Registration for 38th Steenbock Symposium Is Now Open

Logo for Steenbock 38

The Department of Biochemistry and the Department of Biomolecular Chemistry are pleased to invite you to register for the 38th Steenbock Symposium on June 22-June 25, 2017. The registration deadline is May 14, with the early registration deadline falling on March 30.

The symposium’s theme, “Protein Trafficking in the Secretory Pathway,” will bring together researchers from the United States, as well as from Europe and Canada, to discuss and explore this important biochemical pathway. The symposium will take place on campus in the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery Building.

“This topic is researched from many different angles, mine being insulin and diabetes, but since many of the processes are important for multiple cellular functions we can all learn so much from each other at this symposium,” says Alan Attie, a professor of Biochemistry and one of the symposium’s organizers. “We seek to bring people together who may not meet each other elsewhere in order to generate new ideas and collaboration.”

To read more about the symposium see its website.

Poster advertising the 38th Steenbock SymposiumAlong with Attie, Biochemistry’s Tom Martin and Biomolecular Chemistry’s Jon Audhya are also serving as organizers. The Department of Biochemistry is part of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the Department of Biomolecular Chemistry is part of the School of Medicine and Public Health. The three researchers approach research on the secretory pathway in different ways and took advantage of that diversity when planning the symposium.

The secretory pathway is a basic process that transcends any individual field, say the researchers, so there are many reasons someone might be interested in protein secretion. For example, Martin broadly studies the machinery that makes the secretory pathway possible.

“Almost all cellular function depends on proteins and they have to have a way to get to where they need to go after they are made,” he says. “How does a protein know where to go and what is the machinery at each step through the cell? It’s this complex set of protein/membrane machines that we are trying to understand.”

Martin’s lab has studied the protein machinery at the end of the secretory pathway where soluble contents (e.g., hormones, inflammatory mediators) are delivered to the extracellular space. The symposium will focus on many related protein machines that function at other steps in the multi-step secretory pathway.

“Many components in the secretory pathway are linked to disease-causing mutations such as in autism and diabetes,” Martin says. “Our goal is to learn better ways to diagnose and fix the problem by understanding the pathway.”

Photo of professors Alan Attie, Jon Audhya, and Tom Martin
Left to right: Alan Attie, Jon Audhya, and Tom Martin. 

Audhya’s research focuses on basic and translational work. He studies various forms of nerve degeneration and mutations that affect the secretory pathway. In neurons, the secretory pathway is essential for building a neuron from initial cell formation all the way through axon formation — and finally connectivity within the brain itself. Any defects in this pathway during development can lead to disease.

“When putting together this symposium we pulled together experts in many areas of the secretory pathway,” Audhya says. “We didn’t just focus on one part. I think bringing all of these people together will add a lot of value to many types of research.”

The Steenbock Symposium is supported by the Steenbock Endowment to honor Professor Harry Steenbock’s work as a distinguished Biochemistry faculty member, whose contributions spanned many areas of nutrition and biochemistry.

“We invite anyone interested in any aspect of the secretory pathway to attend and present his or her research,” Attie says. “We are looking forward to a great symposium filled with science and collaboration.”