On Monday 20th of March 2017, the Norwegian PSC Research Center at Oslo University Hospital and the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology of Kiel University hosted the strategic workshop “HLA Genetics of Bowel Disease” in Oslo. This workshop was partly funded by the German-Norwegian Study Centre (grant money raised by Prof. Tom H. Karlsen and Prof. Andre Franke) and its aim was to further extend and strengthen the network of the very fruitful collaboration between the Kiel and Oslo research groups in the field of immune-mediated bowel diseases by giving the participants the opportunity to discuss current and future joint projects and to exchange expertise. The overall mutual purpose of the participating scientists is to decipher the biological implications of the strong HLA associations at chromosome 6p21 in inflammatory bowel disease and primary sclerosing cholangitis. Currently, the diagnostic methods for inflammatory bowel disease and primary sclerosing cholangitis are only capable of detecting manifest disease and invasive endoscopic procedures are often required. Early detection and monitoring of conserved, disease-specific T and B cells with HLA multimers or antigen-tetramers respectively, could serve as an innovative approach in personalized medicine.