More than 40 researchers from across departments of The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University met on 22 September at SITraN to exchange their knowledge on glia and the role of these cells in neurological diseases. The networking event was sponsored by the Biochemical Society and brought together scientists working on a wide range of topics and approaches.
Highlights of the day: Alzheimer’s Society Research Fellow Dr Claire Garwood from SITraN reported on how impaired insulin signalling in human astrocytes is thought to contribute to dementia pointing to interesting links between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease; Professor Matthew Holley from the Department of Biomedical Sciences presented findings from transplantation studies where glial scar tissue seems to serve as a guide for nerve cells to reach their destination; Dr Leandro Beltrachini from the Department of Electric and Electrical Engineering talked about how diffusion MRI can be used to generate in silico white matter models.
The meeting closed with a fantastic plenary talk by Professor Alexej Verkhratsky from the University of Manchester giving a comprehensive overview on the history of glia research and state of current knowledge, dispelling common myths and misconceptions.
The organisers Dr Claire Garwood from SITraN and Dr Clare Howarth from the Department of Psychology said: “Glia play a central role in neurological diseases and it is great to see that an increasing number of scientists are looking at these brain cells which seem to play a crucial role in protecting our nerve cells from damage and ultimately from diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Motor Neurone Disease.”