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The Fifth International Workshop on the Molecular Biology of Stress Responses

The Fifth International Workshop on the Molecular Biology of Stress Responses was held in Concepción, Chile, March 21-25, 2006. The workshop was very successful, attracting over 100 participants from 17 countries. The workshop photograph of participants is shown below:

An overview of the event

Dear Colleagues

The cover image for issue 11(2) of Cell Stress & Chaperones shows most of the 102 registered participants of the Fifth International Workshop on the Molecular Biology of Stress Responses held at the University of Concepción, Chile, March 21-25, 2006. Chairman Dr. Antonio De Maio, University of California-San Diego, opened the meeting with a welcome in English and in Spanish. He expressed the hope that we would have an excellent and interesting scientific meeting and that we would enjoy the food, wine and culture of Chile. All of his hopes were realized by the end of the meeting for about 70 participants from South America and 30 foreign scientists representing 17 countries. The success of the workshop was due in large part to the support of Vice-Rector Academico (Vice-Principal) Universidad de Concepción Mr. Ernesto Figueroa and the hard work of Local Coordinator Dr. Sandra Nicovani, University of Concepción along with Dr. Virginia L. Vega, University of California-San Diego, and her brother Roberto Antonio Vega Vargas. Dr. Robert M. Tanguay, Université Laval, Canada, who rounded out the organizing committee, made important contributions to the organization of the meeting.

During the opening ceremony, Larry Hightower, Editor-in-Chief of Cell Stress & Chaperones journal, welcomed the participants on behalf of the Editorial Board and Managing Editor Helen Neumann. He observed that science and international scientific conferences are an important common ground and unifying force in a world in desperate need of such influences. He noted that scientists speak at least two languages, their native tongues and the language of science. This provides a foundation for interest and understanding when we come together. Few scientific societies appear to be holding workshops on a regular basis in developing countries and in parts of the world underserved by the international scientific community. The Cell Stress Society International is one of those rare exceptions. Foreign scientists routinely pay their own air tickets and freely give their even more valuable time to participate in these workshops. Wolfgang Schumann is organizer of the next international workshop and he invited all participants to join him in Bangkok in 2008 to continue the tradition. It is very appropriate that Wolfgang should continue the tradition because at the Concepción meeting I learned that he had conceived the idea of an international workshop on cellular stress responses in 1996. The story of how this happened, and the involvement of Subhash Lakhotia and others, that culminated in the first of these workshops in Varanasi, India is presented along with digital images at the CSSI website.

Peter Csermely extended an invitation to all of the participants to attend the Third Cell Stress Society International Congress on Stress Responses in Biology and Medicine and the Second International Congress of Stress Research which will be held concurrently in Budapest, August 23-26, 2007. This congress will celebrate the centennial anniversary of Hans Selye, the founder of the Stress Concept. Molecular Chaperone Pioneer John Ellis will receive the CSSI Medallion in recognition of his pioneering discoveries and he will present the Keynote Address at the Opening Ceremony on the evening of August 23. The meeting link is now active and can be accessed either directly at More than 600 colleagues have already pre-registered for this meeting.

Antonio DeMaio and Gabriele Multhoff have provided an excellent summary of the Chile workshop in an article entitled “Stress down south: meeting report of the Fifth International Workshop on the Molecular Biology of Stress Responses” published in issue 11(2) of Cell Stress & Chaperones. I would like to draw the reader’s attention to several special events that occurred at Concepción. A number of speakers arrived early and conducted a teach-in for the South American students attending the workshop to help prepare them for the research sessions to follow. In addition, each lunch break, which is a very civilized two hours in Chile, was organized at a local restaurant with students seated at tables with the speakers to facilitate exchanges of information and ideas. These events worked so well that we plan to repeat them at future workshops.