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Signal transduction and beyond: from targets to new treatments in cardiac disease

Annual Meeting of the Working Group on Myocardial Function

For the second time, the annual meeting of the Working Group on Myocardial Function and the Working group on Cellular Biology of the heart of the European Society of Cardiology, has been organised in the Villa Monastero in Varenna Italy, from 14 to 17 April 2011.

After the first session, we all met for a wonderful welcome dinner in the Hotel Villa Cipressi. During this dinner Prof. Gerd Heusch gave a brief overview on the history of the working group. We have been informed that Prof. Otto Hess, one of the founding members, had died shortly before and that Prof. Helmut Drexler, also a member of the early days had died in 2009. Prof. Gerd Heusch acknowledged the great personalities of Prof. Hess and Prof. Drexler, the impact of their research for cardiovascular science and their contribution to the working group.

On 15 April, the meeting started timely with the 2nd session, which was the start to a wonderful interacting day of scientific discussions, a feature that was maintained throughout the meeting.
In the afternoon highly interactive poster sessions provided an excellent platform for all scientists to present and discuss their ongoing projects.
In between everybody enjoyed the special atmosphere of the venue including the nice coffee brakes in the botanical garden surrounding the villa and the excellent Italian food served for lunch and dinner in the Hotel Villa Cipressi.

16 April, the meeting continued with the “how to” session. Both, the easy understandable introduction in ECG monitoring in mice and the development and use of AAV were greatly appreciated. It was followed by the 2nd poster session, which was again very interactive. The special Lecture provided by PD Dr. med Heiko von der Leyen (Hannover, G) “Design and Realization of Clinical Trials - from bench to bedside” was very informative and specifically emphasized the importance of reproducibility of results between different labs before entering clinical trial steps.
After lunch the afternoon was free. About 25 participants went on a hiking trip led by Prof. Jean-Luc Balligand leading to the picturesque Castello Di Vezio above Varenna and further up the mountain behind it. It was great and photos of the trip (and the entire meeting) are provided on our webpage.

17 April was the last day of the meeting with again wonderful speakers (guest speakers from the US and from other ESC Working Groups, i.e. Cardiac Cellular Electrophysiology) and great discussions.
At the end of the meeting we felt that we all had learned a lot, made new friends and found
interesting collaborations. Apart from the excellent science and the great location, the format of the meeting being a bit less packed and leaving time for interactions proofed to be a success.

We would also thank ESC and the Basic Science Council for the financial and organizational support, especially to Corine Gomez and Céline Serio, which enabled us again to offer housing, meals and registration to all participants at a very low fee of only 100€.
In addition, we like to thank Meike Jungesblut und Olga Sorokin for their great work running the meeting on site secretary.
Thanks to everyone and best wishes

Denise Hilfiker-Kleiner (Chair of the Working Group on Myocardial function)

For information the program of the meeting is attached. In addition, contact information of all participants is also attached to this document.

Read the full report