AuPS Meeting AuPS

November 2022
Hobart, Tas


Going with the (blood) flow in health and disease

AuPS symposium

The primary, physiological role of the vasculature is to ensure adequate and appropriate blood flow is supplied to target tissues. Although this physiological process is key to supporting normal cellular function, the mechanisms that regulate blood flow patterns in tissues remain to be fully understood. Loss of normal blood flow control is evident in many disease states including diabetes, hypertension, and cerebrovascular disorders such as stroke and dementia. This symposium will focus on the critical role of the vasculature and blood flow regulation in maintenance of tissue function and explore how loss of normal vascular function contributes to disease. This symposium will also consider how interventions that target the vasculature may provide novel approaches to treating common disorders such as diabetes, hypertension, dementia and stroke.

Chair: Dr Dino Premilovac

  • AProf, Brad Sutherland: University of Tasmania
    The role of pericytes in the regulation of brain blood flow and their dysfunction in dementia
  • Dr Maria Jelinic: La Trobe University,
    Transcriptomic profiling of the mouse aorta to identify novel cellular drivers of aortic stiffening in hypertension.
  • Dr Dino Premilovac: University of Tasmania
    Harnessing non-invasive ultrasound to understand brain blood flow regulation following stroke
  • AProf Michelle Keske: Deakin University
    Muscle microvascular flow regulation in health and disease

Regulatory systems underlying the development of heart failure

AuPS symposium

Heart failure is a complex multi-factorial condition, whereby the blood cannot effectively pump blood around the body. Neurohormonal factors control the capacity of the cardiomyocyte to contract and relax via a series of intracellular signalling pathways. Numerous disease states (including myocardial infarction, diabetes, hypertension, obesity) disrupt these regulatory systems, leading to the chronic events that eventuate in heart failure and death. This symposium covers a broad range of exciting new findings in relation to neurohormonal and intracellular regulation of heart function in health and disease. The topics covered will provide important insights into novel mechanisms underlying heart failure, and stimulate discussion around the identification of new therapeutic targets.

Chair: Dr Jim Bell

  • Prof Friederike Cuello: Institute for Experimental Pharmacology & Toxicology, University Clinic-Hamburg-Eppendorf
    Redox regulation of cardiovascular function in disease
  • Dr Kate Weeks: The University of Melbourne
    Cardiac protein phosphatases: more than an 'off' switch for protein kinases
  • Dr Miles De Blasio:Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
    Adiponectin signalling as a therapeutic target for diabetic cardiomyopathy and failure
  • Dr Julia Shanks:University of Auckland
    Reinstating heart rate variability restores cardiac function in chronic heart failure sheep

Metabolic pathways as mechanisms of cardiovascular pathophysiology

AuPS symposium

There is increasing recognition that metabolic physiology is not just about fuel availability and disposition. Not just about pathways and intermediates. In many tissues evidence is accumulating to prompt a more broad and complex understanding of the role of metabolism in defining growth processes (switching from non-proliferating to proliferating mode), in signalling reliance on lipid vs carbohydrate substrates in determining cell phenotype and in defining plasticity during pathologic remodelling responses. This symposium highlights these various processes operating in the cardio-vascular environment relating to both physiology and pathology. The metabolic contexts covered in this symposium reflect the diversity associated with responses to dynamic metabolic processes at cell, organelle and tissue levels. The processes described have implications for many organ and tissue environments.

