“Breakthroughs in Epigenetics” workshop at IMB

The 2015 IMB Workshop titled “Breakthroughs in Epigenetics” was held at IMB in Mainz, Germany, on 19-20 March. The participants commented that the workshop was a great success both in terms of academic vigour and high quality organisation. With 91 participants, it was the largest workshop held by IMB to date.

Over the years, with the understanding that different cell types of an organism carry the same DNA and with increased knowledge of the regulation of transcription, researchers looked for heritable changes in gene expression that do not involve changes in genomic sequence and discovered chemical modifications of DNA and histones.

Given the widespread acceptance of the importance of epigenetic mechanisms in both development and disease this decade, the workshop Breakthroughs in Epigenetics provided a great platform to revisit some crucial discoveries that have helped build our concepts in the field.

Through this workshop, participants – predominantly young scientists – not only gained an introduction to the key discoveries and fundamental concepts in epigenetics but were also exposed to the future outlook and most important challenges in the field. This unique workshop provided many opportunities for young scientists to interact with pioneers in the field and discuss with them.

The workshop consisted of two days of scientific talks and discussions which were complemented with an evening meal held in IMB’s Science Lounge as well as a wine tasting and tour of the city of Mainz.

An unexpected highlight was the partial solar eclipse over Mainz. The workshop participants gathered outside to watch the natural phenomenon.

The workshop was organised and led by Vijay Tiwari, one of IMB’s Group Leaders, and hosted some of the field’s most prominent scientists such as Stephen B. Baylin, Karolin Luger, Thomas Jenuwein, Dirk Schübeler, Frank Grosveld and Peter Fraser. We plan to hold another epigenetics workshop in 2016/2017 and hope that it will be equally as successful as this year’s.