The course was aimed at elucidating some of the molecular pathways involved in the progression of normal melanocytes to melanoma cells. The course had a combination of teaching lectures, research talks and practicals.
The first part dealed with the analysis of the structural characteristics of the melanocytes, their phenotypic changes when melanoma develops, therapeutic overview and an update on the current genetic manipulation methodologies, which might be applied to these cells under specific growth conditions.
The second part focused on the use of novel technologies for melanocyte and melanoma analysis and on the discussion of mouse models in the context of development and migration.
Practical sections were devoted to: 1) the definition of skin cell types and the analysis of the phenotypic characteristics of malignancy; 2) the acquisition of the protocols of melanocyte and melanoma processing and culture and 3) the preparation of tissue microarrays from tumoral biopsis.
This was a course for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and young researchers willing to translate knowledge of the biology of melanocytic cells to a practical approach in the field. Invited lecturers presented questions, approaches and results from their ongoing research in the field.
The course was kept small, with a maximum of 40 participants. Preference was given to active participants selected on the basis of their submitted curricula.
Luisa Lanfrancone (IFOM-IEO Campus, Milan, Italy)