We may have been a bit silent over the last months, but that surely does not mean our hands have been empty.

While in 2021 we remained mostly dependent on virtual platforms to foster ongoing collaborations and establish new ones, work hasn’t stopped and we managed to organize a series of webinars, workshops and educational lectures to pursue our action’s objectives, and keep our collaborators up-to-date on the latest AON delivery news. Thus, last year was marked by a number of relevant initiatives, which we would like to briefly review before we welcome a new cycle and bring you the news on our upcoming initiatives for 2022.

We began 2021 with great news: in a successful collaborative effort, our DARTER team reviewed the current delivery systems available for nucleic acid-based therapeutic, and the challenges and opportunities they present. That position paper, which nicely summarizes the state of the art on all the delivery-related issues of oligonucleotide-based therapeutics, was published in EMBO Molecular Medicine. Quite remarkably, it has already been cited by over 40 independent peer-reviewed publications, and gathered an attention score of 74, which places it in the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric. So, if you have not check it already, make sure you go have a look.

By the same time, our Italian colleagues Michela A. Denti and Elisa Giorgio have organized the first DARTER Training School on Science Communication, under the theme “Communicating Research to Stakeholders”. Also held online, this week-long training school was a huge success and we have been receiving numerous requests to launch a second edition. So, if you are interested in learning the basics on Science Communication and putting them into practice in a positive and engaging environment, stay tuned as more news may be published soon.

Later in 2021, there was also room for a more general meeting: our annual DARTER COST (Virtual) Workshop, whose headquarters were set up in Spain, were our wonderful hosts Lourdes R Desviat and Ainhoa Martínez work. This was a 3-morning programme that covered all the hot topics in the RNA therapeutics field, providing a wonderful opportunity for discussion (go check the news, here).

In the meantime, we have also launched our brand new website and premiered the official DARTER COST video.

But there is more: throughout the whole year, Liliana Matos, Andrea Lopez Martinez and Simone Detassis, a team of enthusiastic Early-Career Investigators (ECIs) coming from different countries and complimentary backgrounds, has done its best to organize a series of exciting seminars on everything-delivery. Twice a month, the whole DARTER community is challenged to gather around laptops, PCs or even cell phones and discuss some of the most recent advances in the field. There is room for everyone, from ECIs to senior researchers and space for every type of debate: the positive results and the not-so-shiny ones. These seminars have been in our agendas throughout 2021 and will surely make their way to 2022, as they are a great opportunity to discuss current workplans and even foster future collaborations.

Finally, we have closed 2021 in the best possible way, with a full day webinar on biomarkers and therapeutics in inherited retina diseases, organized by some of our brightest DARTER stars in the field (go check the news, here).

Also, driven by the success of our newly launched DARTER website and our introduction video, which most of you have so actively shared, we have also prepared two other videos, which we will be sharing soon enough in this news section.

So, stay tuned, and wait for the great news 2022 will bring us all.