Feedback from the ISN Satellite Meeting 2017: Myelin Biology: unraveling functions, mechanisms and therapies

Organizers: Anne Baron, Terri Wood

Venue: Iles d'Embiez, French Riviera.

Sponsors: ENP, CLub des Cellules Gliales,National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Neuratris, ARSEP Foundation, Sanofi.

This 2017 satellite meeting of the ISN/ESN joint meeting focused on recent developments in the fields of CNS and PNS myelin biology. The satellite included four days of talks, two plenary lectures and one poster session (44 posters) held throughout the meeting. It was held immediately following the ISN/ESN joint main meeting in Paris. The satellite included a combination of oral and poster sessions with time set aside for informal discussions. In addition to a number of high-profile researchers that had agreed to speak in the beginning of this venture, approximately half the speaker slots were reserved for new topics that emerged recently and were selected from submitted abstracts and recent published work. This ensured that the conference included the latest and most exciting research areas in myelin biology at the international level. The program was built up respecting parity between sexes, including speakers from countries Canada, South America, Australia, Asia and focusing as much as possible on young rising scientists.

Fourteen young investigators were given the opportunity to present their data in Young Investigator sessions or in more specific symposia. They were selected on the basis of the quality of research, by the Young Investigator Co-Chairs, Dr. Haley Titus-Mitchell, a postdoc at Northwestern University, Chicago, and ISN postdoc member, and Dr. Beatriz Garcia Diaz, a post doc at ICM, Paris and University of Malaga, Spain. They were assisted in their task by Laura Fontenas University of Virginia, USA) and Jonathan Degeer (ETH, Zurich).

Based on recent advances in the myelin field, symposium topics included: an overview of myelin pathology and pathogenic mechanisms causing de- and re-myelination in the CNS and PNS, chromatin and transcription regulation of glial cell differentiation and myelination, cellular dynamics during developmental myelination and remyelination, myelin-forming cell generation, environmental influence and heterogeneity, axo-glial interactions, glial and immune cell control of myelination and remyelination, recent advances in pro-myelinating therapies, myelin pathology, and mechanisms of demyelination and de-differentiation. The young investigator symposia covered the topics of oligodendrocyte function and the role of the immune system in development and disease, as well as myelin repair in the CNS and PNS. The 2017 Myelin Satellite Meeting was particularly timely, due to a series of recent high-impact advances in the rapidly moving field. These included the elucidation of new pathways for precursor cell migration in the CNS and PNS, mechanisms of gliogenesis, definition of the involvement of miRNAs in OPC differentiation, the consequence of the different sizes of myelin on axon conduction, the role of enriched environment on developmental myelination, new remyelination-based therapies in clinical trials for Multiple Sclerosis, elucidation of oligodendrocyte/myelin protective and metabolic support of axons, identification of new functions for immune cells and astrocytes in regulating myelination and remyelination. These, and other emerging stories were the basis of highly stimulating discussions at the end of each session, during the extended poster sessions and during meals.

This meeting was a frank success. It attracted an outstanding group of 86 myelinresearchers that includes many of the leading figures in the field. The meeting provided an invaluable opportunity for these myelin researchers to interact with more junior researchers in the field as well as with representatives of biotech companies. Historically, a great majority attendees of the myelin satellite also attended the main meeting. The venue of Embiez removed from the summer activities of the French Riviera encouraged both informal networking opportunities as well as co-attendance at the nearby Paris ISN/ESN meeting.