Call for papers on “Autophagy in Cancer" – a Special Issue of Biology

Guest editors: Nikolai Engedal and Mario Tschan

Submission deadline: November 30th 2019 December 31st 2019 (extended)

Submission of original articles and review articles are welcome.

Read more and how to submit your work here:

About the Journal:

Biology is an open access MDPI journal.

Rapid review and publication process. Indexed on PubMed.

Scopus cite score: 4.42. 1st Impact factor will be published in 2020 (expected to be similar to the Scopus cite score).


Biology (ISSN 2079-7737)

NAS Lab Exchange Grant Reports

One of the aims of the Nordic Autophagy Society (NAS) is to promote excellent research in the autophagy field. To achieve this goal, the NAS offer NAS Lab Exchange Grants (, giving the opportunity for a research stay in another group in a period from 5 to 90 days. These research exchanges allow the application of methodologies which are not available in the NAS member’s laboratory, and eventually they will facilitate valuable collaborations between research groups. Recently, 2 NAS members, Dr. Pauline Verlhac and Dr. Yahyah Aman, have been awarded with the NAS Lab Exchange Grants, and their corresponding scientific reports can be read below.

– Pauline Verlhac (University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands)

WIPIng out Flu: Role of WIPI2 in restricting Influenza A virus

Host: Prof. Jörn Dengjel (University of Fribourg, Switzerland)

Duration of visit: 7 days (June 16th-23rd 2019)

The ultimate goal of the project is to decipher how WIPI2 controls viral replication, using influenza A virus (IAV) as a relevant clinical model. Therefore, we plan to use an unbiased and broad approach to identify potential WIPI2 binding partners involved in the control of IAV infection. To do so, we have used stable isotope labelling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC)-based quantitative mass spectrometry (MS) with proximity-dependent biotin labelling by fusing WIPI2 with APEX2 in order to identify interacting proteins in both infected and non-infected cells. To determine which WIPI2 neighbours are regulated by IAV infection, we combined APEX2 with SILAC-based MS. Neighbours identified thanks to this Lab Exchange will now be tested for their impact on IAV replication by siRNA interference and their interaction with WIPI2 confirmed by IP. The work was realised with the help of Devanarayanan Siva Sankar, who taught the experimental part, and Professor Jörn Dengjel for the statistical data analysis. The exchange allowed me to implement a new and innovative technique into our laboratory as well as to strengthen the collaboration between our two laboratories.

From left to right: Devanarayanan Siva Sankar, Dr Pauline Verlhac and Prof Jörn Dengjel

– Dr. Yahyah Aman (University of Oslo, Norway)

Is mitophagy protective against tau aggregation in Alzheimer’s disease?

Host: Dr. William A. McEwan (University of Cambridge, United Kingdom)

Duration of visit: One month (May 6th to June 7th 2019)

Mitochondrial quality is tightly regulated by mitophagy, in which damaged mitochondria are degraded and recycled. However, the underlying mechanism remains elusive. We wished to investigate how mitophagy inhibits p-tau using a novel in-vitro system. For this purpose, an overseas visit to Dr McEwan’s lab was arranged in order to acquire and apply high-content quantitative assays for measuring cytosolic tau aggregation in situ. This assay not only allows to assess the impact of mitophagy inducers on the development of p-tau aggregates; but also provide a platform to evaluate whether mitophagy can aid in degradation of already established tau aggregates, which further enhances the translational relevance. The assay was used with success during my stay and already provided some interesting results. In collaboration with Dr McEwan’s lab, we will further explore on the underlying molecular mechanisms that contribute to p-tau pathogenesis with the perspective of the mitophagy and its role using this exciting seeded aggregation of tau model system.

The McEwan group visited by Dr. Yahyah Aman in May-June 2019

NAS Conference Grant awardees presented their work at the 2019 EMBO Workshop on Autophagy

The EMBO Autophagy conference was held this year in Crieff, Scotland (UK) and lasted 5 days starting the 26th of August 2019. The EMBO is the biggest autophagy conference in Europe and is held every second year. This conference gathers all researchers working on autophagy from various fields: from molecular mechanisms in yeast to immunity and translational research on cancer or ageing, making it the ideal conference to discuss novel research with young and experienced researchers alike.

