About 200 researchers from more than 40 cities and a dozen countries have taken part in the annual biomedical conference ‘Fundamental Science and Clinical Medicine – Human and Health’. It was held at St Petersburg University for the twenty third time.

The idea of the conference ‘Human and Health’ belonged to Yury Natochin, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Professor at St Petersburg University. He founded and headed the Faculty of Medicine at St Petersburg University 25 years ago. The event took place for the first time in 1997 when it brought together academics, students and their colleagues from the universities of St Petersburg. Now it is a large medical community and scientific forum which is well-known in the world. Every year, it brings together about 700 participants – researchers of different ages – from schoolchildren to famous scientists not only from Russia but also from Europe, Asia, America and Africa.

This year the conference was held online. During the plenary session, lectures were delivered by top-level scientists: Raul Gainetdinov, a pharmacologist, Director of the Institute of Translational Biomedicine and Professor at St Petersburg University; and Jozélio Freire de Carvalho, a rheumatologist, Professor at the Institute for Health Sciences at the Federal University of Bahia (Salvador, Brazil).

Raul Gainetdinov, a scientist from St Petersburg University, presented the results of research into the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric diseases. The studies were carried out on transgenic animal models – genetically modified rats.

Mice and rats have almost 99% of the genes that have counterparts in humans. This makes it possible to simulate on them many diseases known in humans.

According to Raul Gainetdinov, a key component of translational medicine is the creation of such models, followed by the identification of therapeutic targets and the search for new drugs.

Professor Jozélio Freire de Carvalho spoke about the neuropsychiatric manifestations of antiphospholipid syndrome that had been recently described by researchers. It is a common but understudied systemic autoimmune disease, in which autoantibodies cause blood clots in the vessels of various organs, including the brain. Among the typical neurological and psychiatric manifestations of this syndrome are: strokes; transient attacks of cerebral ischemia; convulsions; epileptic seizures; dementia; cognitive deficits; migraines; psychosis; obsessive-compulsive disorder; and phobias. Elucidation of the disease process makes it possible to treat properly and prevent these disorders.

The idea of joint work within the framework of one scientific space of experienced and novice researchers is principal for the conference ‘Human and Health’ and forms the continuity of generations of scientists.

It is at this conference that many research supervisors of today’s young participants began their path to science.

Leonid Churilov, Head of the Department of Pathology, St Petersburg University

The youngest participants in the conference were students of Pavlov Lyceum No 623 (St Petersburg). ‘What is important in a project on oncological education of schoolchildren prepared by lyceum students Sofia Pavlenko and Sofia Ganiushkina is their desire to work constructively on a socially significant academic and research task and the consistency and practical significance of their efforts,’ said Leonid Churilov. 60 speakers – students, doctoral students and young scientists, doctors and teachers – presented their works on virtual platforms. There were 11 thematic panels devoted to topical fundamental and applied issues of experimental, clinical, preventive, social medicine and related biomedical sciences.

Also, within the framework of one of the panels, a satellite symposium of the International Society for Pathophysiology was held. It was timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of pathophysiology in Croatia and the anniversary of the Faculty of Medicine at St Petersburg University.

It is pathophysiology that studies the causes, mechanisms and models of diseases and pathological processes, serves as the forerunner and foundation of such a significant concept today as translational medicine.

Leonid Churilov, Head of the Department of Pathology, St Petersburg University

‘It integrates biomedical and clinical knowledge and serves as a bridge between scientific and medical judgement. A good doctor of any specialty is conceptually a bit of a pathophysiologist,’ noted Leonid Churilov.

Summarising the results of the conference, a collection of abstracts was published. It includes abstracts of 238 participants from Russia, Belarus, Brazil, Vietnam, Iran, Kazakhstan, Serbia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Croatia. Click here to read them online.

The Russian–Croatian seminar on topical problems of clinical pathophysiology was held within the framework of the conference ‘Human and Health’ for the fourth time. This year, it was attended by: academics and students from two partner universities – St Petersburg University and the University of Zagreb; and by young researchers from Serbia and Belarus.

Among the promising results of the conference are: ideas for joint research by young scientists from Russia and Croatia, in particular, into the clinical pathophysiology of a new coronavirus infection; a promising project for holding the next school-conference ‘Academy of Autoimmunity’ in Dubrovnik, Croatia, which has been held twice at St Petersburg University; and in the near future, on 23-26 October 2020, the online school on pathophysiology ‘Homeodynamic Health/Disease Continuum’. Following the results of the event, there was an exchange of research works between Russian and Croatian colleagues for publication in specialised journals.

According to Leonid Churilov, the conference is of great importance for developing: biomedical and clinical schools of thought at the University; and corporate culture and career guidance of the Faculty of Medicine at St Petersburg University. ‘Such traditional events that bring together people with the psychology of researchers – from schoolchildren to academics – generate the creative power of science,’ he emphasised.