Conferences and Workshops

By David Richards

This month has been fairly hectic for me. First, I went to the 16th IUBMB conference in Vancouver on “Signalling Pathways in Development, Disease and Aging”. There were some great talks, including those by Peter Lansdorp, Thomas Pollard, Michael Young and Sergio Grinstein. In addition, on the Tuesday, Dr Charlie Jeynes gave a very well-received talk on “Getting More From Telomere QFISH: Correlation of Super Resolution Microscopy and X-ray Spectroscopy”, followed by my talk on “Engulfment During Phagocytosis: Combining Modelling and Experiment” on the last day.

Second, I organised my “The cytoskeleton and the cell membrane in the immune system” workshop in London. This was a one-day event that took place at the Institute of Physics in London, and focused on the role of the cytoskeleton and the cell membrane in health and disease. This crucial area has numerous biomedical applications, such as cancer, TB and design of drug delivery systems. There was a great turn out with almost 40 people who’d travelled from all over the country, including London, Norwich, Warwick, Sheffield, Exeter and Fife. In the morning and early afternoon, we had a fascinating series of talks from the leading experts in this area.

Martin Howard (JIC, Norwich): “A mechanical bottleneck in FcγR phagocytosis”
Christian Soeller (Exeter): “Imaging of small membrane bound compartments with optical super-resolution and electron microscopy”
Steve Royle (Warwick): “The role of actin in clathrin-mediated endocytosis in human cells”
Simon Johnston (Sheffield): “Actin and membrane dynamics in macrophages before and after phagocytosis”
Andrew Thorley (Imperial): “Modelling uptake and translocation of nanoparticles in the human lung”
Rhoda Hawkins (Sheffield): “The role of biopolymers in ingesting bugs”
David Richards (Exeter): “Engulfment rate and shape dependence in phagocytosis”

This was followed by an engaging round-table discussion that focussed on potential collaborations and funding, and highlighted how this area is ripe for joint work between experimentalists and modellers.

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