Noel, Sarah, Pia and myself arrived in Munich to fantastic weather the day prior to the start of the conference. This allowed us, in some leisure, to register, put posters up and most importantly to enjoy some local food and drink in preparation for the next few days. Tuesday arrived, and along with ~15000 other delegates from around the world, we made our way to the impressive conference venue, in preparation for what looked like an exciting week of science. The programme seemed to have many highlights in store for us, and again showcased the quality of research that UEMS is producing; with Exeter Researchers Andrew Hattersley winning the EASD-Novo Nordisk diabetes prize for excellence, Angus Jones giving one of the Rising Star symposia talks, and several other Exeter colleagues giving invited lectures.
Over the next four days we enjoyed some enthralling presentations, which spanned the length and breadth of diabetes research. The IBEx team had several presentations to give. Sarah presented Ese’s data on the expression of the CAR enterovirus receptor in the endocrine pancreas in the form of a poster, and I gave an oral presentation on the aberrant expression of MHCII in type 1 diabetes. Both were well received. Noel gave a fabulous talk describing some of Pia and Sarah’s exciting data which, through examination of inflammation in type 1 diabetes cases, suggest that the disease is more aggressive if diagnosed earlier.
There were many excellent presentations over the course of the conference, but my top 5 are as follows (in no particular order).
(a) Andrew Hattersley’s prize lecture; Andrew is a fantastic speaker, who has the uncanny ability to make the complexities of monogenic diabetes seem relatively straightforward.
(b) Patrick Schrauwen’s Minkowski prize lecture; Patrick was not someone I was aware of previously, but he gave a marvellous talk examining novel ways to increase energy expenditure though the expansion of brown fat deposits.
(c) Ramnik Xavier; A fascinating lecture which examined amongst other things, how analysis of the gut microbiota may explain the massive difference in type 1 diabetes incidence between the Fins and people from a neighbouring area of Russia.
(d) Henryk Zulewski; A fabulous bit of science to generate ‘beta-like’ cells.
(e) Tamara Casteels; Excellent science again, this time they used two different high throughput screens to identify gephyrin as a factor involved in alpha to beta-cell transdifferentiation.
All of these talks can be viewed (All of these talks can be viewed using the following link; http://www.easdvirtualmeeting.org/)
In addition to the science, we spent the evenings enjoying the company of collaborators such as Knut Dahl-Jorgensen, Lars Krogvold, Alberto Pugliese and Teresa Rodriguez-Calvo. On one such night, Diabetes UK held a networking event in a local beer garden, and we had a particularly pleasant evening drinking beer and eating sausages alongside Shanta Persaud and many other King’s researchers. Thank you Diabetes UK!
Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and following a superb session exploring the gut microbiome in the context of type 1 diabetes, we had to say goodbye to Munich. The team returned to Exeter full of new ideas, and a few pounds heavier. We are already looking forward to the 53rd EASD meeting in Lisbon next year!