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4th NORDIC AUTOPHAGY SOCIETY CONFERENCE/9TH NORDIC AUTOPHAGY MEETING – TROMSØ 2021

The 4th Nordic Autophagy Society (NAS) Conference / 9th Nordic Autophagy Meeting was held in Tromsø, Norway November 10th-12th 2021. This was the first Nordic Autophagy Meeting north of the Arctic Circle! Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Conference had been postponed for nearly 1 ½ years. It had originally been scheduled for June 2020.

Held at the Edge Hotel directly at the Tromsø harbor with a great view of the city and the surrounding arctic landscape, the Conference featured a record-breaking 109 participants coming from 15 different countries. Covid-19 measures were in place, with facemasks worn during mingling. The scientific program comprised 4 Invited Keynote Lectures, 14 Selected Short Talks, and 2 Poster Sessions with in total 48 Poster Presentations. See here for the program.

Day 1:

The Conference was opened by a Keynote from Ian Ganley (University of Dundee, UK), who gave an inspiring talk on mitophagy and its links to Parkinson’s disease. This was followed by an introduction from the Silver Sponsor and Exhibitor Nordic BioSite, and thereafter 5 selected short talks, which commonly were focused on molecular mechanisms of mitophagy and selective autophagy in general.

 


 


 

An engaging Poster session 1 (for 1 ½ hours) was held in the afternoon, before dinner at the hotel.

After the dinner, although the sky was generally cloudy, a few fortunate people (no names disclosed) managed to see Northern Lights right outside the hotel!

 


 

Day 2

Part 1: The second day of the Conference was kicked off by Nicholas Ktistakis (Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK), who presented beautiful and thought-provoking visual data to compare and contrast the mechanisms of autophagosome formation in nonselective versus selective autophagy. Furthermore, a taste from a new, unpublished project was presented. Thereafter followed 4 selected short talks that covered mechanisms, regulation and coordination of autophagy in mammalian cells and yeast.

Part 2: After lunch it was time for the social program. Some went for a city walk to include sights like the bridge and the famous Arctic Cathedral. Others took a guided tour with the cable car to the top of the Fløya mountain. The toughest (or craziest?) participants bought spikes for their shoes (or not!) and heroically climbed the 1203 Sherpa steps (iced and slippery!) to reach the same destination. From there, both parties could enjoy a stunning view over Tromsø and the surrounding arctic landscape, just in time before sunset. All totally worth it!

 
 


 

Part 3: The next scientific session featured the 3rd Keynote lecture, where Marja Jäättelä (Danish Cancer Society Research Center, Denmark) provided an engaging overview of the multifaceted cellular functions of lysosomes and presented novel data on effects of cationic amphiphilic drugs via lysosomes. Thereafter followed 2 short talks on aspects related to the connection between autophagy, lysosomes and endosomes.

Part 4: Poster session 2 was held in the afternoon (for 1 ½ hours). Thereafter, the NAS General Assembly, which is open to all NAS members, was held by the NAS chair Nikolai Engedal. The history and current status of NAS was presented, the NAS Board was re-elected with a new recruitment for Norway (Helene Knævelsrud) and two new recruitments for the Netherlands (Kasper Rouschop and Mario Mauthe), and the location and tentative dates of next year’s Conference were decided (see the bottom of this page for info on that). Day 2 concluded with the Conference Dinner at the hotel, followed by socializing in the lobby area and/or a refreshing walk outside with failed attempts from some participants (no names disclosed) to see Northern Lights (they tried hard, but eventually had to conclude that it was too cloudy that night).

 


 
 

Day 3

Part 1: The third and final day of the Conference featured the 4th Keynote Lecture, where Patricia Boya (CIB Margarita Salas, Madrid, Spain) presented intriguing data on the relationship between autophagy and age-associated retinal defects. This was followed by a short talk on a novel mechanism of autophagic clearance of amyloid aggregates.

 


 

Part 2: The scientific part of the Conference was wrapped up by short talks on autophagy-related proteins in virus infection, and virus-induced escape of xenophagy. Thereafter, all participants could vote for the best short talk (one prize sponsored by the NAS-affiliated MDPI journal “Cells”) and the best posters (3 prizes sponsored by the journal “Traffic” and 1 prize sponsored by the newly established journal “Autophagy Reports”). The prize ceremony saw Simona Migliano (Oslo University Hospital, Norway) win the best short talk award, whereas the best poster awards where won by Lauren Johnson and Rodriguez de la Ballina (University of Oslo, Norway), Aida Rodríguez López (The Danish Cancer Society), Nikoline Lander Rasmussen (UiT – the Arctic University of Norway), and Thorbjørn Marciniak Nielsen (The Danish Cancer Society).

 


Best Short Talk and Best Posters Awards!

From left to right: Nikolai Engedal, Terje Johansen, Best Short Talk winner Simona Migliano (Oslo University Hospital, Norway), and the best poster award winners Thorbjørn Marciniak Nielsen (The Danish Cancer Society), Nikoline Lander Rasmussen (UiT – the Arctic University of Norway), Aida Rodríguez López (The Danish Cancer Society), and Lauren Johnson and Rodriguez de la Ballina (University of Oslo, Norway).

 

Part 3: The Conference ended with concluding remarks and a thank you to all the people who made the Meeting happen: Nikolai Engedal (Organizer, Conference and NAS chair), Terje Johansen (Local organizer and Conference chair), Gry Evjen (Local organizer committee leader), Eva Sjøttem and Trond Lamark (Local organizing committee), Terje Johnsen’s group members for technical and practical assistance, the NAS Board for scientific advice, the NAS web masters Behzad Khoshnood and Rubén Gómez-Sánchez for web and registration help, the NAS treasurer Anu Kauppinen, the NAS sponsorship team (Nikolai Engedal, Daniel Hofius, Chara Charsou, Karolina Pircs, Merve Kacal), the invited Speakers (Ian Ganley, Nick Ktistakis, Marja Jäättelä, Patricia Boya), and the Sponsors (UiT – the Arctic University of Norway, Silver Sponsor Nordic Biosite, The Dutch Research Council (NWO), Dojindo, Cells, Traffic, and Autophagy Reports)…

…and finally, a great thanks to all the participants for their good spirits and active participation!

 


 

Thanks to all 109 participants at the 4th NAS Conference in Tromsø !

 

April 27th, 2022

3RD NORDIC AUTOPHAGY SOCIETY CONFERENCE IN UTRECHT

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!

May 25th, 2019

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

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 1st, 2018