organization of the extracellular matrix macromolecules. This involvement of the matrix in patho-physiological pathways has turned the scientific interest towards the correlation of the matrix composition with the development of various diseases, in order to comprehend the mechanisms that promote their development and hence to develop novel methodologies for diagnosis, protection and cure for these diseases. New scientific breakthroughs in the field of scientific tools, including biochemical techniques of isolation, biochemical analysis, molecular and cellular biology techniques, immunochemistry, structural and macromolecular chemistry, contribute to this scope.

Scientific development in the field during the last years led to the creation of international research centers, collaboration networks and postgraduate programs. Currently, high level research in the field of extracellular matrix is mainly focused on three levels:
  1. Composition, structural characterization and organization of macromolecules that constitute the extracellular matrix,
  2. Relation between structure and function, as well as the metabolism of the ingredients of extracellular matrix,
  3. Investigation of the involvement and the regulatory role of extracellular matrix components in both normal cellular functions and the development of diseases, and vice versa.

Short history

The HMBS was founded by an initiative of the University of Patras as the Hellenic Research Club for Connective Tissue and Matrix Biology. The founding Meeting and Congress took place in Patras in 10/04/1997 and a coordination committee was elected: C. Tsiganos as a President, A. Haronis as a secretary and N. Karamanos, M. Maragudakis, D. Tsampaos as members from the university of Patras and D. Kletsas (NCSR Demokritos), G. Koliakos (A.U.T), as representatives from Athens and Thessaliniki, respectively.

The 2nd official meeting of the Group took place in 1997 and the 3rd in 1998, during the meeting for the European Training Program in Microseparation Techniques, a meeting that was organized by Nikos Karamanos, in Patras. In August 1998, for the first time Greece appears as an independent Group in the 16th Meeting of Federation of European Connective Tissue Societies (FECTS) in Uppsala, Sweden, were it claimed and finally won the organization of the next (17th) FECTS Congress for the year 2000. The Hellenic Group organized the 17th FECTS Congress in Patras, in 1-5/7/2000, with great success. Participation from Europe, N. America, Australia and Japan surpass the number of 500 scientists. The program contained 21 major lectures and 9 different workshops. The Congress coincided with the announcement of the decoding of the Human Genome and the opening speech was given by H. Glykatzi-Ahrweiler, Rector of the University of Europe and distinct member of UNESCO, dealt with bioethics in Science.

The 4th meeting of the members of the Group took place in 2000 at the amphitheatre of the Hippokration Hospital of Athens and was organized by. A. Haronis and the 5th meeting of the members of our Group took place in 2003 at the Institute of Biology of the NCSR Demokritos and was organized by D.Kletsas. The 6th meeting took place in Hippokration Hospital of Thessaloniki (2004) and was organized by G. Koliakos. The 7th meeting took place in 2005 at the University of Patras and was organized by. D. Vynios and the 8th meeting took place in 2006 at the University of Crete and was organized by G. Tzanakakis. The 9th official meeting of the members of our Group took place in  2007 at the Institute of Biology of the NCSR Demokritos and was organized by D.Kletsas, while the 10th meeting took place in 2009 at the University of Patras and was co-organized by N. Karamanos and D. Kletsas. A number of distinguished scientists at International level, such as Carl-Henrik Heldin and Paraskevi Heldin (Uppsala University), Renato Iozzo (Thomas Jefferson University), Vincent Hascall (Cleveland Clinic Foundation), Dick Heinegard (Lund University) have been invited and delivered key lectures in these meetings.

Since 2001, specific session regarding extracellular matrix were organized by members of the Group in the Annual Meeting of the HSBMB. Similar events became a tradition in HSBMB due to the creative cooperation between scientific groups in the field. As a consequence of their continues and successful contribution in the Matrix Biology field, members of the Matrix Biology Group of HSBMB (headed by Nikos Karamanos) organize the prestigious International FEBS Advanced Lecture Courses on Matrix Pathobiology, Signaling and Molecular Targets (FEBS-MPST) Meetings every second year since 2007 ( The organizing committee has put together an outstanding group of internationally recognized experts as invited speakers. The most important goal of the FEBS-MPST Meetings is to bring together scientists from life sciences on an important and rapidly developing scientific field and to create the environment for a superb science, warm collegiality, an all-around rewarding experience and social events during this special time of year.

Moreover, the Matrix Biology Section of HSBMB will organize the 2nd Matrix Biology Europe Conference in Athens (11-14 June, 2016); the local organizing committee consists of members of the Matrix Biology Section of HSBMB (