See you in London – getting ready for the 10th European Congress of Epileptology

London calling. In the epilepsy field, there are annual and bi-annual meetings that are worth attending. One of these meetings is the 10th European Congress of Epileptology (ECE), which will be held from September 30th to October 4th, 2012 in London. With Nobel Lecture Series, entertaining debates on controversial issues and interactive sessions with a “clubroom atmosphere”, the organizers will try out a new format for the European epilepsy meeting. Let’s give you a brief overview what this congress will hold for scientists interested in epilepsy genetics.

My favourite photo of London. I have waited for a good opportunity to use this photo of the Natural History Museum somewhere. In fact, I haven’t been to London since then other than changing planes in Heathrow. This picture was taken on Dec 31st, 2006. Much has changed since then. Back then, I wasn’t yet working in Kiel, I had no idea about Copy Number Variations and the phrase Next Generation Sequencing wasn’t coined yet. Now, in 2012, I would like to come back to the Natural History Museum with my little daughter, my wife and my parents.

New genetics. The ECE will have three genetics poster sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I am just browsing through the abstracts and there are at least two new genes or variants that will be revealed at the ECE. Also, there are several posters on CNV studies in epilepsies and I am looking forward to learning more about the latest issues. Amongst the many poster presentations and sessions on epilepsy, I wanted to emphasize that EuroEPINOMICS will have its own poster presentation presenting our RES consortium (P124, Monday). Furthermore, some genetics posters have moved into the session on semiology and classification, including the EuroEPINOMICS-RES presentation on data-driven phenotyping through the ontological classification in the BENCH database (P463, Tuesday) presented by Johanna Jähn. Finally, there will be a session on “new genetics“ on Wednesday afternoon, mainly featuring EuroEPINOMICS researchers including Peter de Jonghe, Federico Zara, Bobby Koeleman and myself. I will talk about why you should always read the instructions in epilepsy genetics and what sequence tells us. Feel free to join us for this session. You won’t be disappointed.

Satellite Meetings. There are at least four or five additional meetings before or after the ECE. One of these meetings is the Waterloo Symposium on Idiopathic Focal Epilepsies on Saturday, September 29th at the King’s College in London. On behalf of EuroEPINOMICS-RES, we will provide a brief overview of the role of CNVs in Idiopathic Focal Epilepsies (IFE). To me, it is a great honor to talk about epilepsy genetics at the official birthplace of the DNA.

Why we don’t have a EuroEPINOMICS meeting. Initially, we had discussed meeting in London for an official large-scale EuroEPINOMICS meeting. However over time we realised that this will be not be feasible for at least two reasons. First, most people we discussed this idea with were already very busy with panels, sessions and other obligations during the ECE. Secondly, shortly after the 1000 exomes meeting in Luxembourg, there is little new data to discuss. EuroEPINOMICS-RES is currently preparing the first “release” of trio exome data to the working groups, but we are not quite there yet. We are currently fine-tuning the results for presentation, which will be combined with the launch of an easy-to-use exome filtering tool that will allow the EuroEPINOMICS researchers to query exome data. Much of our time in London will be dedicated to working on this.

Have a safe trip, mind the gap and see you in London!

Ingo Helbig

Child Neurology Fellow and epilepsy genetics researcher at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), USA and Department of Neuropediatrics, Kiel, Germany

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