29 September 2016

Dermatology 2016: If past is prologue

Vienna, 29/09/16. The 25th EADV Congress in Vienna kicked off yesterday with a lively opening lecture, which featured a presentation by Dr. Stephen Katz (US) and a film screening by EMMY Award winner, Prof. Alfred Vendl (AT).

In his opening remarks Dr. Katz noted that “if we glean anything from the tremendous advances of the past decade one can only imagine what the future holds for us and our patients who have skin diseases.” He repeatedly used the phrase “Can you imagine?” He showed how far we have advanced in our knowledge of skin biology and skin diseases in the past 10 years and what the next 10-15 years will be like.

Dr. Katz explained how studying rare diseases has led us to new treatments and insights into certain neutrophil-rich diseases. “Research on rare diseases has tremendous potential to improve the lives of affected individuals,” said Dr. Katz. “It also substantially advances our understanding of fundamental biology, and therefore often provides insights that can be applied to other diseases that affect larger numbers of people.” Dr. Katz also described how basic biology has changed the face of diseases like psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and metastatic melanoma. The latter, which may, hopefully, become, like many cancers, a chronic disease.

Following Dr. Katz, Prof. Alfred Vendl took the floor to show extracts of “Planet You”, his film, which has received several international awards, among them the US Science Media Award of 2012 for best Visualization. "Planet You" shows the human body as a planet being inhabited by hundreds of trillions of microcreatures, which are shown as authentic 3D-models using latest developed microscopic techniques in combination with 3D-animation.

“Making invisible scientific phenomena visible is fascinating,” commented Prof. Vendl “Those phenomena are outside of the limits of human perception when being too small, too big, too fast, too slow, or outside the visible part of the electromagnetic wavelength spectrum. The average human is host to almost four pounds of alien creatures that inhabit every nook and cranny of our body.”

Using animations strictly based on authentic 3D-models, which were constructed with high-resolution microscopic techniques, like confocal microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, cryo-transmission electron microscopy and micro/nano computer tomography in combination with 3D-animation techniques, the audience was taken on a journey into an inner world, of which most people are unaware.

About the Speakers:

Dr. Stephen I. Katz, MD, PhD (Bethesda, US)

Dr. Katz has been Director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at the National Institutes of Health since August 1995. Dr. Katz has focused his studies on immunology and the skin. His research has demonstrated that skin is an important component of the immune system both in its normal function and as a target in immunologically-mediated disease. In addition to studying Langerhans cells and epidermal-derived cytokines, Dr. Katz and his colleagues have added considerable new knowledge about inherited and acquired blistering skin diseases. Dr. Katz has trained a large number of outstanding immune-dermatologists in the U.S., Japan, Korea, and Europe. He has also served many professional societies in leadership positions and has received many honours and awards, including Honorary Membership to the EADV.

Prof. Alfred Vendl (Vienna, AT)

Prof. Vendl has studied Material Science at the Technical University of Vienna, and has been a research scientist at the Imperial College/University of London, England, the University Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, the University of California - San Diego La Jolla, USA and the Max-Planck-Institut of Metal-Research Stuttgart, Germany. Since 1981 he is a full Professor at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, head of the Institute of Art and Technology and Associative Professor at Technical University Vienna. In addition he has received education as cameraman in Vienna and has been a Freelance Cameraman since 1968. Since 1970 he has worked for ORF (Austrian Television) as cameraman, writer, director, producer and host of scientific talk-shows. He has also been the writer, director and/or producer of more than 200 prime-time documentaries for ORF, ARD, ZDF, WDR, BR, ARTE, BBC, Discovery, Smithsonian, WNET, etc. He has received many international TV-Awards among them the Emmy Award in 2008 for “Nature Tech”.

Download the Press Release (PDF) >