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n behalf of the Prion 2018 Congress Local Organizing Committee, and the NeuroPrion Association, we heartily invite you to join us in Santiago de Compostela for the international conference Prion 2018. Since the Paris 2004 international conference, fostered by NeuroPrion, the yearly international Prion meetings have become the reference events for the prion research community, gathering the leading scientists and breaking news about the latest discoveries in the field. With Prion 2011 Montreal, the conference crossed the Atlantic for the first time; and with Prion 2016 Tokyo, it became definitively global. Last year, the successful Prion 2017 Edinburgh left a very high standard to follow. Initially focused on PrPSc alone, the conferences have more recently reached out to other neurodegenerative diseases in which protein misfolding, and prion (or is it prion-like…?) mechanisms play a central role. In Prion 2018, we aim at putting an emphasis in structural biology, hence our subtitle: “Prion 2018: Back to basics, understanding the biology of prions”. Without neglecting other very important aspects of human and animal prion disease, the Scientific Committee has put together a program that highlights an update and a discussion of what we know -and still ignore-, about the molecular underpinnings of prion transmission. In the last few years, important breakthroughs in this area, such as generation of recombinant PrPSc, generalization of PMCA as a useful tool to model all aspects of the propagation of PrPSc, or elucidation of the global architecture of PrPSc, and of the structure of PrP23-144 prions at a nearly atomic resolution, leave a final understanding of prion propagation and transmission barriers at the reach of our fingertips. And, very significantly, allow us for the first time to embark in the design of anti-prion drugs using rational approaches. Therefore, exciting times lie ahead.

But, as mentioned, we will also pay close attention to the lingering threat of CWD, now present in Europe: are we about to repeat the errors of BSE?, to the rest of animal prion diseases, and, of course, to CJD…and Alzheimer´s disease, Parkinson´s disease, tauopathies…

The program has some novelties with respect to previous meetings. In particular, we will have three round tables in which a small group of speakers will discuss three central topics in prion research, with ample opportunities for the public to intervene. The titles of these round tables are: 1) The structure of PrPSc; 2) A β, tau, synuclein, SOD1, TDP43, FUS…: are they prions, prion-like proteins, or what?; and 3) Prion therapy: where do we stand?

The historic city of Santiago de Compostela, home of Prion 2018, is a truly remarkable and attractive place, providing a fantastic back-drop to the congress. The venue of the conference will be the city Congress Center, that provides first class facilities. Santiago de Compostela started in the IX Century as a small shrine attracting pilgrims from all over Europe. As the final destination of the medieval St. James pilgrimage trail, it has a tradition of receiving visitors from all over the world since its very beginnings as a city. With an impressive medieval cathedral, numerous churches and stately homes and colleges of its XVI century-old university in characteristic stone architecture, it is a place definitively worth visiting.

Finally, we should mention that Prion 2018 will be a great opportunity for young scientists at the start of their careers to speak and present their work. We have allocated considerable space for oral communications selected among those submitted

We look forward to seeing you in Santiago de Compostela.

Jesús R. Requena
Chair, Prion 2018 Organizing Committee

Jean-Philippe Deslys
President, The NeuroPrion Association