From 29-30 September 2021, the DZL Academy hosted their first symposium entitled "When bugs hit the lung - infections as drivers of acute deterioration of lung disease". About 180 early career scientists, experienced researchers and clinicians from different disciplines and organisations gathered virtually for an in-depth exchange on a hot topic of translational lung research. The symposium was primarily aimed at early career scientists of the DZL Academy.
The program included 11 lectures on various aspects of lung infections, given by leading international experts in the field of chronic and acute lung diseases. In addition to the talks, the programme included a moderated discussion forum on electronic posters of 29 early career scientists. A two-hour virtual networking event in the evening of the first day enabled a personal exchange with senior scientists on topics such as career development and challenges and rewards of translational research. Before, during and after the event, all participants were invited to exchange via the symposium chat on interdisciplinary and specific topics.
The opening lecture was given by Prof. Tobias Welte, Director of the Clinic for Pneumology at the Hannover Medical School and Director of the DZL BREATH site, who talked about lessons learned from the current Corona pandemic.
In the following five sessions, with two lectures each, the main topic "Infections of the lung" was examined from different perspectives. The speakers discussed mechanisms of acute lung injury caused by viruses and bacteria. They also talked about the influence of infections on disease progression in patients with pulmonary fibrosis, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Further talks focussed on the role of the lung microbiome and how air pollution (e.g. nanoparticles) may reactivate viruses and thus impact on chronic lung diseases.
The aim of the event was to gather early career scientists and experienced scientists from
basic research and clinical practice, to stimulate interdisciplinary discussions, to advance translational lung research and to promote early career scientists.
The planning for the second DZL-Academy Symposium has already gathered speed and all DZL-Academy Fellows are invited to participate in a survey to shape the focus and format of the 2022 symposium.