Scientists join together to present findings on impact of lipids on metabolic diseases

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign recently hosted the 4th Big Ten Academic Alliance Lipid meeting, bringing together dozens of scientists from across the country to share their expertise on how lipids impact metabolic diseases.

The conference took place at the I Hotel on February 11th, marking the first time lipid researchers have joined together to present their studies since the University of Minnesota hosted the event in 2019.

Nine professors delivered presentations both in-person and remotely during the conference. Dr. Sayeepriyadarshini "Sayee" Anakk, an associate professor of molecular & integrative physiology at the University of Illinois, organized this year’s symposium.

“The meeting was a great success,” Anakk enthused. “It was exciting to hear all the wonderful lipid biology happening across Big Ten campuses.”

Various units across the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign's campus supported the event, including the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology, the Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology in the School of MCB, the Cancer Center at Illinois, and Illinois Nutritional Sciences. Industry sponsors also provided support for the symposium.

Researchers also had time throughout the conference to view 18 poster presentations from various Big Ten lab groups. Three awards were presented at the conclusion of the conference:

- Outstanding Abstract: "Intestinal SCE16B is required for dietary lipid absorption in mice," by Ruicheng Shi, Wei Lu, Ye Tian, and Bo Wang at the University of Illinois.

- Best Poster: "Cellular plasticity balances the metabolic and proliferation dynamics of a regenerating liver," by Ullas Chembazhi, Sushant Bangru, Zachary Dewlap, Katie Toohill, Mikel Hernaez, and Auinash Kalsotra at the University of Illinois.

- Best Poster: "Increased fatty acid synthesis and catabolism supports metastatic breast cancer cell migration," by Chaylen Andolino, Dorothy Teegarden, and Kim Buhman in the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University.

“This interdisciplinary symposium provided a very timely opportunity to bring Big Ten junior and senior experts to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to share their work on lipids, which are key molecular factors in health and wellness, as well as disease," Dr. Susan Martinis, Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Illinois and Stephen G. Sligar endowed professor in the Department of Biochemistry. "These types of research conferences, the scientific exchange, and the collaborations that emerge from them are critically important to advancing the field.”

The first Lipid Symposium was hosted by the Rutgers Center for Lipid Research in 2016.

“The symposium brought together a group of renowned speakers from Big Ten schools who shared their knowledge, results, and insights into how lipids relate to metabolic diseases,” Dr. George Carman, the research center's founding director, recalled. “The theme of sharing research was further exemplified through a poster session and informal discussions. Collaborations, and most importantly, friendships, resulted from the inaugural symposium.”

Purdue University hosted the symposium in 2018, followed by the University of Minnesota in 2019. Researchers are planning to join together again next year, with Dr. Brandon S. Davies, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Iowa, set to organize the conference.

Written by Jennifer Lask.

Read the Big Ten Academic Alliance Lipids Symposium's program brochure here.

February 18, 2022 All News