5th Nordic Autophagy Society conference – Copenhagen, 2022

Meeting report of the 5th Annual Nordic Autophagy Society conference in beautiful Copenhagen!

“Autophagy mechanisms, physiology and beyond”

Sept 14th-16th 2022

The 5th Annual Nordic Autophagy Symposium was held on 14th -16th of September in beautiful Copenhagen, Denmark. Seventy-two registered participants came together to present, discuss and enjoy autophagy research for three days in a stimulating and supportive environment.

Held at the Park Inn by Radisson Copenhagen hotel between airport and city center, the conference featured 4 invited keynote lectures, 13 short talks and 2 poster sessions.

Day 1: After a light lunch and the welcoming words by the organizers, the meeting kicked off with a keynote lecture given by Professor Ivan Đikić presenting fascinating insight into ER-phagy and endoplasmic reticulum remodeling. He was followed by four short talks that illustrated “autophagy across kingdoms”, including its role in plants and in viral uptake.

After a short break, the first day concluded with a companionable and engaging poster session that was well-attended and supported the exchange of new ideas and lively discussions.

Day 2: Following breakfast on Day 2, the conference continued with the second keynote lecture, given by Professor Wade Harper who talked about organelle-specific cargo adaptors and the role of autophagy in organelle quality control. His presentation was followed by 5 short talks focusing on the different types of specific and unspecific autophagy, from pexophagy to mitophagy and from neurons to cancer.

After lunch, the social program took all participants on an exciting boat tour through the canals of Copenhagen, complete with tour guide, snacks, and good cheer. The weather was mostly sunny as the participants enjoyed the beautiful sights of Denmark’s capital, with rain falling only after the tour – when everyone had left the shelter of the boat.

Still, a little rain did not diminish everyone’s excitement for the afternoon session which started with a keynote lecture by Professor Claudine Kraft who talked about the role of spatial confinement and avidity on autophagosome formation. Her presentation was followed by a short talk focusing on phosphatases in autophagy regulation, which concluded the afternoon session. The following 1.5 hours were devoted to the second poster session which again garnered good attendance levels and high-quality conversations about past and future research endeavors.

After the poster session it was time for the NAS general assembly, in which the history and current status of NAS was presented, new support for the NAS sponsorship team, the web team, and the twitter management were recruited (Juncal Garcia Garcia, Natalie Kurganovs, Maria Hytti) and the tentative dates for next year’s conference in Finland were decided.

Finally, day 2 of the conference concluded with the conference dinner, followed by a party for all attendants with lively music and great fun.

Day 3: The final day of the conference started with a keynote lecture given by the NAS chair Professor Nikolai Engedal, who showed compelling data on mammalian ATG8 proteins and the benefit and necessity of cargo-based autophagic flux assays. He was followed by three outstanding short talks, which were the last to be held in this year’s conference.

At the conclusion of the conference, awards were handed out to the presenters of the best posters (Thorbjørn Marciniak Nielsen, Ditte Louise Fogde, Michelle Zurek) and best talks (Aida Rodriguez, Katrine Hartfelt, Valentina Cianfanelli) and well-deserved thanks were given to the amazing organizers of this year’s meeting.

The 5th Annual NAS Conference was a celebration of autophagy research, boosting high scientific quality and enabling the exchange of new ideas and the formation of new, valuable connections. Warm thanks to everyone who made this conference the success it was: The organizing team around Francesco Cecconi, Matteo Bordi and Lisa Frankel, the NAS Board, the NAS web masters Behzad Khoshnood and Rubén Gómez-Sánchez, the NAS treasurer Anu Kauppinen, the NAS sponsorship team (Nikolai Engedal, Daniel Hofius, Chara Charsou, Karolina Pircs, Merve Kacal), and the Sponsors (Novo Nordisk Foundation, The Carlsberg Foundation, Danish Cancer Society, Lundbeck Foundation, The company of biologists, Traffic, CDD Press, Cells, BioNordika and Dojindo). A huge thank you also to the invited keynote speakers and all attendants!

See you next year for the 6th Annual NAS conference in Kuopio Finland (31st of May – 2nd of June 2023)!