Dear colleagues

We are less than one year away from our scientific meeting – an event that cannot be missed! The 3rd International Conference of the Trisomy 21 Research Society will be held on 6-9 June 2019 in Barcelona, mark your calendars! Registration opens October 31, 2018.

The mission of T21RS is to boost preclinical and clinical research on Down syndrome and ensure that advances in the understanding of Down syndrome pathology are translated into better treatments and improved health. The meeting in Barcelona is, thus, an important part of our activities. Once again we plan on hosting around 200 delegates from all over the world, who will have the opportunity to attend exciting activities for anyone interested in Down syndrome research. We have a very strong and professional Local Organizing Committee (link) consisting of excellent scientists and professionals who make sure that everything runs smoothly for our congress. Check also the fantastic programme (link) to see what an excellent job the Scientific Programme Committee has done once again!

New exciting opportunities
This year, we have planned a variety of sessions in new formats, making our scientific programme even more diverse and interesting. The meeting will host four plenary lectures and nine parallel sessions. Regular symposia, pre-meeting satellites, a Science and Society symposium, and “Meet the Expert” and “Meet the Editor” sessions are some of the offerings from which to choose.  Another novelty this year is a new nanosymposium format in which selected groups of posters will get the opportunity to present their poster during a 30-minute session.

Check the program on our website (link) to see what an excellent job the Scientific Program Committee headed by Anita Bhattacharyya has done once again!

Young Investigators Program
This year, T21RS will kick off a Young Investigators Program, with many different activities (link). Young investigators are an integral part of the T21RS Conference and T21RS has installed a variety of measures to ensure that their participation is made as fruitful as possible. The young investigators will have the opportunity to apply for travel grants, join the volunteers program, attend focused interest sessions, participate in the “Meet the Scientist” session or even visit during one month a research lab investigating on Down syndrome in Spain to learn new techniques or simply get to know the lab and discuss about job opportunities. They will also have plenty of opportunities for their career development.

Connecting with Down syndrome needs
We will continue with the Science and Society symposium (link), a unique opportunity to discuss matters relevant to our field with regulators, patient and family associations, clinicians and researchers from very different and complementary backgrounds.

Roadmapping the unmet needs of Down syndrome research
Finally, I’d like to remind you that T21RS is committed to lead our field as it confronts the difficult situation of reduced interest in treatment developments for intellectual disability disorders. We know how little funding goes into Down syndrome research as compared with other areas of medicine. Rather than waiting for something to change we need to be proactive. We need to make the public, policy makers, and relevant stakeholders aware of these research inequities and change that situation. We should all feel very proud that the T21RS takes on that endeavor, but to be successful, we need now more than ever to strengthen our membership and expand it worldwide and very specially with young investigators, as we are faced with a tremendous task.

Our biennial meeting is a unique opportunity to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of Down syndrome research. This time we will make the Trisomy 21RS International meeting a year-long event that aims to bring together scientists, families, schools, and communities to promote Down syndrome research! Moreover, our Honorary Committee (link), composed by politicians and leaders of Down syndrome associations, are already carrying out great work in spreading the word about the conference. The general public needs to know about the increasing efforts in Down syndrome research with more advanced research tools than ever (for exemple, from 2 animal models in 2000 to 40 in 2018!), 90 ongoing preclinical trials, novel tools for cognitive assessment in young individuals and in demented patients, and an increasing number of clinical trials with 8 molecules tested, one with some positive result (EU) and 6 trials in progress (3 EU, 4 US)

We look forward to seeing you in Barcelona and contributing to a great conference!

Mara Dierssen
President of the Trisomy 21 Research Society