October 2011

Metabolism re-emerges, triumphant

Meetings_MetabolismIn the past five years, there has been a dramatic resurgence in interest in metabolism as it has become apparent that deregulation of metabolism underlies the pathology in a wide variety of common diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and neurological disorders. The 2012 annual meeting’s symposium on metabolism and disease will focus on the role of metabolism in the context of signaling pathways, cancer, aging and the whole organism.

Organismal metabolism  

First, Joe Bass (Northwestern University) will talk about recent efforts to understand how metabolism and physiology are coordinated with circadian rhythms in mammals. Circadian rhythms have been linked to a variety of metabolic diseases, and it is of great interest and importance to understand this intimate relationship between the circadian clock and cellular metabolism.

Next, Manuel Llinas (Princeton University) will talk about the unique features of metabolism in the Plasmodium falciparum parasite that causes malaria. Understanding the metabolism of this organism and its relationship to the host may reveal novel opportunities for therapeutic intervention.

Then Benjamin Tu (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas) will describe his work, which focuses on understanding the role of metabolism and metabolic state in the regulation of cell growth and proliferation in budding yeast.

Signaling and metabolism 

This round of talks will focus on how signal transduction pathways acutely control metabolism in response to different cellular stresses and environmental cues.

It will feature Jared Rutter (University of Utah), who will report on recent discoveries about a novel conserved mechanism by which mitochondrial protein turnover is connected to oxidative stress. Previously uncharacterized, conserved mitochondrial proteins play critical roles in a number of physiological circumstances.

Anne Brunet (Stanford University) will describe an unbiased biochemical approach to identifying new substrates of the AMP-activated protein kinase that connect energy sensing and metabolism to cell-cycle progression.

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