Chair: Prof Lea Delbridge

  • Prof Lorrie A Kirshenbaum : University of Manitoba, Canada
    Mitochondria, metabolism and myocardial ischemic resilience
  • Dr Kim M Mellor: University of Auckland
    The role of fructose metabolism in cardio-physiology and - pathology
  • Prof James E Hudson: Queensland Inst Med Research - Berghofer
    Myocardial metabolic modelling and re-modelling mechanisms
  • A/Prof Anna C Calkin:Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute, Melbourne
    Lipid dysregulation and cardio - vascular implications

New Approaches to tackle the fatty liver disease pandemic

AuPS symposium

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common and fatal cancers world-wide, accounting for almost 10% of global cancer mortality. Its incidence has trebled over the past three decades in developed countries rendering it the fastest rising cause of cancer related deaths. Originally ascribed to the emergence of hepatitis C virus (HCV), over 50% of new HCC cases occur in 'virus absent' patients where the aetiology of the disease has, until very recently, remained unclear. Most virus absent HCC patients present with obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and the more aggressive non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). It is, therefore, unsurprising that the morbidly obese have a >4 times increased relative risk of mortality from HCC compared with those of normal weight. The relationship between obesity and NAFLD with HCC has consequentially become the focus of intense research. Notwithstanding this interest, many questions remain. This symposium will shed novel insight into the molecular regulation of the fatty liver disease spectrum as well as provide new insights into the diagnosis and management of lifestyle induced chronic liver disease.

Chair: prof Mark A Febbraio

Placental function and transport

AuPS symposium

The placenta is a truly fascinating organ that adapts to changes in both the fetal and maternal environments to ensure physiological homeostasis is maintained throughout pregnancy. As our understanding of placental function expands, so does our knowledge of the diversity of roles it plays to ensure fetal and maternal physiological function is maintained. Importantly, with our growing understanding of mechanisms involved in placental function, researchers have also identified placental-specific pathways that become dysfunctional in instances of pregnancy complications; this has provided exciting avenues to explore and target to improve fetal and maternal physiology throughout pregnancy. This symposium will highlight placental-focussed research being conducted across Australia and provide a comprehensive overview of the diversity of roles this transient organ plays.

Chair: Dr Ashley Meakin and Prof Janna Morrison

  • Dr Ashley Meakin: University of South Australia
    Characterisation of placental-specific cytochrome P450 enzyme activity in response to fetal growth restriction
  • Dr James Cuffe: The University of Queensland
    Placental one carbon metabolism and complications of pregnancy
  • Dr Sarah Delforce: The University of Newcastle
    Oxidative stress and the placental renin-angiotensin system
  • Prof Rebecca Simmons: The University of Pennsylvania
    The Placenta: A Window into Maternal Disease

Probing neural circuits with light tools

AuPS symposium

How neurons in the brain interconnect and co-ordinate their activity to respond to different physiological stimuli has long fascinated neurophysiologists. Recent developments in genetically-encoded fluorescent probes of neuronal activity and the ability to express different optically activated proteins in specific neurons has provided a window into how such neural circuits control behaviours. This symposium will give different examples of how these cutting-edge approaches can be applied to behaving animals to elucidate how specific neural circuits are activated during across a range of physiological behaviours. These range from how the brain elicits appropriate neuroendocrine responses under stressful conditions, how neural circuits in the striatum can adapt to accommodate new learning, how neurons mediate and synchronize different drinking responses, and how connections between visual and somatosensory cortices wire up after sensory deprivation. A vignette of cutting edge studies describing the 'neuro' behind the physiology!

Chair: John Power & Andrew Moorhouse

  • Dr Joon Kim: University of Otago, NZ
    The neural basis of stress responses and stress adaptations in the mouse
  • Chelsea Goulton: UNSW
    Neuromodulation of striatal neurons and the encoding of goal-directed learning.
  • Prof Hiroaki Wake / Ms Akari Hashimoto: Okazaki, Japan
    Remapping neural circuits to mediate cross modal plasticity between seeing and feeling
  • Dr Bowen Dempsey: Macquarie University
    Neural circuits that mediate drinking

Proglucagon-derived hormones and metabolic physiology

AuPS symposium

Peptide hormones are extremely important in metabolic physiology. The proglucagon gene is especially important, as it gives rise to a number of secreted peptides including glucagon, glucagon-like peptides 1 (GLP1) and 2 (GLP2), glicentin, and oxyntomodulin. The expression and secretion of these gene products are tissue and cell type dependent which ultimately determines the stimulus specific secretion dependent on a particular metabolic milieu. The symposium will discuss recent advances in our understanding of proglucagon gene-derived peptide hormones on regulating metabolic control, with a particular emphasis on glucagon and GLP1. This is particularly important, as pharmacotherapies targeting the receptors of these hormones are proving to be efficacious for treating major modern chronic diseases including - but not limited to - type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardio-vascular disease

