The Metal Ions in Medicine team attended the 2019 Zinc-net meeting in Cambridge, UK. This International meeting focused on investigating the role of zinc in biological systems. Dr Samantha Pitt gave the opening plenary lecture. The title of her talk was “Altered Zn2+ homeostasis in Niemann-Pick C1 disease results in impaired NAADP-mediated lysosomal Ca2+-dynamics”. Dr Alan Stewart gave a talk titled “Influence of free fatty acids on plasma zinc handling by albumin: Impact on coagulation in type II diabetes”. Gavin Robertson (BHF funded PhD student in the Pitt lab) presented a poster titled “Mitsugumin 23: a cardiac sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ leak channel that displays Zn2+ permeability”.
The team would like to thank Dr Nick Pugh (Anglia Ruskin University) for organising this meeting.
On 26th November Dr Alan Stewart attended a networking dinner at the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh to help launch a new charity focused on developing a cure for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a debilitating eye disease that affects millions of people worldwide. In the UK alone there are more than 685,000 people with significant sight loss as a consequence of late-stage AMD. The new charity has been founded by four leading site loss charities, Blind Veterans UK, Fight for Sight, the Macular Society and Scottish War Blinded.
During a recent trip to the USA, Dr Alan Stewart visited the laboratory of Prof Wladek Minor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Virginia – Charlotteslville and on the 15th November gave a seminar there entitled “Allosteric regulation of plasma zinc dynamics by free fatty acids: A potential driver of cardiovascular complications in disease states”. He then went on to Dallas, Texas to attend the Proteomics-2018 conference (19th-20th November) where he gave an invited talk entitled “The hydroxyapatite interactome in age-related macular degeneration”.
Amy Dorward (Pitt Research group) took part in the Dundee Science festival 7th October 2018. She volunteered at the British Heart Foundation’s “Air Street”. The exhibit focussed on the silent harmful effects air pollution has on the cardiovascular system. Visitors walked ‘outside’ along “BHF Air Street” – where posters outlined the main links of pollution and cardiovascular disease – before coming ‘inside’ to the “BHF sitting room” – where they learned more about the research being carried out by the BHF in their local area. Visitors were also given the opportunity to look at diseased and healthy heart cell cells under the microscope, measure their own heart rates and learn about how the heart works through a variety of activities. Amy really enjoyed volunteering at the festival and she is grateful to have had the opportunity to talk about some of the cardiovascular research being carried out in University of St Andrews.
Congratulations to Dr Swati Arya who was awarded a £5,000 grant at the School of Medicine Research Away Day held at the Byre Theatre. Swati made a successful pitch for the cash at a Dragons Den-style event. The funding will be spent on a new collaborative pilot project (with Dr Peter Caie and Dr Alan Stewart, both University of St Andrews and Dr Margaret Dunne, Trinity College Dublin) focussed on identifying early biomarkers for esophageal cancer using SWATH-MS. Swati also gave a talk at the event entitled “The hydroxyapatite interactome in age-related macular degeneration”.