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Social Report: “Bari, Apulia and the Linking of Transcription to Physiology – The Lipid View”

Scientists from around the world, interested in lipids, transcription, physiology, lipidomics, and Italy, came to Bari in
mid September to participate in the 54th ICBL confererce aptly organized by Antonio Moschetta (Università degli Studi
“Aldo Moro”) and Maurizio Crestani (Università degli Studi di Milano), together with members of the organizing committee and secretariat. The meeting venue was at the Sheraton Nicolaus Hotel, where many participants also enjoyed accommodation.

Before the ICBL programme started in the evening of September 17, a satellite meeting “Cardiolipin as key lipid of mitochondria in health and disease” was organized by Angela Corcelli (University of Bari) and Michael Schlame (New York University). The program of the satellite meeting encompassed 9 plenary lectures and was followed by large audience.

The ICBL program started with the traditional opening ceremonies (the local organizers and the President of ICBL
addressed briefly the meeting participants) and the van Deenen Lecture, which this year was given by professor Bruce Spiegelman. His excellent presentation was entitled “Transcriptional control of brown and beige fat: toward a new generation of therapeutics”. After the lecture and a discussion section, participants gathered for some hors d'oeuvr, refreshments, and mingling.

On September 18, the theme of the morning session was “Nuclear receptors and the transcriptional regulation of lipid metabolism”. Three plenary lectures were given, together with four short oral presentations. The afternoon session was about “The gut-liver axis route for lipids: relevance in nutrition and lifestyle”, aptly selected after the lunch which directly upregulated the gut-liver axis. After two plenary lectures, several short presentations were given. The audience (about 200 people) participated actively during the day, and were also presented with about 75 posters which were viewed in two session during the second day.

The third day served both plenary lectures and short oral talks relating to “Dissectign lipid metabolism in diabetes and atherosclerosis” and “Lipid metabolism, transcription, stemness”, and the second poster session.

On Friday morning, the session was about “Signal transduction, gene expression and circadian rhythm in the regulation of lipid metabolism”. A special lecture was named after the late professor Giovanni Galli, and it was presented by professor John Y. L. Chiang. After lunch, there was free time for the participants to take in Bari and the Apulia region. The formal social tour took a busload of interested participants to the Castle del Monte and the Trani harbor and cathedral. The old castle on the top of a hill in Andria, constructed in the 1240s during the reign of Fredrik II, the Holy Roman Emperor, was a very impressive and imposing castle, which was open to exploration by us. Having inspected all parts of the Castle del Monte, we continued to Trani, a seaport town on the coast north of Bari. Here we walked in the old part of the city and eventually came to the Cathedral of San Nicola the pilgrim. This also was a very impressing and old monumental building, whose construction started already in 1099.

From Trani we hit the road and navigated back to Bari and the Nicolaus Hotel, where the gala dinner was about to start. We barely made it. The dinner was in the hotel’s festive Roof Garden. The food was plentiful and very tasty, the music modern, and people clearly enjoyed themselves. According to tradition, the poster awards ceremony took place after dinner and before dancing commenced. The Saturday morning session started a bit later than the
other morning sessions, to allow for more rest after a festive evening and night. The scientific theme for the session was “Dynamics of membrane microdomains and pathophysiological implications”. The second session of the day was organized by professor Laszlo Vigh, and entitled “Lipids and membranes in stress management – stress perception, signaling, repair and adaptation”. For these last sessions, the audience was still numerous and participated eagerly in discussions after each presentation.

At the end of the meeting, professor George Carman presented the “Journal of Biological Chemistry/Herb Tabor
Young Investigator Award” to Dr. Ursula Loizides-Mangold from Geneva. Professor Cherry Wainwright (Aberdeen)
presented the venue and program of the next ICBL meeting (23-27 June, 2014), and wished all welcome to that meeting. Finally, professor Maurizio Crestani thanked all speakers, the audience, and the local organizers for putting together another memorable ICBL meeting, and bade all farewell. 

J. Peter Slotte, President of the ICBL

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