On March 16th-18th, IBMS organized the 1st Herbert Fleisch workshop, which was held in the lovely city of Brugge, Belgium. The conference is named in honour of the late Herbert Fleisch, and in recognition of the wonderful workshops that he hosted over several decades in Davos, Switzerland, where he always insisted on special attention being paid to the presentations of young scientists, whether they were in poster or oral format.
Working along those lines, the organizers Roger Bouillon, Christa Maes and Jack Martin set out to provide a Gordon-conference style forum for students, post-docs and early stage principal investigators to present work in progress, discuss thoroughly and network with peers, and get constructive feedback from experienced senior scientists.
The workshop was divided into 6 sessions led by invited senior scientists, who presented a 45 minute state-of-the-art lecture, followed by extensive discussion and a number of selected oral presentations by young investigators. The senior scientists (Hank Kronenberg, Cliff Rosen, Michaela Kneissel, Jo Price, Brendan Lee and Roland Baron) gave excellent overviews and recent developments in their research areas. Moreover, they were actively involved during the sessions and were extremely interactive and constructive during the very successful poster sessions. All attendees who submitted an abstract, presented a poster, whether or not having an oral presentation as well. Hence, there was ample opportunity to discuss head to head with each presenter. There was a wide variety of topics encompassing all aspects of bone biology. The quality of the presentations and the posters was outstanding. The second day ended with meet-the-professor sessions, which were very informal and many thoughts and experiences were shared among the attendees. The size of the conference made it possible to get to know most of the other attendees and get into direct interaction with the senior scientists over a meal or at a poster, which is rare at other, larger meetings. In this respect, the Herbert Fleisch workshop provides a terrific counterpart, in Europe, of the successful IBMS Sun Valley meetings held in the US.
On both evenings, a social event was planned. The first evening we had a lovely dinner in ‘t Oud Kanthuys and the second night we were invited by the mayor in the beautiful 13th century town hall in the old centre, an Unesco Heritage site. The atmosphere at both occasions was informal and stimulating, and enjoyed whilst sampling locally brewed Brugse Zot beer.
Altogether, the workshop was a wonderful meeting full of stimulating discussions and inspiration. On behalf of all attendees, many thanks to the organizers and the keynote speakers and let’s hope we will meet again soon at another Herbert Fleisch workshop!
Written by IBMS YI committee members Bram van der Eerden, Liesbet Lieben and Michaela Reagan