This year, the Nordic Autophagic Society awarded two NAS Conference Grants to two young researchers attending the EMBO conference: PhD student Marisa Di Monaco and post-doc Karolina Pircs. Marisa presented her thesis work focusing on the characterization of the molecular mechanisms driving the induction of autophagy in the nucleus during a short talk. Karolina presented her poster on the link between autophagy impairments in neurons and Huntington’s disease.

Both praised the length of the conference, which allowed them ample time for discussions with their peers and expanding their connections with researchers from all over the world. They greatly appreciated the various keynotes from prominent researchers and the thematic organization of the sessions that painted “stories being told chronologically across the field” and thus “integrate[d] diverse perspectives on the function of autophagy”.

If you are also planning to attend an autophagy-related international conference to present your work and take part in enriching discussions with your peers, you can apply for a NAS Conference Grant here.

PhD student Marisa Di Monaco presents her short talk “Self-regulation of autophagy genes by Atg8a and its interacting partners YL-1, Sequoia, Sir2 and DOR in Drosophila”

Post-doc Karolina Pircs presented her poster “Modelling autophagy impairments in Huntington’s disease using directly reprogrammed patient-derived neurons”


From May 22nd to May 24th 2019, the 3rd Nordic Autophagy Society (NAS) Conference/8th Nordic Autophagy took place in Utrecht, the heart of the newest NAS country member (The Netherlands).

Held in the historical Bartholomeus Gasthuis, and featuring nearly 100 participants, the conference was opened by a keynote from Felix Randow (Cambridge, UK) on intracellular defense against bacteria, highlighting the latest advances on the ubiquitin-mediated autophagic degradation of cytosolic bacteria. Vojo Deretic (Alburquerque, USA) was also present and gave a keynote on how autophagy, by various ways, plays a crucial and central role in the defense against cytosolic pathogens. Another keynote was given by Carmine Settembre (Naples, Italy), which was focused on the regulation of ER-phagy (degradation of endoplasmic reticulum by autophagy) during cell development and differentiation. The final keynote was presented by Tor-Erik Rusten (Oslo, Norway), who demonstrated how studying the fruit fly taught us much about the intrinsic relationship between tumor growth and autophagy.

The conference also featured 16 shorts talks given by PhD students, post-docs and principal investigators, as well as nearly 60 poster presentations. A broad range of autophagy research topics were covered, including role of autophagy in different neuropathies, immunity or cancer, among others. Insights in the molecular mechanism of this pathway were presented in several models (S. cerevisiae, A. thaliana, mice, human cells…) as well as autophagy-independent functions of the Atg proteins.

Prizes were granted to the best speaker and the two best posters thanks to our sponsors, Dojindo Molecular Technologies and The FEBS Journal. Alexandra Cloherty (Amsterdam University Medical Center, NL) won the Best Speaker prize with her presentation “TRIM5α-mediated autophagy: where HIV-1 restriction and molecular inflammation meet”. The posters prizes went to Kyra Defourny (Utrecht University, NL) and Sólveig Hlín Brynjólfsdóttir (Danish Cancer Society Research Center, DK) for their posters “The leader protein of Encephalomyocarditis virus blocks autophagic flux to promote the release of virions inside extracellular vesicles” and “Uncovering regulation of stress-induced ribosome turnover by RNA-binding proteins”.

Alexandra Cloherty receives the Best Speaker prize sponsored by Dojindo Molecular Technologies from NAS Chair Nikolai Engedal.

Sólveig Hlín Brynjólfsdóttir (left) and Kyra Defourny (right) receive the Best Poster prizes sponsored by The FEBS Journal from NAS Chair Nikolai Engedal.

Besides the science, the Conference included a wonderful social program with a river cruise dinner, museum visits, and a guided city-walk sightseeing of the beautiful city of Utrecht! A special thanks to the local organizers, Fulvio Reggiori, Paul Coffer, and Muriel Mari for arranging such a wonderful meeting!

As usual, the NAS General Assembly, which is open to all NAS members, was held alongside the Conference. New recruitments to the board and task committees were made, which will further strengthen the organization of NAS.

