Last week I presented a poster at the 14th Confocal Raman Spectroscopy Symposium in Ulm, Germany. The conference was hosted by WiTec, a company which manufactures Raman spectrometers. They organised a great conference filled with talks from experts in a variety of industries from medical science to geochemistry. We were treated to a guided tour of Ulm and a conference dinner. We saw some spectacular buildings which looked like they were about to topple over and heard some interesting tales!
I am using Raman spectroscopy to study lipid distribution and composition in cultured beta cells exposed to fatty acids. We have shown saturated fatty acids (SFAs) dose-dependently induce apoptosis yet unsaturated fatty acids (UFAs) are not only non-toxic but also protect against saturated FA-mediated cell death. During my PhD I have been investigating these mechanisms. One hypothesis is that UFAs might mediate cytoprotection from SFAs by shuttling the SFAs. Is the formation of lipid droplets cytoprotective?