Here are highlights from the meeting:
The meeting opened with a seminar from Dr. Ernest M. Wright from the UCLA-David Geffen School of Medicine. His presentation was on the development of new treatments for diabetes using inhibitors of sodium glucose cotransporters (SGLT). In the kidney, these transporters are responsible for preventing glucose from being disposed of in the urine by returning it to the blood. So inhibiting these transporters would lower blood glucose levels by allowing its excretion in the urine. Phase III clinical trials are currently underway to test the efficacy and safety of this potential treatment. If successful, this would offer a new way to treat diabetes in humans and perhaps animals as well.
I also listened to a great talk about the ability of beetles to sense chemical signals and saw a poster on using zebrafish to test new treatments for high cholesterol levels. Another poster that I found interesting discussed one of the coolest animals, literally, the wood frog. This is an animal that freezes during the winter, but protects its internal organs from forming ice crystals by increasing levels of an antifreeze chemical, glycerol, in their blood. Researchers Andor J Kiss, Timothy J Muir, Richard E Lee, and Jon P Costanzo at Miami University are studying how proteins in their liver may vary throughout the seasons.
Here is a video featuring Dr. Costanzo showing the freezing/thawing cycles of the wood frogs:
My favorite part of any science conference is the poster sessions where you can directly interact with students and hear about their research as well as their future goals in science. This meeting did not disappoint.
Stay tuned as I travel to Tennessee, Iowa, and Arizona to learn what's new in physiology this Fall at these exciting local physiology meetings!
Follow Dr. Dolittle on Twitter (DrDoScienceBlog) or, if you see exciting news in comparative physiology, send the doctor an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).