The 4th Nordic Autophagy Society Conference will be held June 10th-12th 2020 in Tromsø, Norway. Save the date!

Co-founder of the Nordic Autophagy Network receives prestigious research award

NAS congratulates Professor Anne Simonsen on receiving the 2019 King Olav V’s cancer research award. On April 9th, his Majesty King Harald V of Norway personally handed over the prize of 1 million NOK at the traditional ceremony held in the University old Ceremony Hall in central Oslo.

The prestigious award was given by the Norwegian Cancer Society in recognition of Professor Simonsen´s outstanding basic research on autophagy and its relation to cancer. This is the second time that the Norwegian Cancer Society recognizes the importance of autophagy research, in that the Norwegian pioneer in autophagy research Professor Per O. Seglen received the same prize in 2017.

In her speech Simonsen thanked the Norwegian Cancer Society for funding long-term basic research throughout the years, and highlighted the importance of basic research for understanding complex diseases such as cancer. Simonsen thanked all her co-workers and stated that: “I have the best job in the world, and I promise that my skillful co-workers and I will do everything we can to make cancer a less scary disease in the future."

Simonsen, who is a University of Oslo Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, is the co-founder of the Nordic Autophagy Network (NAN), on which the Nordic Autophagy Society (NAS) is built. Simonsen coordinated the NAN from 2011-2015, and is currently a NAS Board member.

We congratulate Professor Simonsen and look forward to all the great work to come!

The prize winner Professor Anne Simonsen next to his Majesty King Harald V (left center), Cancer Society Secretary-General Anne-Lise Ryel (left), and Cancer Society Board chairman Gunn-Elin Bjørneboe (right). Photo: Håkon Mosvold

Anne Simonsen with her research group at the prize ceremony

- April 19th, 2019

NEW: NAS Conference and Lab Exchange Grants

NAS is glad to announce the kick-off of the “NAS Conference and Lab Exchange Grants”!

“NAS Conference grants” can provide support of up to EURO 500 for travel/accommodation/registration to international conferences.

“NAS Lab exchange grants” can provide support of up to EURO 2 500 for travel and accommodation in relation to a research stay in any lab in the world for 5 – 90 days.

More information, including on how to apply can be found here:

January 16th, 2019

NEW! For Companies: Do you want to advertise on our home page?

The NAS has decided to open its home page to companies or private sponsors to advertise their products and services, targeting directly the Nordic Autophagy Society members and our visitors. Advertisements will be published on a first come first served basis. Advertisement banners are available at two locations on the home page as follow:

Sponsor I (top right location – currently the autophagosome)
Top location is a stationary advertisement containing a hyperlink to the company’s webpage of choice. Banner maximum size: 500 (h) x 500 (w)
€100 per week

Sponsor II (bottom left location) and Sponsor III (bottom right location) – currently Logos
Those ads are shown as slide show: 8 seconds per show, containing a hyperlink to the company’s webpage of choice. The slide shows starts at random in the series of advertisements, ensuring that all advertisements have an equal chance of being shown. Banner maximum size: 200 (h) x 500 (w)
€50 per week

- January 15th, 2019

Registration is open!

- January 15th, 2019

The Netherlands join NAS ! – September 2018

At the 2018 NAS General Assembly in Riga, Latvia, on August 30th 2018, the Netherlands were officially included as a full country member of NAS. The NAS logo will be updated to include the flag of the Netherlands, and the NAS BY-LAWS will be updated to include the Netherlands as a member country.

In a transition phase, Professor Fulvio Reggiori (Groningen) will act as an interim NAS Board member to represent the Netherlands in the Board until the 2019 General Assembly will take place at next year’s NAS Conference.

The participation of the Netherlands to NAS is supported by a newly acquired grant from The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, after an initiative from Professor Reggiori.

Kick-starting the Netherlands’ participation in NAS, the 3rd NAS Conference / 8th Nordic Autophagy Meeting will be held in the Netherlands – most likely end of May 2019 in Utrecht/the vicinity of Utrecht. More information about the meeting will follow.

- September 5th, 2019