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Dear Colleague,

We are pleased to welcome you in Debrecen, Hungary for the 23rd Wilhelm Bernhard Workshop on the Cell Nucleus.

The current meeting, a sequel in the long history of the Workshop, will hopefully live up to its traditions: in its informal and friendly atmosphere, high scientific standards and at the same time its openness to novel perspectives and to serendipitious observations. Interest in the workshop has not waned in the wake of the highly successful and memorable Riga meeting in 2011, as demonstrated by the number of registered participants. We can just hope that the legacy of the current conference will be comparable, helping the perpetuation of this highly enjoyable series of scientific events, to be realized in the forthcoming workshops.

Their history starts in 1968 when Dr. Wilhelm Bernhard, a leading Swiss scientist of the times, who gained international fame for his pioneering works on the ultrastructure of the nucleus, also widely adored for his affectionate and emphatic personality and his intellectual aura of a true Renaissance Man, founded this series of Workshops. (See http://wbworkshops.com/wb.html for details.)

Belonging a worthy tradition is a great honour and also responsibility. We couldn'have endeavoured contributing to it by organizing the current meeting without a lot of help. We got continuous support from members of the International Committee, especially from the organizers of previous workshops. We could count on the support of the University, the Doctoral School of Molecular, Cell and Immune Biology, and the Department of Biophysics and Cell Biology, each giving not only the institutional background but direct financial support as well. Their support, as well as funds obtained from the Visegrad Fund (http://visegradfund.org/) and EMBO (http://www.embo.org/) made it possible to support the attendance of many young scientists and invited speakers.

The honor of organizing the 23rd Wilhelm Bernhard Workshop is also perceived as an acknowledgement of the efforts, enthusiasm and the often so warmly related personality of Professor Egon Hídvégi, the organizer of two past workshops in this country.

An international meeting is a chance for the scientific community it is organized by to get more attention than usual. The University of Debrecen, its Medical and Health Science Center, and particularly its groups involved in research on the cell nucleus, chromatin and related subjects, will enjoy now the privilege of becoming known to so many fellow scientists around the world. We are very much thankful for this opportunity.

Such a meeting is also an occasion and an obligation to show one's country to the world. We will try to show you its faces we deem the most beautiful and unique. In advance, also in line with Dr. Bernhard's legacy, please find a few relevant lines by a worthy representative of Hungarian culture through the links provided here.

Once again, we welcome you all in Debrecen, hoping that you will find the meeting both useful and enjoyable:

Sincerely yours,

Gabor Szabo (acting President of the International Committee, see below)

International Committee
Marco Biggiogera (Italy)
Stan Fakan (Switzerland)
Frances Victoria Fuller-Pace (United Kingdom)
Ronald Hancock (Canada)
Peter Hemmerich (Germany)
Daniele Hernandez-Verdun (France)
Egon Hidvegi (Hungary)
Pavel Hozak (Czech Republic)
Jun Janigasawa (Japan)
Susana Moreno Diaz de la Espina (Spain)
Thoru Pederson (USA)
Marion Schmidt-Zachman (Germany)
Peter Shaw (United Kingdom)
Nikolajs Sjakste (Latvia)
Karel Smetana (Czech Republic)
Gabor Szabo (Hungary)
Robert Tanguay (Canada)
Mark Thiry (Belgium)
Roel van Driel (The Netherlands)
Anna von Mikecz (Germany)
Piotr Widlak (Poland)
Lars Wieslander (Sweden)
Olga Zatsepina (Russia)

Gabor Szabo, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc.
Chair of Cell Biology
Dept. Biophysics and Cell Biology
University of Debrecen
4032 Debrecen, Egyetem ter 1.

Debrecen, 2012-05-15

Wilhelm Bernhard (1920-1978) was a Swiss cell biologist whose research centered on the nucleus. He pioneered methods of electron microscopy and staining to advance understanding of RNA synthesis in relation to nuclear organization. Beyond the lab, he was a Renaissance man, erudite in art, music and history. He also was passionate about international collaboration in science and his creation of the conferences we now know as the Wilhelm Bernhard Workshops were born in that philosophy, one that endures as we remember him.

Two detailed essays on Wilhelm Bernhard's life and career can be found on the Wilhelm Bernhard Workshop website.

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