After the delightful ECTS Annual meeting in Helsinki 2022, in which we finally all could get together again in person, we are looking forward to continue our gatherings at the ECTS Annual Meeting in Liverpool from 15-18 April 2023. Besides highlighting top-notch science and the most recent discoveries in the musculoskeletal field, we aim to provide a stimulating environment for scientific exchange, career development, or just catching up with your friends from the musculoskeletal community. This being said, there will be the unique opportunity to intensify collaborations and make new bonds with members of the Bone Research Society, as their annual meeting will take place at the same venue just before ECTS (13-15 April). The Scientific Program Committee has put together a diverse and exciting program to address the interests of clinicians, basic scientists, and health professionals. In the following sections, I will highlight the Basic Science program of ECTS 2023:
The conference will start with the ancillary program on Friday in which societies and members of the ECTS have to put together Workshops and Open Fora that deal with certain topics in detail. Topics here will include novel insights into interactions of the bone microenvironment with cancer, multiscale imaging of bone, bone cells, and the extracellular matrix, new insights into bone marrow adiposity and diabetic bone disease, as well as a focus on osteoclast heterogeneity, animal models, and phosphate sensing.
On Saturday, we will celebrate 50-years of ECTS Annual Meeting in the Basic Science Update and review “what has happened so far” in the area of osteogenic cells (Moustapha Kassem, Denmark) and osteoclasts (Anna Teti, Italy) paired with an outlook on where research in the musculoskeletal field might be heading – a “must attend” session for all newcomers in the field! Thereafter, the Technology Update will follow in which we will learn how the integration of hydroxyapatite crystals into the collagenous structure provides additional strength to bone (Peter Fratzl, Germany), and what methods can be applied to image bone in vivo (Maria Serrat, USA). Certainly, a highlight of ECTS 2023 will be the WIN (What is New) session on “Seeing the bigger picture: combining multi-omics approaches to understand bone in health and disease” providing insights into how all the available -omics technologies can be integrated to better understand bone physiology and move towards personalized therapies for bone diseases. The day will (scientifically) conclude with the Basic Science Debate in which Jan Tuckermann (Germany) will debate with Lynda Bonewald (USA) whether important information on osteocyte biology can be obtained by using osteocyte cell lines.
Sunday will continue with the Concurrent Symposium “Bone bioenergetics: where does bone draw its energy from?” a very timely and important question that will be answered by two rising stars in the bone community, Naomi Dirckx (USA) and Steve Stegen (Belgium). In case you want to intensify your knowledge on bone bioenergetics, there will be a chance to do so in the Meet the Expert session at lunchtime the same day. The Plenary Symposium on Sunday, in which Basic and Clinical Science will merge, will focus on new insights into vascular calcification and interactions with bone.
New insights into bone development will be shared on Monday in the second Concurrent Symposium followed by the Plenary Symposium on Insights into interactions of “Iron and the Skeleton”. If you ever wondered why patients receiving iron infusions can end up developing osteomalacia, this is the session to find out! The Meet the Expert sessions on Monday include topics around muscle and bone, single cell sequencing, and bone histology/immunohistochemistry, where you can throw all your questions to a panel of bone histology experts and get suggestions as to why your bone slides/stainings might not turn out as hoped for!
Finally, it really, really pays off to stay until the end of the program on Tuesday! After learning about new insights into osteocyte biology and diabetic bone disease, a highlight of the congress will be delivered in the Big Basic Science Session featuring Ryan Chai from Syndey, Australia. In his talk “Bone at single cell resolution”, he will show us his newest data on single cell sequencing of the endosteal niche, highlighting which cell types he finds in there, what gene signatures they are characterized by, and which ones may be relevant for disease development. A must see for every researcher in the musculoskeletal field!
Besides the novel insights shared by our invited speakers, we are interested to learn what new discoveries YOU have made in the bone field in the past year! Many early career – and not so early career – researchers, basic and clinical, have submitted abstracts and will be able to present their work in various sessions including the Plenary and Concurrent Oral Presentation sessions or the Poster Sessions. Finally, early career researchers will have an opportunity to present their work in the ECTS Academy New Investigator Seminar – a great way to meet your peers in an interactive and informal format.
I hope I have convinced you that ECTS 2023 is THE place to be next year!
See you there!
Martina (for the ECTS 2023 SPC)