HinMax is a series of 3-yearly conferences designed to raise scientific and public awareness of the importance of the bacterial respiratory pathogens Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis. In this respect, HinMax2011 was the second of these triennial conferences, being held in Curacao between 10th and 11th August 2011, and attracting more than 25 participants, with 23 presentations being held. Participants included representatives from both academia and industry, originating from countries as far apart as Australia, Belgium, Canada, The Netherlands, and The United States of America.
With regard to conference content, HinMax2011 session titles covered the subjects of: 1) Virulence mechanisms, 2) Genomics, 3) Epidemiology and 4) Immune Response and Vaccines; with lively discussion and debate between the participants during all sessions. Three guest speakers (all experts in their fields) presented to the participants the newest information on: i) the mechanisms and importance of H. influenzae / M. catarrhalis polymicrobial infections, ii) the rise of invasive non-typeable H. influenzae, and iii) the use of comparative genomics as a tool to understand the evolution and pathogenesis of Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis. As well as presenting actual scientific research associated with these two bacterial respiratory pathogens, the conference also allows the possibility to create new research collaborations between the participants. In fact, collaboration building is one of the key aims of HinMax conferences, and HinMax2011 built further on previous collaborations formulated during HinMax2008 (which took place in Rotterdam, The Netherlands). One of these major collaborations (between USA and Dutch microbiologists) resulted in the generation of some of the most comprehensive M. catarrhalis comparative whole genome sequencing data published yet. The support of the Stichting Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, The Netherlands, was very much appreciated by the organizing committee and participants of HinMax2011, who were all enthusiastic about the next HinMax conference (HinMax2014 possibly to be held in the USA). As head of the organizing committee, I hope to see you in 2014!
Dr. John P. Hays