Starting in 2007, the NCMLS institute has organised a yearly international 'New Frontiers' symposium. The theme of each symposium differs by covering a specific topic within one of thematic areas of NCMLS. This year's symposium, entitled, Bioenergetics: live and let die, was held on the 16th and 17th of November 2010 and attracted visitors to the institute from across Europe, Asia and America. In total more than 300 people attended both days of the symposium. This years' symposium was organized in collaboration in collaboration with the Institute for Genetic and Metabolic Diseases (IGMD).
Bioenergetics - the energy transformations and exchanges on which all living systems depend - concerns the generation of energy-rich compounds such as ATP from our food, and the use of this energy for a large number of cellular functions. Environmental and genetic disturbances in cellular energy homeostasis are of increasing medical importance. Examples include drug-induced mitochondrial dysfunction, nutrient deficiencies, hypoxia-related injuries and orphan diseases like oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) disorders. New Frontiers in Bioenergetics explored the latest exciting developments in energy production and consumption with a focus on (i) Bioenergetics: structure, function & regulation, (ii) Pathobiology and treatment of mitochondrial disease, (iii) Energy & growth (dys)regulation, and (iv) Energy & aging. A large panel of internationally renowned scientists that have contributed significantly to the understanding of energy production in health and disease were invited to present their latest research findings.
The symposium was officially opened by Jan Smeitink, Director IGMD, who welcomed the speakers, guests of honour and registrants. The first speaker was Immo Scheffler (Division of Biology, University of California, San Diego) who gave an introduction to ATP, the electron transport chain and the various complexes involved followed by his latest research into respiration-deficient mutant cells in tissue culture as model systems for studying the assembly of the electron transport chain. After the opening lecture, Ulrich Brandt (Frankfurt University. Frankfurt, Germany) gave his recent work on deciphering the structure of mitochondrial complex I using x-ray crystallography.Leo Nijtmans (RUNMC, Nijmegen, The Netherlands) continued with his talk on the assembly of human complex I (pathways, crucial steps and regulation) as well as complex I chaperones necessary to form the complex. The first session was rounded off by Vamsi Mootha (Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA) who described a mix of tandem mass spectrometry, large-scale GFP tagging, and computational analysis to systematically characterize the mitochondrial proteome and how these proteins go awry in mitochondrial disease. Furthermore, Anu Wartiovaara (Biomedicum Helsinki, University of Helsinki, Finland) described her omics approaches to reveal clues for mitochondrial disease diagnosis and pathogenesis.
Session 2 - Pathobiology and treatment
of mitochondrial disease - was opened by Doug Turnbull, (Newcastle University, Newcastle
upon Tyne, UK) who gave an overview of the clinical features and
strategies to combat mitochondrial DNA disorders. Massimo Zeviani (National Neurologic Institute
C. Besta, Milan, Italy) discussed pathogenic mechanisms unraveled
by new mitochondrial syndromes. The scientific program of the day
was closed by Carlos Moraes (University of Miami Miller
School of Medicine, Miami, USA) who presented his research findings
into OXPHOS dysfunction in the striatum.
The first day was brought to a climactic close with a party at Wijnfort Lent with live music.
The first session of the second day
covered energy growth and (dys)regulation. The session was opened
Wallace (University of Pennsylvania, USA) about the
mitochondrial-bioenergetic etiology of complex disease, followed by
Eyal Gottlieb (Beatson Institute for Cancer
Research, Cancer Research UK, Glasgow) about Mitochondrial tumour
suppressors: novel pathways, new targets. Paul Hwang (Translational Medicine Branch
NHLBI-NIH, USA) discussed his work on p53 regulation of
mitochondrial function and cell survival. This was followed by Bruce Spiegelman (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute,
Boston, USA) who described his latest data of the transcriptional
pathways controlling energy expenditure through regulation of
mitochondrial function. Lorenzo Galluzzi (Institut Gustave Roussy,
Paris, France) presented work on Vitamin B6 metabolism affects
lung cancer cell death.
The final session covered energy and aging and included talks from Anne Brunet (Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, USA), Linda Partridge (University College London, London, UK) and Nils Larsson (Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, Cologne, Germany). The closing talk was by Brian Kennedy (University of Washington, Seattle, USA) on conserved pathways linking nutrient signaling to aging.
Plans are well underway for the fifth 'New Frontiers' symposium on ion channels. The symposium will be held on the 14th & 15th November 2011. Keynote speakers include Nobel laureate Erwin Neher, Bill Catterall and Spinoza winner, Michael Ferrari.