As President of the EBRS, I would like to invite you to the XIII Congress of the European Biological Rhythms Society from 18 – 22 August 2013.

Sleep pathologies have reached epidemic proportions over the past decades, and most people in industrialised regions suffer from chronic social jetlag,  a condition describing the increasing discrepancy between the timing of our body clocks and that of our social clocks. These syndromes result in a variety of health disorders, including sleep, cardiovascular and metabolic pathologies, digestive disorders and even increased cancer risks (as shown for shift-workers).  In addition, they drastically decrease our performance. The major factors underlying social jetlag, and thereby also chronic sleep deficits, are related to our modern life style: living indoors with low light exposures throughout the day and self-controlled lighting at night. These modern conditions have drastically delayed our body clocks compared to our rural ancestry while social times still keep their traditional schedules.

These important societal and medical issues – together with the underlying mechanisms explored in model organisms – will be the focus of the upcoming EBRS meeting. Circadian and sleep research are currently among the most important areas in public health and they are increasingly joining their research efforts (the European Sleep Research Society ESRS and EBRS frequently organise joint symposia at their conferences).

Their basic and applied research addresses a complex network of factors contributing to the aetiology of sleep and health problems, ranging from the chronobiotic effects of light and melatonin, work/school times and demographic changes to habits of sleeping, and eating. Medical practice is now greatly benefiting from this knowledge, not least from the delivery of therapeutics at the appropriate time to enhance clinical outcomes. In little over 20 years we have moved from “black box” speculations to real mechanistic insight and clinical application. New knowledge in these areas will be presented at the XIII EBRS Congress in Munich.

We hope to see 500 delegates to attend the meeting covering topics over a broad range of disciplines. The Congress will be structured around symposia, plenary lectures, poster sessions and hot topics sessions. All will be led by the foremost international researchers and clinical scientists. EBRS Congresses are famous for their interdisciplinary environment in which researchers at every level can learn, generate novel ideas and form new collaborations. Our society has a strong tradition of supporting young scientists (PhDs and early post-docs) with travel fellowships and awards. The meeting’s preliminary programme is posted on the ERBS congress website (here) where you can also obtain further details of the society.

Till Roenneberg
President of the EBRS
President of the World Federation of Chronobiological Societies
Institute for Medical Psychology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich

14/02/2013 Susanne Kantermann