In 2020, the hepatopancreaticobiliary (“HPB”) departments of the AMC and VUmc were formally merged. This December, the new department hosted its first ever joint symposium, called “HPBeter.” Through the Amsterdam UMC HPBeter symposium we hoped to familiarize ourselves with each other’s research activities and stimulate collaboration between all disciplines that are involved in HPB research. Although we were unable to bring everyone physically together due to COVID-19 restrictions, we believe the “hybrid” HPBeter symposium was an inspiring day and a success.

The symposium hosted colleagues from the gastroenterology and hepatology, radiology, pathology, oncology, surgery, and translational lab research disciplines. Leading principal investigators presented inspiring overviews of their research lines which spanned the fields of biliary-, hepatocellular-, and pancreatic malignancies, as well as, colorectal liver metastases, benign liver tumors and translation lab research. In addition, PhD students gave in depth presentations on ongoing research and published work. Furthermore, the overarching role of the Cancer Center Amsterdam (CCA), Amsterdam Gastroenterology, Endocrinology and Metabolism Institute (AGEM) and the HPB Biobank was reiterated. Finally, the day was topped off by our keynote speaker, Professor Marjolein van Egmond, who advised us “how to survive in the media” in the event that our departments’ merger leads to the emergence of famous researchers.

Overall, this fusion has brought together experts of all fields involved in HPB research. We are uniquely positioned to measure ourselves with other top-level academic institutions, to keep improving our HPB research and most importantly, to improve our patient care.

We would like to thank our speakers, moderators and the audience for their efforts and participation. On to the next HPBeter symposium, and on to a ‘Beter HPB at the Amsterdam UMC’.

The organizing committee: Rutger-Jan Swijnenburg, Gitta Kuipers, Linda van den Noord, Nina Wesdorp, Charlotte van Veldhuisen, Jeska Fritzsche, Remco Kersten, Mark Dings, Boris Janssen and Esther Pijnappel

Text by Remco Kersten.