The CCTC-2016 organizing committee was pleased to host the 22nd Canadian Connective Tissue Conference, held for the first time at McMaster University in Hamilton. CCTC is an important national meeting that is geared towards PIs, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and residents with a strong interest in fundamental basic research in connective tissue and application in clinical studies relevant to musculoskeletal and fibrotic disorders. At CCTC-2016 there were over 90 attendees, with plenary presentations from 7 invited high profile investigators from the US, UK and Canada.
Ben Alman (Durham, USA) as the conference keynote speaker, presented his work on fundamental mechanisms in bone regeneration with a special emphasis on wnts/b-catenin pathways. He proposed intriguing roles of bone marrow macrophages in age related bone metabolism, since macrophages derived from young mice were better able to promote osteogenesis than those from old mice, in a system that involved b-catenin signaling. Rick Adachi (McMaster Hamilton), spoke on current aspects of clinical trials in osteoporosis, noting the importance of fundamental basic science in generating new targeted therapies with potential for osteoporotic fractures, such as anti-sclerostin.
Drew Rowan (Newcastle, UK) reviewed chondrocyte biology in OA, addressing mechano-sensing, miRNA, obesity, and interesting new data on targeting matriptase in OA as well as circadian rhythyms and TGFbeta axis in maintaining cartilage homeostasis. Lisbet Haglund (McGill , Montreal) spoke on her work on Intervertebral Disk (IVD) degeneration, dynamic vs static stretch forces/cytokine expression, matrix degeneration and neurite growth, with newer work looking at Toll signaling pathways in IVD cells. Cheryl Seguin (Western, London Ont) explored her fascinating work on progenitor cells and IVD, in context of development and disease.
Boris Hinz (U of Toronto), reviewed basic mechanisms in fibrosis, including myofibroblast biology and mechano-sensing, and then presented his lab’s recent data on MSCs and their control by MRTF-A and miR-21, as well as TGF beta activation. Eric White (U of Michigan, USA) , explored clinical aspects of fibrosis, biomarkers and matrix in management of fibrotic lung diseases.
As previously established, one of the CCTC’s main objectives is to enable young scientists to present their work to a diverse group of experts and fellow students, to broaden their horizons in connective tissue research, and to further their interests in a scientific career. The CCTC-2016 was also able to provide travel awards to 28 trainees! This year’s program scheduled 24 trainees to present orally, selected from abstracts submitted, and 30 poster presentations. Adjudication committees selected the 2+2 highest quality oral presentations, and 5 highest scoring poster presentations by trainees.
The winners of the CCTC-2016 Trainee Excellence Awards, which included cash value, were:
Heena Kumra (McGill) $400
Ehab Ayaub (McMaster) $400
Lucia Zhang (U of Toronto) $200
Gazelle Crasto (U of Toronto) $200
Poster presentations ($150 each)
Geoffrey Kerr (Western)
Erica Knee (U of Toronto)
Daniel Bisson (McGill)
Chandak Upagupta (McMaster)
Pardis Pakshir (U of Toronto)
Poster session included categories of: cell biology/cell signalling, fibrosis mechanisms, stem cells/tissue engineering and regeneration, matrix protein structure function, imaging/diagnostics/ clinical aspects. The CCTC-2016 success was due in large part to significant sponsorship by Boehringer-Ingelheim Canada, Prometic Life Sciences , IMHA (CIHR) , as well as financial support from the departments of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Medicine, MIRC (Faculty of Health Sciences) as well as the Faculty of Engineering. CCTC-2016 was also most pleased that the weather cooperated to show off the beautiful McMaster campus in June, and that social events with cocktail hours, jazz, and fine food was well received. CCTC-2016 thanks its scientific and local organizing committees and all attendees in helping to making this a stimulating conference, and extending the mission of the Canadian Connective Tissue Society.
Carl D. Richards, PhD
Conference Chair CCTC-2016
VP, Canadian Connective Tissue Society
Professor and Director
McMaster Immunology Research Centre (MIRC)