3rd Nordic Autophagy Society conference – Utrecht, 2019

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!