The Fifteenth International Histocompatibility and Imunogenetics Workshop (15th IHIWS), organized by Maria Gerbase-DeLima and Maria Elisa Moraes, was held in Brazil, in September 2008. The main objective of the 15th IHIWS was to advance the knowledge on the nature of HLA and non-HLA genetic variation in different human populations, on HLA and non-HLA antigens as targets for rejection in solid organ and hematopoetic stem cell transplantation, and on the role of genetic variation in the control of the immune response and in the susceptibility to diseases.
The workshop was organized into four general components, each of them encompassing several projects, many of which were initiated in the framework of previous Workshops and continued in the framework of the next Workshop. Components of the 15th IHIWS were: Anthropology/Genetic Diversity (6 projects), Solid Organ Transplantation (6 projects), Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (2 projects), and Genetic Polymorphisms and Diseases (6 projects). Each project was headed by one or more coordinators, responsible for coordinating the activity of the participant laboratories from all over the world. Analyses and discussions of the projects took place in an informal three-day meeting held in Buzios, a small seaside town near the city of Rio de Janeiro, with the participation of 272 delegates from more than 40 different countries. Afterwards, the results of the projects were formally presented at the Workshop Conference, a following three-day meeting that took place in the city of Rio de Janeiro and was attended by more than 400 delegates.
The results and conclusions of the projects have been published, and are still being prepared for publication, as peer-reviewed papers. The dedicated and enthusiastic participation of so many scientists in the 15th IHIWS showed that working in collaboration is still very much valued by the international HLA community.