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Physiology 2019: Something for everyone


Physiology 2019: Something for everyone


Guy Bewick, University of Aberdeen, UK

Whatever your interest in physiology, be it in research of systems (cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal, neural, etc.), tissues (epithelia, adipose) or nuclear receptors, or be it in teaching, we have it covered at Physiology 2019 in Aberdeen. If the Annual Conference does not quench your thirst for knowledge, why not extend your stay in Scotland’s north-east to attend one of the five Satellite Symposia covering fatigue, obesity, cancer drug cardiotoxicity, and renal and placental physiology.

The Annual Prize Lecture by Silvia Arber (Basel Biozentrum, Switzerland) will describe her elegant work elucidating the function, assembly and plasticity of motor circuits. The Hodgkin-Huxley-Katz Lecture by Stephen Traynelis (Emory University, Georgia, USA) reveals the characteristics of neuronal glutamate receptors in health and disease. In the Joan Mott Prize Lecture, Claire Hills (University of Lincoln, UK) presents important discoveries in diabetic nephropathy and kidney disease mechanisms. And, finally, the Sharpey-Schafer Lecture by endocrinologist Roger Smith (University of Newcastle, Australia), a leading expert on pathophysiology of human pregnancy, will expound on the idiosyncrasies, interactions and inner workings of the body across species but especially in humans.

A particular teaching highlight will be Dee Silverthorn, whose textbook is a staple of many physiology degree programmes, who will provide insights into best teaching practice from an international perspective.

Aberdeen’s local representation is by Lora Heisler, recent winner of the Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award from the American Diabetes Association. She will present the Annual Public Lecture describing her work on the neural control of appetite, looking for new targets to tackle the current global epidemic of obesity.

So, please come and join these world-class speakers from across the globe and all stages of their careers who are coming to sample the renowned Scottish hospitality. We look forward to welcoming you to Aberdeen for a memorable summer scientific conference.

Attend our Satellite Symposia, free to Physiology 2019 attendees

Our Satellite Symposia increase the involvement of underrepresented sub-disciplines of physiology at our flagship Annual Conference, Physiology 2019. This year, join us for one of the following five Satellite Symposia. Free to Physiology 2019 attendees, all held on Sunday, 7 July 2019. Keep reading for more detail about each meeting, and don’t forget to sign up when registering for Physiology 2019 on our website

Cellular Mechanisms of Anticancer-Induced Cardiotoxicity Organisers: Susan Currie & Margaret Cunningham from the University of Strathclyde, UK

Cardiovascular disease and cancer are the leading causes of death in the industrialised world. Anti-cancer therapies have dramatically improved over recent years with increased patient survival rates following diagnosis. Kinase inhibitors in particular have had a major impact on cancer patient survival. However, a number of these agents have been reported to cause serious adverse effects on cardiac function, leading to increased numbers of cancer patients with cardiovascular complications that can, in some cases, lead to death. The true extent of the overall risk to cancer patients is unknown, and the underlying mechanism(s) responsible for the cardiotoxic effects remain to be fully identified.

Strategies to prevent or mitigate cardiotoxicity resulting from cancer treatment are urgently needed to ensure the best cancer care possible. Future management of anticancer-drug-related cardiotoxicity will rely on improved understanding of the cellular effects of these agents in the heart. This, combined with improved biomarker identification along with cardiac imaging for monitoring purposes, will be crucial in an overarching strategy to design effective targeted cardioprotective agents. This symposium will be a forum to bring together basic scientists, cardiologists and oncologists to present recent findings that will work towards this overall goal. Ultimately, collaboration across these disciplines will be essential for promotion of evidence-based research that can relate to clinical practice in the area of anticancer cardiotoxicity.

Fatigue as a Limitation to Performance Organisers: Derek Ball, University of Aberdeen, UK, and Ron Maughan, University of St Andrews, UK

The complex nature of fatigue is a function of single or multiple mechanisms that result in the failure to produce or maintain the required or expected muscle force/power output. Models to explain the underlying causes of fatigue range from single cell, to organ, to whole body examples and bring together the many different aspects of physiology represented through The Physiological Society.

This symposium will discuss potential limitations to performance imposed by the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, muscle metabolism and the central nervous system and how these factors are modulated by training, environment and nutritional status. In addition, a discussion of the strategies aimed at offsetting fatigue from the perspective of training adaptation and nutritional and pharmacological intervention will be invaluable.

