Fantastic 23rd International Symposium on ALS/MND! I am really excited to be here in Chicago!
The Symposium kicked off with an amazing lecture from Dr Al-Chalabi giving an overview on the factors contributing to ALS, from nature to nurture, age and “luck”. I have never seen the factors contributing to ALS explained in a more clear and well organised fashion, not to mention the beautiful animation! The Symposium could have not started in a better way!
C9orf72 has definitely been the protagonist of the first day of this meeting. In the joint opening session Rosa Rademakers received the Paulo Gontijo Young Investigator Award (Congratulations Rosa!!!!) and in the afternoon several talks showed interesting results on the stability/instability of C9orf72 repeats in different human cell types. Ashley Jones from London (UK) added significantly to the story, presenting the association between two SNPs in chromosome 9p21 and the disease in the absence of C9orf72 repeat expansions. This suggests that these two SNPs might contribute to repeat instability or being associated with other still unknown mutations.
My favourite session was the first on RNA and protein regulation, where Dr Durham and Dr Haass introduced the concept that post-translational modifications play a crucial role in abnormal FUS localisation.
Out to dinner now with my ex colleagues from Sheffield, UK and my colleague Kat Meyer from Kaspar lab in Columbus, OH! Can’t wait for more talks on astrocytes tomorrow!!!!