Most physiological processes and diseases, including neoplasia, occur in heterogeneous tissues, which are composed of different cell types interconnected by multiple interactions. Understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying such processes therefore requires a separate analysis of these different compounds. Since a few years laser-assisted microdissection of cells and tissues has provided for the first time a powerful tool towards achieving this goal. However, whereas microdissection itself is rather easy to perform, subsequent analyses of the small amounts of DNA, RNA or protein isolated from few cells has turned out the most difficult and limiting step on the way towards the acquisition of novel and reliable data.
The improvement of these methods is a current challenge and will be decisive for the future of microdissection.ln Europe there are several excellent research groups in the microdissection field some of which are leading on an international level. Therefore the objective of the proposed Euroconference is the realization of a state of the art meeting during which these scientists are brought together and in contact to young researchers in order to propagate knowledge about microdissection and its downstream tools throughout Europe. Since several industrial key companies elaborate tools for microdissection and its downstream applications invited lecturers shall not only comprise scientists from public research organisations but also from such key companies in order to promote a strong interaction between academic institutions and industry, which is potentially very supportive for successful research on microdissection. The approach is thougt to considerably promote European research in the challenging microdissection field.