Chair: Adam Rose

  • Prof. Christina Feinle-Bisset: University of Adelaide
    Role of GLP1 and glucagon in nutrient control of appetite and metabolism
  • Prof. Damien Keating: Flinders University
    Control of metabolism by proglucagon-derived hormones from the gut
  • Prof. Clinton Bruce: Deakin University
    Integration of glucose and amino acid metabolism by glucagon
  • Mr. Yuqin Wu: Monash University
    Novel insights into hepatic glucagon action

Rigour and Reproducibility in Physiological Sciences

AuPS symposium

This symposium will cover big picture topics on the research replication crisis and also best research practice by esteemed national and international leaders. EMCRs in the symposium will also present published research into best practice in 'omics research for dealing with big data and also considerations when analysing tissue samples stored long-term, particularly with regards to RNA and protein integrity that may affect reproducibility.

Chair: Prof Glenn Wadley & A/Prof Severine Lamon

  • Prof Simon Gandevia : Neuroscience Research Australia
    Research Quality: you should be worried!
  • Kirsten Seale: PhD candidate Victoria Universit
    Reproducibility of 'omics' research using public data repositories
  • Dr Noni Frankenberg:La Trobe University and Dr Jujiao Kuang :Victoria University
    Handle me carefully- reproducibility of findings when working with tissues and considerations for RNA and protein integrity

The Physiology of Obesity- Implications for a Healthy Lifespan

AuPS symposium

Obesity and overweight affects 30% of the world's population and leads to increased morbidity and mortality. Obesity induces changes in many physiological systems and understanding these changes is paramount in our efforts to treat obesity-related metabolic comorbidities. This symposium will highlight recent cutting-edge research examining the impact of obesity on several areas of physiology, including brain function, metabolism, mitochondrial function and calcium homeostasis, and outline how these obesity-mediate changes impact the development of diabetes, cancer, infertility and muscle function, respectively.

Chair: Prof Matthew Watt

  • Dr. Garron Dodd: University of Melbourne
    Obesity and the brain- how disrupting neural networks causes diabetes
  • A/Prof. Renea Taylor: Monash University
    Obesity and cancer- metabolic reprogramming and cancer progression
  • Prof. Rebecca Robker: University of Adelaide
    Obesity and reproduction- oocyte quality and fertility
  • A/Prof. Brad Launakonis: University of Queensland
    Obesity and muscle- muscle disuse and exercise, opposing forces regulating Ca2+ homeostasis

Physiology Education: Building Career Pathways and Work-Integrated Learning in Biomedical Sciences

AuPS symposium

Work integrated Learning (WIL) is growing in Australian Universities and Internationally, and has spread beyond compulsory internships in vocation orientated degree programs. The most recent Government commissioned (2021) Graduate Outcomes Survey reports that 56% of undergraduate students participated in some form of WIL and 80% of these agreeing it enhanced their professional capabilities and job prospects (Australian Collaborative Education Network - 2021 Summary Report for Graduate Outcomes Survey Items). Universities and government are striving for aligning curricular with graduate outcomes, and students, industry and the community all see benefits in integrating workplace skills, readiness and experience within undergraduate curricula. WIL is here to stay and University educators need to familiarise ourselves with different WIL best practices, just as we do with other courses and programs. This symposium aims to provide updates on WIL courses in Science and Health related fields. We present speakers with broad experience in developing WILs and their impacts on graduates, and who will share their learnings and experiences. WIL is not just industry internships, and the symposium also addresses other ways to prepare students for positively contributing to our society and enhance their employability.

Chair: Prof Andrew Moorhouse