Inside Out: New Frontiers in the Comparative Physiology of the Vertebrate Gut
Organisers: Carol Bucking and Chris M. Wood
Date: 25-28 June 2023
Location: Wiston House, West Sussex, UK
This Workshop will bring together experts from a wide range of disciplines to examine the functioning of the vertebrate gastro-intestinal tract though the lens of integrative physiology. Until recently, the gut was the poor relation to other exchange sites with the environment (lungs, gills, and kidneys) in terms of scientific investigation. Indeed, it received scant attention from most comparative physiologists apart from the routine (but questionable) practice of starving their test animals prior to experimentation “so as to standardize their metabolic physiology”. However, many young researchers entering the field of gastro-intestinal physiology have radically altered the landscape, and many established researchers are now switching their focus to this area. Of particular significance has been the recent explosion of research on the importance of the microbiome for digestive health, not only in humans but in animals in general. The gastro-intestinal field is rapidly expanding, and now is a very appropriate time for the cross-disciplinary fertilization that this workshop will encourage.
Our objective is to break down the silos and glass walls that seem to have isolated the various groups working on the physiology of the gastrointestinal system. The Workshop will allow the microbial specialists to talk with the nutritionists, the nutritionists to the transport physiologists, the transport physiologists to the blood flow specialists, the blood flow specialists to the respiratory physiologists, and all of these to the behaviourists, toxicologists, and ecologists interested in gut function. To this end, participants have been selected for their track records of routinely adopting integrative approaches in their research. We hope to foster both conceptual breakthroughs and spontaneous collaborations that may develop from the post-talk discussion sessions. For our young scientists whom will be sponsored by the Company of Biologists, it will be a valuable opportunity to meet some of the major players across the breadth of gastro-intestinal physiology, and to broaden their horizons. While the focus will be on the digestive tract (“Inside”), it is our hope that the participants will consider the consequences of gut function (“Out”) for the physiology of the whole organism, its behaviour and performance, and its role in the ecosystem.
Organisers & speakers
Carol Bucking York University, Canada
Chris Wood The University of British Columbia, Canada
Erika Eliason University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
Juan Fuentes University of Algarve, Portugal
Martin Grosell University of Miami, USA
William Karasov University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Martin Llewellyn University of Glasgow, UK
Paola Navarrete University of Chile, Chile
Catharina Olsson University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Karen Sullam Agroscope, Switzerland
Yoshio Takei The University of Tokyo, Japan
Tobias Wang Aarhus University, Germany
Rod Wilson University of Exeter, UK
Applications will open: 10 October 2022
Application deadline: 13 January 2023
We offer 10 funded places for early-career researchers (PhD students, postdocs and PIs in the first 3 years of their first appointment) to attend our Workshops along with the 20 invited speakers. We just ask that you pay for your own travel costs. Please complete the application form and attach a one page CV and an abstract. PhD students and postdoc applicants should include a letter of support from their supervisor
All attendees are expected to actively contribute to the Workshops by asking questions at presentation sessions and taking part in discussions.
At some Workshops, early career scientists are given additional responsibilities to promote their involvement, such as:
- Write a daily blog for the Node
- Summarise the previous day’s themes to set the scene for the next day’s sessions
- Present a poster on their research interests
- Propose future directions and collaborations
- Give a short talk on their research
- Make a short 2 minute video on their experience at the Workshop
Most of these activities would be carried out in pairs or small groups and often with the
support of more senior scientists present.
About Wiston House
The Workshop will be held at the beautiful Wiston House, which is a 16th century Grade I listed building located at the foot of the South Downs in West Sussex. The house is surrounded by over 6,000 acres of parkland with magnificent views from the mile-long drive.
Wiston House is the home of Wilton Park, one of the world’s leading centres for the discussion of key international policy issues. Wilton Park was created in 1946 to help re-establish peace and democracy in Europe as part of an initiative inspired by Winston Churchill. Wiston House has an amazing history and appears in the Domesday Book, the register of English possessions made by William the Conqueror in 1086, 20 years after he won the Battle of Hastings.
Wiston House is 32 miles from Gatwick Airport and 60 miles from Heathrow Airport. The nearest train station is Shoreham-by-Sea, which is a 20 minute taxi ride from Wiston House and takes 1 hour 10 minutes from London Victoria.
Tel: +44 (0) 1903 815020