Physiology of Obesity and Diabetes Organisers: Lora Heisler, University of Aberdeen, UK, Peter Aldiss, University of Birmingham, UK, Daniel Brayson, University College London, UK, and Jo Lewis, University of Cambridge, UK

Obesity is an increasingly common disorder of energy homeostasis and has become a leading cause of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, human morbidity and mortality worldwide. Exciting new scientific discovery continues to propel the understanding of the molecular, cellular and neural mechanisms underlying the control of metabolic health. Dysregulation of these and other processes underpin the development and progression of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

This symposium will bring together breaking research advances from the basic science and clinical realms with the objective of sharing novel insights relevant to human obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Specifically, the meeting seeks to integrate existing knowledge with novel discoveries on appetite, cognitive drivers of feeding behaviour, the gut-brain axis, the neurobiology of ingestive behaviour and energy expenditure, adipogenesis and lipolysis, glucose sensing and glycaemic control, cardiovascular disease and the genetics of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Several new areas will also be addressed, including state-of-art technologies for neuroscience and physiological research, ageing, anorexia and metabolic resilience.

The primary goal of this meeting is to provide cutting-edge research related to the control of body weight and glucose homeostasis. The maintenance of stable body weight involves the biological process energy homeostasis that matches cumulative energy intake to expenditure. The discovery of critical integrative systems that underpin energy homeostasis and glucose metabolism has important implications for the future of obesity and type 2 diabetes treatment. This symposium will highlight the latest advances in the cellular and molecular mechanisms whereby brain circuits modulating physiological appetite and the cognition of food intake are integrated with systems controlling gut function and insulin sensitivity. We will explore the cross-regulation of these circuits by adiposity- and nutrient-related signals.

Renal Physiology: Recent Advances and Emerging Concepts Organisers: Morag K Mansley and Robert W Hunter from the University of Edinburgh, UK

Renal physiology is flourishing in the UK and beyond. In recent years, physiologists have made fundamental advances: we now know the molecular basis of oedema formation in nephrotic syndrome, how renal sodium and potassium excretion can be controlled independently and how glomerular capillary permeability is regulated. We are also learning much about the influence of the kidney on whole-organism physiology, in particular blood pressure homeostasis including advances in understanding the (renal) mechanism underpinning circadian control of blood pressure.

These recent advances have not only allowed us to better understand renal physiology, but have opened up an array of potential targets for novel therapies in a range of kidney diseases and fluid-electrolyte disorders. The clinical impact of renal physiology research has been demonstrated recently where Vallon and colleagues published a series of papers showing that sodium-glucose co-transporter inhibitors (SGLT2i) can attenuate glomerular hyperfiltration in diabetic rodent models. In 2017-2018, large-scale clinical trials demonstrated that these agents can delay progression of diabetic nephropathy, meaning that – in large part because of basic renal physiology research – we now have the first new effective treatment for this common condition in 15 years. This symposium aims to bring together scientists from across the UK and beyond to discuss the latest advances in renal physiology.

The Placenta and Maternal Metabolic Regulation in Health and Disease Organisers: Luis Sobrevia, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile, Raheela Khan, University of Nottingham, UK and Abigail Fowden, University of Cambridge, UK

During pregnancy, many physiological changes occur in the mother, which are designed to support fetal growth and to sustain the baby during lactation. These include changes in the cardiovascular, pulmonary, immune and metabolic systems. A failure to appropriately adapt maternal physiology can lead to pregnancy complications, including abnormal birth weight, pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes, which can be traced to poor placental development in early pregnancy. The placenta is the place for bidirectional materno-fetal crosstalk involving transfer of metabolic substrates and epigenetic regulation, about which little is known. Amino acids, lipids, glucose and other substrates such as nucleosides and nucleotides are vital for fetal growth and maturation. However, our understanding of the physiological and pathophysiological aspects of placenta transport mechanisms and the potential consequences for fetal physiology in diseases of pregnancy is still fragile.

The overall goal of this Satellite Symposium is to explore the nature and wider biological significance of placental endocrine function in adapting maternal physiology during pregnancy to support fetal growth in both normal and compromised environments. Discussions will cover insights into regulatory epigenetic mechanisms within the placenta, placental structure and vascular/trophoblast function, contribution of the placenta to disease, placental transfer of nutrients and possible translation to the clinic, and potential consequences of human placenta pathophysiological transfer of nutrients for fetus and newborn health.

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