We got into Lisbon at about 8:30pm on Monday 11th September and were welcomed by a very long queue of people waiting to board taxis. We finally got a taxi and arrived at the hotel at about 11:30pm. The following morning Tuesday 12th September, we boarded a train to the conference venue for a quick registration and moved straight into lecture halls where we listened to different fascinating talks on “beta cell development: genetic and epigenetic regulation”. The highlights of this session were works presented by, Wong C.K on the role of P300 as an important co-factor of beta cell development which was interesting and correlated by data from a poster presentation I will mention ahead. And Miyatsuka. T on how suppressing STAT3 signalling promote acinar to beta cell reprogramming. Following the talks from that session there was the poster presentation, where I presented my talk on STAT6. The chair for that session Decio said “Very nice and clear presentation” which made me happy. I had questions on the death quantification, on glucotoxicity and whether STAT6 levels have been measured in people with T2D diabetes
The following day, Wednesday 13th, we started off with, talks on “the beta cell in type 2 diabetes”, with interesting talks by Taylor R. and D’Alesio on Calorie restriction and reversal of beta cell failure and bariatric surgery and the beta cell respectively. Then came the highlight for Wednesday for me, “Beta cell vulnerability”. Following poster presentations for that day we listened to talks on “Control of beta cell function and vulnerability”. There was good science on microRNAs as markers of beta cell stress. The Prize for excellence lecture by Professor Philipp Scherer on “the secret lives of adipocytes” closed the day.
On Thursday 14th we boarded a train to the venue that looked on the outside like an ordinary train but on the inside, was VIP class and the ticket man in a very Portuguese accent told us we were on the wrong train but he was going to let us off just this one time. Out of curiosity, I asked him “how do you know the difference between this train and the ordinary one?” He replied “you just listen”. Unfortunately, Mark and I do not understand Portuguese and thankfully we weren’t the only ones that boarded the train with ordinary tickets. We started off with lectures on metabolism and the clock. The take home message for this talks centred on the importance of a minimum of 8hours sleep and metabolism. We later on attended talks on beta cell transduction and insulin secretion. Of interest were the role of Beta-arrestin 2 in GLP-1 receptor signalling in beta cells, and the role of DLK for beta cell plasticity. My favourite talk for that session was the role of secretagogins in beta cell survival. Like the other days we had two poster sessions and a final lecture series on “immune modulation and treatment of diabetes”.
Our time in Lisbon came to an end on Friday 15th September, starting with checking out of the hotel then traveling to the conference venue to attend lectures on genome editing and islet and pancreas transplantation; with an interesting lecture on the role of MCL-1 as a key anti-apoptotic protein. Our last lecture series was on experimental and clinical immunology, with a catching presentation on the role of IL-35 in inhibiting proliferation of Th17.
All in All, the genre of science was classic with a vast repertoire of options and knowledge to take home and keep working for the betterment of those with diabetes. We left the venue at 12noon to catch our flight to Exeter.
Lisbon was great!!! Good sun and good affordable meals especially the beans!