Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies, or prion diseases, are known to affect humans and animals, and have been known to exist for centuries. The recent spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in North America and the discovery of the first case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in the US has once again demonstrated the impact of these diseases on society and industry. <P> Although the exact nature of the infectious agent causing spongiform encephalopathies remains to be defined, circumstantial evidence indicates that the agent is devoid of nucleic acids and represents a new class of infectious agents. Progress in structural and molecular biology, genetics and epidemiology has improved our understanding of these diseases in the last years. These studies have advanced the pathophysiology of prion diseases and opened the possibility to assess therapeutical principles aimed at preventing these diseases. However, essential questions such as the true nature of the infectious agent and the molecular mechanisms leading to dementia await elucidation. <P> The goal of the proposed meeting is to bring together (1) leading experts from different fields of prion disease research, (2) physicians, (3) postdocs, and (4) students in order to discuss recent advances, and in order to devise new approaches on solving problems posed by these enigmatic diseases.