In the 53 years since the discovery of anti-DNA autoantibodies in lupus [1, 2, 3] , recalcitrant questions have been pondered and possible answers have been debated. The discovery of anti-DNA autoantibodies presented many puzzles: How is immunological tolerance to native B-form DNA broken? What elicits characteristic systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) autoantibodies? Which of the diverse anti-nuclear reactivities are pathogenic? What is the role of autoantibodies in the clinical presentation of disease? How do genetic predisposition and environmental triggers contribute to SLE? These questions were brought into focus by Professor David Stollar in an introductory presentation to an intense, three-day meeting set among the rugged and inspiring scenery of the Norwegian arctic coastline (the Scientific Program is included as supplemental File 1). Other participants presented and discussed topics directed to understanding the origin and clinico-pathological impact of autoantibodies to chromatin and phospholipid antigens. In the following, several aspects of the workshop are discussed.