DPhil Students Gosia Cyranka and Sian Wilcox have been awarded Early Career Researcher Prizes in recognition of their excellence in physiology at Physiology 2021. The Annual Conference is The Physiological Society's flagship event, and the highlight of the year for the largest network of physiologists in Europe, bringing together the very best and most exciting in current physiological research, this year in the form of an innovative online event.
The Conference was attended by a vibrant community of around 600 scientists from 45 countries. Across five days, Physiology 2021 featured an exceptional scientific programme of 95 ePosters, 83 Oral Communications, 72 Symposia speakers and 7 Prize Lectures. Among these, DPAG's Gosia Cyranka from the de Wet Group and Sian Wilcox from the Vyazovskiy Group, presented their own original research.
Gosia Cyranka was awarded a Physiology 2021 Early Career Researcher Poster Competition Prize for her communication entitled "Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) secretion from gut endocrine cells is pH dependent”.
Here, she reported for the first time that secretion of the gut incretin hormone, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) is pH dependent. She showed that lowering the extracellular pH below neutral 7.0 causes a decrease in stimulated GLP-1 secretion in vitro from primary L-cells and GLUTag cells. Intraluminal pH of the gut is very variable, with the highest variability in the colon, where GLP-1 is mainly made. Understanding how pH affects GLP-1 secretion brings a significant possibility for tackling obesity and type 2 diabetes as GLP-1 analogues and inhibitors of GLP-1 degradation are new lines of treatment for these diseases.
I'm very happy and honoured to receive this Prize at Physiology 2021. It's a fantastic feeling to gain recognition for my DPhil research and be rewarded for pursuing unusual ideas.
- Gosia Cyranka
Sian Wilcox was also awarded a Physiology 2021 Early Career Researcher Poster Competition Prize for her communication entitled “Fasting-induced torpor in mice: implications for behavioural neuroscience research”. She additionally won a Physiological Reports Abstract Award for this piece of work. Physiological Reports is a collaboration between The Physiological Society and the American Physiological Society, and publishes original research in all areas of basic, translational and clinical physiology and allied disciplines. Sian reported on data following investigation into whether commonly used food restriction protocols would be sufficient to induce torpor, a hibernation-like state, in mice. Torpor results in profound physiological changes, which may confound subsequent data, resulting in data that is neither reliable nor reproducible, and limiting the scope and translatability of the results. She found that these protocols where sufficient to consistently induce torpor in most mice on most days, regardless of feeding time. She also found a high degree of variation in torpor characteristics within and between animals, which may be contributing to the high levels of variability we see in animal research.
It's important to highlight the importance of refining the methods used for animal research, and I'm really pleased that I've been able to bring more awareness to this so that we can work towards improving the quality of animal data.
- Sian Wilcox