Neurodevelopmental disorders represent a large and heterogeneous group of rare disorders. Individual types of neurodevelopmental disorders with a known genetic ethology are typically rare, owing to the very high number of individual genes that are causative for such conditions, but their aggregate societal impact is dramatic. Among the causative mutated genes, many are involved in chromatin remodelling (“epigenetic mechanisms”). These genes are relevant both from the genetics perspective, more and more genes involved in chromatin remodelling are discovered and form the methodological perspective, as more and more techniques are developed to define epigenetic changes at all molecular levels following disruption of the gene function. By bringing scientist and clinicians from all level together, this conference will contribute to the definition of common molecular and cellular signatures of disruptions of genes involved in chromatin remodelling. Such converging mechanisms of disease offer an attractive target for the development of knowledge-based therapeutic interventions across individual Neurodevelopmental disorders that can potentially be useful for designing interventions suitable for multiple related rare neurodevelopmental disorders.
This conference will appeal to PhD students, post-doc, clinicians and PI professors working in the field of chromatin remodelling in the broadest sense. The primary purpose of workshops is to enhance communication between scientist that on various aspects of chromatin remodelling, for instance from a more technological perspective and form a clinical perspective. The second primary purpose is to integrate junior and senior investigators. Young scientists will have the opportunities to present their work in the format of a short talks after selection from submitted abstracts as well as through poster presentation. The program has also allocated ample time for exchanging ideas and discussing novel hypothesis at the end of each session, as well as time for informal interactions and networking.
The scientists and clinicians will also integrate with the parent community of the Helsmoortel - Van der Aa syndrome, discovered in our lab and named after the at that time PhD student and clinician of our research group. This syndrome was selected because the Helsmoortel - Van der Aa syndrome has attracted a fair amount of attention from the scientific and the patient community. Following our initial characterisation in 2014 that was reported in Nature Genetics that mutations in ADNP are the molecular cause of this syndrome, this gene came up as one of the most frequent causes of a neurodevelopmental disorder in subsequent screening studies. Our disorder has thus become one of the prime examples of translational research in any neurodevelopmental disorder. Over the last years, it has become evident that rare disease patient organisations need to be involved in the road towards targeted therapies from the first steps onwards. By updating the parents on the latest state of the art, this aspect of the translational route commences with this meeting.