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The First International Conference on Molecular Neurodegeneration (ICMN) held at Xiamen University

XMUICE    Public:ICE    Datetime:2009/12/8

The First International Conference on Molecular Neurodegeneration (ICMN) was held from May 18 to 20th at Xiamen University. The Conference attracted over 200 experts from ten nations and regions for discussions of the pathogenesis and treatment of molecular neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer ´s disease, Parkinson´s Disease, Huntington´s Disease and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy.

During the conference, there were 21 lectures on eight topics given by specially-invited experts, 3 joint-lectures by 12 participating experts, a wall exhibition on the research achievements of 62 participating experts, and a round-table seminar on " China´s Research on Molecular Neurodegenerative Diseases: the Current Situation and Challenges."

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Xiamen University President Zhu Chongshi said that the primary goal of this conference was to provide an efficient platform to facilitate the discussion and exchange of information and ideas on research into neurodegeneration, and to promote neurodegenerative research in China and in neighbouring Asian countries. The conference was chaired by Dr. Xu Huaxi, an internationally-renowned expert on Alzheimer ´s disease, who is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Neurodegeneration, and Dean of the Xiamen University Institutefor Biomedical Research.

The conference was attended by nearly 200participants from ten countries and regionsincluding the U.S., France, Japan, Korea,Singapore, Australia, Israel, Mainland China,Hong Kong and Taiwan.

A gathering of renowned experts

There were over 20 internationally renownedexperts in molecular neurodegenerativeresearch at the conference, including Dr. AaronCiechanover of the Israel Institute ofTechnology the 2004 Nobel Laureate inChemistry and Dr. Steven Heinemann fromthe Salk Institute in the USA who is a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences. Theparticipants also included several DeputyEditors-in-Chief and Editors of some of the top international journals such as Cell, Neuron,Journal of Neuroscience, J. Biological Chemistry, along with over ten distinguished specialists who have achieved acclaim in molecular neurodegenerative research. The experts in question represent the pinnacle of international molecular neurodegenerative research, and their presence helped generate a significant amount of publicity for the conference.

The conference was co-organised by the Molecular Neurodegeneration Journal of the USA and the Xiamen University Institute for Biomedical Research, together with the Xiamen Municipal Science and Technology Bureau, the China National Natural Science Foundation, and both the Xiamen Municipal
and the American Alzheimer´s Associations.

Molecular Neurodegeneration is a journal launched in 2006, to present research into the pathogenesis of various neurodegenerative diseases at the molecular and cellular levels. Ever since the day of its launch, the Journal has attracted great interest internationally, and its articles are now archived in PubMed Central. BioMed Central is working closely with Thomson Reuters (ISI) to ensure that citation data on articles published in Molecular Neurodegeneration are available, and its unofficial impact factor is now 4.00.

The Xiamen University Institute for Biomedical Research was established to promote the multi-disciplinary integration and transformation of basic research into clinical applications. With its six research centres, the IBMR concentrates on studies of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases and other life-threatening diseases like diabetes,as well as important issues in the biosciences and cross-disciplinary areas of medical science.

Special Speaker-Nobel Laureate, Dr. Aaron Ciechanover

Dr. Aaron Ciechanover is an internationally distinguished bioscientist, and professor at the Israel Institute of Technology. He won the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Irwin Rose for their discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation.

Dr. Ciechanover was also the winner in 2000 of the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award and winner in 2003 of the Israel Prize for the natural and exact sciences. He is currently a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and a Foreign Associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences.

At the First ICMN, Dr. Aaron Ciechanover gave a key paper on The Ubiquitin Proteolytic System: From Basic Mechanisms through Human Diseases and onto Drug Targeting.

Expert Opinions

According to the experts present, research shows that the leading cause of Alzheimer´s disease is an amyloid whose long-time accumulation in the brain eventually kills the neurons in the brain. It has also been discovered that the production of the amyloid is controlled by two enzymes in the brain. The current major task is to find a way to regulate the activities of the two enzymes, as that is seen as the key to the treatment of Alzheimer ´s disease.

With the global growth of an ageing population, molecular neurodegenerative diseases have become an increasing threat to human life; therefore, research into relevant areas has become a focus of international attention amongst neural biologists. The incidence of such diseases is closely associated with age, so the number of patients suffering from molecular neurodegenerative diseases has gradually risen along with the growth of the ageing population and prolonged life expectancy. The dysfunction and death of neural cells are the major causes of molecular neurodegenerative diseases, leading to abnormal behaviour and dysfunction in sufferers, and premature death.

The conference provided a valuable opportunity for China´s neural scientists to increase their exchanges and co-operation with internationally-renowned experts, and to promote neurodegenerative research in China and in neighbouring Asian countries. It was the highest level conference on molecular neurodegeneration research ever to have been held in China.

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