The Eighth Scientific Meeting of the International Leptospirosis Society will be held on October 8-11, 2013 at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan. The site of the 2013 meeting was selected to commemorate the discovery of the causative agent of leptospirosis by Professor Ryokichi Inada and colleagues at Kyushu University one hundred years ago. The Scientific Meetings of the International Leptospirosis Society (ILS) have been the only international conferences devoted exclusively to the field of leptospirosis research. One of the strengths of the ILS Scientific Meeting is the wide range of scientific, diagnostic, and clinical expertise and interests of the attendees, all linked by a cental interest in leptospirosis. A strong effort was made to develop an innovative program for the 2013 ILS Scientific Meeting that covers the breadth of leptospiral research, with invited speakers in sessions focused on epidemiology of leptospirosis in human and animal populations, molecular microbiology and gene regulation, clinical paradigms in human and veterinary leptospirosis, innovations in leptospiral diagnostics, leptospirosis immunology and vaccines, and new insights in leptospiral pathogenesis. Firsts for the 2013 conference are our decisions to include speakers chosen from submitted abstracts in each of the conference's sessions and to include them in round-table discussions at each of the morning sessions. Each of the previous International Leptospirosis Society Scientific Meetings has been highly successful, receiving high praise by attendees, forging new collaborations, providing a forum for presenting state-of-the-art research on these bacteria, and helping to set new research directions. As in previous conferences, we expect attendance at the 2013 conference to include faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and industrial scientists. A broad spectrum of scientists representing different research interests, geographic locations, and seniority will be invited to attend. For 2013, special efforts will be made to ensure strong attendance of young investigators (graduate students, post-docs, and junior faculty), women, and underrepresented minorities. The oral and poster presentations are organized to provide many opportunities for discussion, the exchange of ideas, and development of collaborations. Funding from the National Institutes of Health is requested to partially offset the travel and registration expenses of the participating graduate students, fellows, and junior faculty members from resource poor countries.
Leptospirosis has emerged as a globally important infectious disease threat in both developing and developed countries. Rapid advances in the field have taken place in recent years, with the integration of modern genetics and immunology into experimental elucidation of host-pathogen interactions. NIAID support for the 8th Scientific Meeting of the International Leptospirosis Society will advance the field in supporting the most promising trainees and by facilitating communications among the internationally-based researchers in this field.