More than 230 scientists from 25 different countries and with expertise in beta cell research attended last week the 2nd Joint Meeting of the EASD Islet Study Group and Beta Cell Workshop in Dresden. The meeting was hosted by the Paul Langerhans Institute Dresden of the Helmholtz Center at the Univ. Hospital and Faculty of Medicine Carl Gustav Carus of the TUD and the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden. The Beta Cell Workshop is one of the most prestigious meetings worldwide in the field of pancreatic islet biology, insulin secretion and diabetes and this year, for the first time in its 25-year history, the meeting took place in Germany. The European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) is the largest organization for diabetes research in Europe and its Islet Study Group (EASD-ISG) meets once a year to discuss the most recent advances in the field of insulin secretion and pancreatic islet biology in health and disease.
The conference, which was held in the Westin Bellevue Hotel from May 7-10, 2017, covered a wide spectrum of topics in the field of islet biology, i.e. beta cell development, maturation and regeneration, beta cell function, genetics & epigenetics of beta cells, beta cell therapy and beta cell interaction with immune cells. The program included also three keynote lectures from worldwide renowned speakers who have provided outstanding contributions of general significance in life sciences.
The first lecture was delivered by Prof. Anthony Hyman (MPI of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics Dresden), who impressively showed how phase transition is a general principle that allows cells to create intracellular compartments even in the absence of membranes. In the second keynote lecture, Prof. Kai Simons (Lypotype, Dresden and founding director of the MPI for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics Dresden) talked about his life-long work on membrane organization in the cells and the emerging field of lipidomics for the profiling of patients affected by different disorders, such as diabetes. The third keynote lecture was given by Prof. Bernard Thorens (Center for Integrative Genomics UNIL, Lausanne), who provided insights into the control of pancreatic hormone secretion by brain glucose sensing networks.
Overall, there were 34 invited presentations by 27 international and 7 national leaders from 13 different countries as well as 10 short talks from young scientists which were selected from the submitted abstracts. Scientific highlights included also two poster sessions in which 121 high quality posters were intensively discussed between junior and senior scientists and from which the 25 best evaluated were selected for poster prizes.
The conference terminated with another highlight, the traditional farewell dinner, which took place in the stunning Albrechtsberg castle. Participants enjoyed the beautiful view over the Elbe meadows, the wild conclusive dancing party and all agreed that it was the perfect ending to bow out of an inspiring conference.
In conclusion, the 2nd Joint Meeting of the EASD Islet Study Group and the Beta Cell Workshop was an exciting conference with a great scientific program, excellent talks and posters, and a unique opportunity for colleagues from around the world to discover the outstanding artistic and historical heritage of Dresden, its vibrant scientific atmosphere and the beauty of the surrounding landscape.