6–9 September 2021 online

Metabolism of ageing was a joint venture between the Biochemical Society and British Society for Research on Ageing (BSRA). Originally planned to be held in Birmingham in 2020, the on-going pandemic necessitated a move to a virtual format, with emphasis on providing a forum for early-career researchers to present and network. We had over 100 delegates join the online talks and networking sessions from across the globe including Australia and the West Coast of the USA, despite the time differences.

Over the course of the 3 days of the meeting, we heard many fascinating talks from both junior and more senior scientists on how changes in metabolism impact on health during ageing. The meeting opened with a plenary talk by Nektarios Tavernarakis from the FORTH Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in Crete, Greece, on the role of dysfunctional mitochondria in ageing and neurodegeneration. Sessions then followed on cellular metabolism and ageing, metabolism and the ageing immune system, metabolism and the ageing brain, and nutrition, exercise and interventions that impact on metabolism and ageing. A second plenary talk by John Speakman from the University of Aberdeen/Chinese Academy of Sciences focused on factors that confound metabolic studies on ageing in mammals such as body temperature and body composition.

Alongside the more traditional format of a scientific meeting, we also ran an interactive early career researcher (ECR) session on public engagement and a public seminar on intergenerational care. Both events were well received with great feedback from the attendees. We also heard from our meeting sponsors, BBSRC, about UKRI funding opportunities for ageing research.

Prizes were awarded for the two best posters presented at the meeting and the best ECR oral presentation was awarded the Korenchevsky Prize from the BSRA. The standard of student/ECR presentations was extremely high. All the talks stimulated interesting and lively discussions and it was great to see so many participants actively engaged in the virtual networking space. And some of the tools used to encourage ECR participation in discussions in this virtual setting, e.g., anonymous online questions, will be actively encouraged in future in-person meetings.

Forthcoming events
The importance of essential fatty acids and their derivatives

12 January 2022

Essential fatty acids (linoleic and linolenic acids) are needed to prevent EFA deficiency but, in addition, it has been realised that the levels of these acids and their metabolic derivatives play vital roles in many important diseases characterised by chronic inflammation (e.g., CVD, arthritis and, recently, Covid-19). This is because very long chain fatty acid metabolites give rise to lipid mediators and the competition between n-3 and n-6 acids and metabolites is critical. During this session the speakers will discuss the sources of these dietary components (fish via their ingestion of algae) and the lipid mediators derived from such fatty acids and their functions in health and disease.

Invited speakers: Professor John L. Harwood (Cardiff University) and Professor Philip Calder (University of Southampton). The webinar will be chaired by Professor Parveen Yaqoob, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research & Innovation at the University of Reading. She has been an active researcher in the area of diet, immunity and inflammation for more than 30 years. The session is aimed for practicing scientist in early years of their career.

R for Biochemists 201

17 January 2022 onwards

R for Biochemists 201 builds on the content of R101 for those wishing to extend and develop their knowledge of R. The course has a focus on proteomic data analysis and uses modern data analysis concepts, packages and visualisations. R for Biochemists 201 teaches participants the key concepts of tidy data, about good coding practice such as developing reproducible workflows, and how to create more complex data visualisations in R. Each module contains code demos, theory, exercises and quizzes to help support learning, with the Lead Educator and course moderators responding to learner comments for the first 6 weeks.

Developments in Glycobiology

19 January 2022

The webinar is part of our dedicated Early Career Researcher (ECR) series. During this session we will hear from three ECR members of the Society who will share their work in the field of Glycobiology with the biosciences community. The speakers are: Ben Schumman, The Francis Crick Institute London & Imperial College London - 'Chemical precision tools to study the glycoproteome'; Fiona Cuskin, University of Newcastle - ‘Borrowing a cup of sugar from your neighbour: Microbial glycan utilisation in the human gut microbiota’; Salvatore Santamaria, Imperial College London - ‘Molecular mechanisms behind ADAMTS proteoglycanase activity’. The webinar will be co-chaired by Professor Dani Ungar at the University of York, and Professor Karen Polizzi at Imperial College London.