Life Lines

On the Trail of Physiology: Tennessee

Thumbnail image for USA Map with Footprints and 2 Meetings.jpg

i-1e1f5f639b2a564c03dbbd6ede95e5f6-Tennessee-Physiological-Society-thumb-150x36-60113-thumb-150x36-69570.pngThe Tennessee Physiological Society held their annual meeting October 13-14 at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) in Johnson City, Tennessee. The meeting opened with a seminar by Dr. David L. Williams from the Department of Surgery at Quillen College of Medicine, ETSU. He spoke about how the macrophage scavenger receptor A, previously thought of as just as cholesterol receptor, has now been found to play important roles in the response to septic shock, normal immune responses, oxidative stress and ischemia/reperfusion injuries. Dr. William’s research focus is on the pathology of sepsis. His research is exciting because it shows that this receptor plays many more roles in the body than previously thought. Time will only tell what else this remarkable receptor can do.

The keynote speaker for the meeting was Dr. William Aird whose talk was on the evolution of the endothelium, which is the inner lining of blood vessels. This layer is important because it helps regulate blood pressure (through the release of hormones that can constrict or dilate blood vessels) as well as immune responses. His research is specifically interested in how different phenotypes of endothelial cells participate in health and disease processes. You can watch an interview of Dr. Aird describing his research on how the endothelium is involved in sepsis here.

Other highlights of the meeting included seminars on how leanness may be passed on genetically (RN Lippert, KLJ Ellacott, JP Lomenick, R Cone, Vanderbilt U) as well as a talk on how c-reactive protein protects against infection from pneumococcal bacteria (TB Gang, DJ Hammond, SK Singh, and A Agrawal, ETSU).

The Tennessee Physiological Society is very supportive of future scientists. In fact, they gave out 2 travel awards to graduate students who will be attending the Experimental Biology conference next Spring in San Diego!

The winning presentations were:

Exogenous Ubiquitin Inhibits Chronic β-Adrenergic Receptor-Stimulated Cardiac Myocyte Apoptosis and Myocardial Remodeling. Christopher R. Daniels, Cerrone R. Foster, Sana Yakoob, Mahipal Singh, Krishna Singh. Department of Physiology, Quillen College of Medicine, JHQ Veterans Affairs Medical Center, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN.

Novel KCC3 mouse models to study ACCPN, a degenerative neuropathy disorder. Jinlong Ding, José Ponce-Coria, and Eric Delpire. Department of Anesthesiology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN.

They even had a session on how to organize a Physiology Understanding (AKA: PhUn) week event at a local school. This is a really great opportunity for scientists at all levels to go into K-12 classrooms to discuss how physiology is relevant in their daily lives. There are many examples of “PhUn” activities that can be brought into the classroom on The American Physiological Society’s website, the organization that sponsors this event. If you are a scientist interested in organizing, or a K-12 teacher interested in hosting, one of these events, I encourage you to contact the American Physiological Society.