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    SGP 73rd ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM / SOBLA ANNUAL MEETING "Structural Basis of Electrical Signaling in the Nervous System and Heart"

    The 2019 Society of General Physiologists (SGP) Annual Symposium, to be held at Valparaiso, Chile on September 4th-7th, 2019. The topic will be “Structural Basis of Electrical Signaling in the Heart and the Nervous System”.

    This meeting will be unique as it will be organized in collaboration with the Latin American Society of Biophysics (SOBLA). SOBLA is a scientific society aimed toward strengthening biophysical research among Hispanic investigators in the US and Latin America. For the first time in 70 years, the SGP has agreed to locate its annual meeting outside of Woods Hole, MA, in recognition of its long-standing relationship with Hispanic scientists in the US and abroad.

    This meeting is poised to be a unique scientific event presenting novel and cutting-edge research in the study of membrane excitability. The symposium will emphasize four central themes: (1) identification of novel physiological roles for ion channels, (2) ion channel function in established disease models, (3) molecular basis of intercellular communication, and (4) imaging techniques in ion channel function and excitability. These topics represent an integration of membrane physiology from molecular to whole organism levels with a special emphasis on human disease-associated mutations. In particular, the research that will be presented will highlight new advances in our understanding mechanism regulating membrane excitabity in neurons, action potentials and vascular tone that are central to brain physiology.

    The SGP/SOBLA symposium is designed to encourage small-group discussions and foster cross-disciplinary collaborations that tackle the increasingly complex problems in channel/transporter physiology. The SGP’s ‘Friends of Physiology’ lecture honors the lasting impact of the contributions to the fundamental understanding of cell biology and physiology made by Professors Clay Armstrong and Clara Franzini-Armstrong. The 2013 inaugural lecture was presented by Nobel laureate Rod McKinnon, followed by Nobel Laureates Linda Buck and Martin Chalfie (2014), Thomas Südhof and Mark Nelson (2015), Jeffrey Noebels (2016), Eric Betzig (2017), and Chris Miller (2018). The 2019 lecture will be presented by Francisco Bezanilla, entitled ‘‘Voltage sensors, gating currents and conformational changes’’. Dr. Bezanilla is recognized for his seminal work on mechanisms of voltage-sensing in ion channels, which has been key to our understanding of the molecular basis of action potentials. Indeed, in collaboration with Clay Armstrong, Bezanilla demonstrated the first gating currents in Na+ channels.

    SGP/SOBLA 2019 symposium aims for a relaxed yet rigorous atmosphere for the lively exchange of ideas by attendees that is catalyzed by an ambitious combination of lectures, poster sessions, late-breaking research, new investigator “short talk” presentations, and ample time for informal discussions.