The purpose of Global Arthritis Research Network (GARN) is to promote and encourage scientific interactions and collaborations that facilitate the progress of basic and clinical research in arthritis and related conditions. Last October, the 7th meeting of GARN was held in Zurich, Switzerland. The program - organized by Steffen Gay and Peter E Lipsky, associate editor and editor-in-chief, respectively, of Arthritis Research & Therapy - was designed to provide the attendees with the newest insights into molecular biology related to musculoskeletal diseases. The opening session, entitled 'Genetics - epigenetics - proteomics', was followed by sessions on 'Signaling pathways', 'Molecular immunology', 'Cellular autoimmunity', and 'Cell biology'. The final session, on 'Updates in rheumatology', ended with an outlook on novel modulators of pain. During the breaks and social gatherings, students and young fellows had the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the novel aspects of advanced technologies in molecular research. Fellows from the Center of Experimental Rheumatology at the Department of Rheumatology at the University Hospital in Zurich prepared notes from each session.