Report: The 12th BRI International Symposium

The 12th annual BRI international symposium was held online on February 24, 2022. The topic of this symposium was "The Old and New Crossroads of Microorganisms and Neurodegeneration." There were four speakers from abroad - Dr Vera Gorbunova (University of Rochester), Dr Matthew R. Chapman (University of Michigan), Dr Nan Yan (UT Southwestern Medical Center) and Dr Chaogu Zheng (University of Hong Kong)- and seven speakers from Japan. To our great joy, 95 people joined the symposium providing active discussion throughout the symposium.

In this symposium, the pathology of neurodegenerative diseases and of microbiological-infectious diseases were discussed, with the commonalities that have been discussed for a relatively long time and the new similarities that have become apparent in recent years as a starting point. Drs Vera Gorbunova, Nan Yan, Akiko Takahashi, Shinichi Fukuda and myself (Matsui) talked about the latest research findings on the relationship between innate immunity and ageing, neurodegenerative diseases or eye diseases. Dr Masahiro Fujii gave details of research report on the pathogenesis of viral and non-viral neurodegenerative diseases. Drs Matthew R. Chapman, Chaogu Zheng and Sachiko Miyake presented the latest findings on the close mutual relationship between gut bacteria and neurological diseases and their mechanisms. Drs Suehiro Sakaguchi and Taisuke Tomita highlighted cutting-edge works on prions and amyloid-β respectively, two protein-peptides that are believed to spread through the nervous system like an infectious disease.

It was a very inspiring symposium, with very constructive discussions about the overlap between prion-like transmission, gut bacteria and innate immunity, phenomena that overlap neurodegeneration and microbiology, which are all very central to the pathogenesis. We would like to thank all the speakers, attendees and administrative staff members for their great contributions to making the symposium successful.

By Prof Hideaki Matsui (Dept of Neuroscience of Disease)

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