Major European Meeting of Experts in Motor Neurone Disease

Posted on: 28 May 2012

Over 200  delegates attended a major European meeting of Motor Neurone Disease experts,  ENCALS, in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute  on  May 25-27th  last. 

The annual gathering of the European Network for the  Cure of ALS (ENCALS)   was preceded by the prestigious Foundation Thierry Latran Scientific meeting, comprising two days of presentations from  leading European scientific researchers  of Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

“The ENCALS meeting is an important forum for the European MND community.  The aim of the meeting is to encourage younger researchers to present their data, and to meet and interact with more established members of the community,” explained TCD Professor of Neurology, Orla Hardiman.

TCD Professor in Neurology, Orla Hardiman  

This year the focus was on new therapeutics, novel mechanisms of disease, genetics and clinical phenotyping.  The ENCALS group  hosted  leading guest speakers  three of the most eminent of  MND  researchers from the United States, Dr Teepu Siddique (Chicago ) , Dr Bob Brown (Worcester)  and Dr Jeff Rothstein (Baltimore) .  Distinguished plenary speakers from Europe included Dr Abrahams (Edinburgh), Dr Severine  Boillé (Paris)  and Prof. Kevin Talbot (Oxford) . 

TCD participants discussed their contributions in epidemiology,  genetics , deep phenotyping  biomarkers and drug development.

The quality of submitted abstracts was excellent, and both platform and poster sessions provided  ample opportunity to share new ideas and discuss the exciting developments in the field.  

A highlight of the meeting was a lively debate in which audience participation was actively encouraged.   The topic was the utility of the SOD1 mouse model  as a model of MND.   Prof.Wim Robberecht (Leuven) spoke in favour of the model, and Dr.Bob Brown (U.Mass, Worcester)  against.   Following a moderated discussion, the audience voted on the motion.

The three day event was the tenth annual meeting of this successful  European Network. Collaborative research within the network  which is supported by grants from the European 7thFramework and the European Commission Joint Programme in Neurodegenertion. 

Further details of ENCALS can be found on

More information about Irish MND research at Trinity College and Beaumont Hospital can be found on