Background: from cells to organs in the lab

SfE BES 2015 (RGB)Kevin Docherty fills us in on the research behind the session he’s co-chairing at SfE BES 2015. The session, “Evolving model systems for complex tissues”  will be chaired by Kevin and Shareen Forbes on Wednesday 4 November at 09:15.

It is over 18 years since James Thompson and colleagues at the University of Madison published their data on human embryonic stem cells (hESCs).  These cells are pluripotent and as such have the inherent ability to give rise to any human cell type. It was anticipated that the ability to grow hESC-derived human tissue in culture would provide model systems for drug development, ex vivo toxicity testing, and tissue for cell therapy. One could argue that this is an appropriate time to take stock of where we are with respect to achieving these goals and where the field is heading. In this context The SFE BES Conference in Edinburgh (November 2nd-4th 2015) is holding a timely session entitled:  The Applied Physiology Workshop on Evolving Model Systems for Complex Tissues.

Picture1The premise at the outset was that hESCs (and iPSCs when they came along in 2007) could be directed to differentiate towards specific tissue lineages by recapitulating events that occurred in the developing embryo. The field got off to a slow start while we waited for the developmental biology to catch up. However by around 2005, or so, we had reliable markers for the three important germ layers (definitive endoderm, mesoderm and ectoderm), and we also began to understand the important roles played by different signalling pathways in driving these cells towards, neurons, cardiomyocytes,  liver, pancreas and other relevant cell types. We soon had a toolbox for every tissue.  In some cases the protocols were fairly simple. Thus, some neuronal cell types could be generated over a relatively short period of time (~10 days) with a few key reagents. It was not surprising therefore that the first clinical trials were for the use of pluripotent cell (PC) – derived retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells in the treatment of age related macular degeneration (AMD).  However, the development of cell therapeutics for the major chronic diseases such as liver failure, diabetes and neurodegeneration has proved more challenging. Continue reading “Background: from cells to organs in the lab”

Early Career countdown to SfE BES 2015

SfE BES 2015 (RGB)Sam Mirczuk, Chair of the Society for Endocrinology Early Career Steering Group, tells us what’s in store for our Early Career Endocrinologists at SfE BES 2015.

Posters are being printed, and unveiled in all their glory on the office floor to people wanting to get a sneaky peek. PowerPoint’s have spell checked, saved, resaved and saved again. Emails, texts and/or Facebook messages are being enthusiastically sent to friends and colleagues, arranging catch-ups to speak about stories, triumphs and occasions that have occurred over the past 18 months. The final countdown to SfE BES 2015 has begun!

Picture1As you eagerly await the chance to experience the events ahead, you start to look at the all-important SfE BES 2015 programme. Where do I start? What am I going to see? These are just some of the questions that start to flood your mind as you begin to appreciate what lies ahead. Continue reading “Early Career countdown to SfE BES 2015”

Five reasons to be Tweeting at SfE BES

SfE BES 2015 (RGB)Love it or hate it, Twitter can really help you get more out of your conference. Here are our top five ways, from the Society for Endocrinology communications team. Happy Tweeting! (and don’t forget the hashtag #SfEBES15 !)

1. Meet fellow delegatesTWITTER

It’s networking – but online. Meet that colleague who’s active in your field, or find your next career opportunity, Twitter is a great way to introduce yourself before you meet in person. Continue reading “Five reasons to be Tweeting at SfE BES”

Welcome to Edinburgh

SfE BES 2015 (RGB)With one week to go until SfE BES 2015 kicks off in Edinburgh, local endocrinologist Karen Chapman would like to welcome you to the city which is steeped in endocrinology history.

KarenWelcome to Auld Reekie! These days, it is much more likely that it will be clouds of mist and rain that stop you seeing the battlements of Edinburgh Castle, than the smog that used to hang over the city. Still, on an atmospheric November day (that’s a euphemism for a dark, wet, November day), you can let your imagination run wild as you wander down Edinburgh’s historical Closes and remember the many historical characters who have trodden these paths before you.  Continue reading “Welcome to Edinburgh”

Debunking the Open Access Myths, Open Access Week 19-25th October 2015


Nature’s 2015 Authors’ Insights Survey suggests that open-access (OA) perceptions are changing.  However, our journal’s team find that concerns are still rife. As part of International Open Access Week, SfE’s OA journals, Endocrine Connections and Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Case Reports (both published by Bioscientifica), are addressing the most commonly expressed OA ‘myths’ and reviewing the evidence to refute them.  Continue reading “Debunking the Open Access Myths, Open Access Week 19-25th October 2015”

Mark Vanderpump on hypothyroidism treatment debate

SfE BES 2015 (RGB)This year at BES we will be debating the controversial topic of Hypothyroidism treatment. Join us on Monday 2 November 2015 at 7pm to hear two leaders in the field discuss the pros and cons of combination T3 and T4 treatments. The debate chair Mark Vanderpump, Consultant Physician and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Diabetes and Endocrinology at the Royal Free London, has written a short blog post to summarise the history of the issue and the key arguments.  Continue reading “Mark Vanderpump on hypothyroidism treatment debate”