SEB Florence 2018 - Programme

Science across Boundaries sessions

The following joint Plant, Cell and Animal Biology sessions will take place at SEB Florence 2018.

Animal and Cell Biology

Stress: From cellular mechanisms to organismal responses and conservation

Plant and Animal Biology

Cell and plant biology

Animal and cell biology

Stress: From cellular mechanisms to organismal responses and conservation

Pumping ions as a response to stress from aquatic habitat transitions: cellular and molecular mechanisms related to evolutionary changes

Date: 4 July 2018

Who should submit:

Researchers with interest in the following areas: Ion transport, hydromineral regulation, osmoregulation, ecophysiology, acid-base regulation, salinity changes, plasticity, phenotype, evolutionary transitions


Catherine Lorin-Nebel (Montpellier University, France)
Jonathan Wilson (Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada)
Guy Charmantier (Montpellier University, France)
Greg Goss (University of Alberta, Canada)
Pung-Pung Hwang (Academia Sinica, Taiwan)

  • Yung-Che Tseng (Academia Sinica, Taiwan) - A comprehensive study on acid and ammonium regulations in cephalopods that live in benthic and epipelagic zone
  • Marian Hu (Kiel University, Germany) - New insights from an old model organism: acid-base physiology in the sea urchin larva
  • Carol Eumni Lee (University of Wisconsin, USA) - Rapid selection on ion transporters during major habitat transitions
  • Steffen Madsen (University of Southern Denmark, Denmark) - Aquaporin expression in fish: challenging the paradigm of intestinal water transport

This session will focus on osmoregulation in aquatic animals as a response to stress from habitat transitions or from settlement in stressful environments such as hypersaline media or fresh water: cellular and molecular mechanisms of hydro-mineral regulation related to ecology and evolution. Migrations of aquatic species between different environments are well known. Invasions of new aquatic habitats with different salinities, e.g. from marine environments to fresh water have been performed by a few animal taxa over evolutionary time and also occur over short periods of time following artificial transport by human activities. Migrating between environments with different salinities or invading them confront the animals with challenges in hydromineral regulation. This session addresses physiological adaptations and acclimation processes that have permitted migrations between or colonisations of habitats with different salinities over different time scales, sometimes resulting in settlement in new habitats. These adaptive strategies will be analysed at different levels of biological organisation from molecules to organisms and populations, in different models, mainly crustaceans and fish.

Related sessions:

The role of the mitochondria in environmental adaptation and disease

Date: 6 July 2018

Who should submit:

Researchers with interest in the following areas: Bioenergetics, oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species, mitochondrial adaptations, hypoxia tolerance, thermal acclimation, mitochondrial complex, metabolic suppression, energy metabolism 


Angela Fago (Aarhus University, Denmark)
Gina Galli (University of Manchester, UK)
Kim Hellgren (University of Manchester, UK)

  • Steve Hand (Louisiana State University, USA) - Mitochondrial function during energy limited states
  • Raquel Moreno Loshuertos (Universidad De Zaragoza, Spain) - Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA matching shapes metabolism and healthy ageing in conplastic mice
  • James Staples (University of Western Ontario, Canada) - Multiple modes of regulating mitochondrial metabolism in a mammalian hibernator
  • Edward Chouchani (Harvard Medical School, USA) - Mechanisms of mitochondrial redox control over health and disease

Mitochondrial metabolites and reactive oxygen species are key for controlling a variety of biological processes, but we still know little about how this occurs.  Our lab uses mass spectrometry to understand mechanisms of mitochondrial metabolic and redox signaling in obesity and cardiovascular disease.

The past decade has witnessed an explosion of research into the role of mitochondria in health and disease. In addition to energy production, we now know that mitochondria plays an important role in cellular signalling, reactive oxygen species and controlling cell growth. Due to these diverse roles, dysfunctional mitochondria have been implicated in a broad range of human diseases and tissue injuries. On the other hand, recent work from the comparative community has shown that mitochondrial adaptations contribute to environmental tolerance. Understanding mitochondrial function has thus become a major goal for both experimental and clinical biologists. Our session aims to draw together a diverse group of scientists to identify common mitochondrial pathways involved in environmental adaptation, health and disease. The session will be of interest to scientists from a broad range of disciplines, including medical doctors, molecular biologists as well as comparative physiologists.

Related sessions:

Advances in non-invasive monitoring of stress in the field and laboratory: applications to conservation

Date: 3 July 2018

Who should submit:

Researchers with interest in the following: Endocrinology, neurobiology, animal behaviour, conservation endocrinology and physiology, conservation, cardiovascular biology


Nic Bury (University of Suffolk, UK)
Tessa Smith (University of Chester, UK)
Lynne Sneddon (University of Liverpool, UK)

  • Dorothy McKeegan (University of Glasgow, UK) - Infrared thermography: a non-invasive tool to measure stress in birds
  • Rupert Palme (University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Austria) - In the wild: How to measure stress in free-ranging animals
  • Steven Cooke (Carleton University, Canada) - Conservation relevance is enhanced by taking the lab to the field
  • Felix Mark (Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany)
  • Oliver Love (University of Windsor, Canada)

The aim of the session is to bring together experts in non-invasive methods of monitoring stress in animals. This includes those using established and novel techniques to measure stress hormone concentrations in animal faeces, hair, saliva, urine, nails and horn, as well as fish scales or mucus, and tank water. But, the apical measurement of stress is not just an endocrine response, and also includes altered behavioural traits as well as perturbed physiological function such as heart rate and blood pressure and immune function. The physiological traits readily measured in the laboratory as a means of gauging an animal’s welfare, are increasingly being used as measures of stress in the wild.  Thus, the session will hopefully bring together wildlife conservationists as well as more traditional lab based scientists to share techniques to monitor stress in an non-invasive way to better inform on animal welfare and the effects of conservation strategies.

Related sessions:

Plant and Animal Biology

Environmental impact on epigenetic memory

Date: 5 and 6 July 2018

Who should submit:

Researchers with interest in the following areas: Environmental signals, reproduction, environmental adaptation, gene regulatory networks, growth and development, metabolism, biotechnology


Jose Gutierrez-Marcos (University of Warwick, UK)
Vardhman Rakyan (Blizard Institute, UK)

  • Eric Miska (University of Cambridge, UK) - Epigenetic memory in worms
  • Daniel Zilberman (John Innes Centre, UK) - Epigenetic inheritance of DNA methylation patterns
  • Anne Ferguson-Smith (University of Cambridge, UK) - Trangenerational epigenetic inheritance in mouse
  • Anita Ost (Linköping University, Sweden) - Small RNAs transmit big epigenetic message
  • Paul Hurd (Queen Mary University of London, UK) - Epigenetic determination of social insect castes

It is now recognised that the activity of enzymes that regulate the structure and configuration of chromatin is influenced by changes in the environment. Such changes precipitate a cascade of transcriptional changes, which in some cases can persist through mitosis to subsequence cell generations thus constituting a heritable epigenetic change. Moreover, these environment-ditected epigenetic changes can be transmitted to offspring and contribute to adaptive responses, thus potentially influence evolution. This session will discuss how environmental cues direct epigenetic changes, how these changes are inherited and define their significance in adaptation and evolution.  

Related sessions and meetings:

Cell and Plant biology

General cell and plant biology (poster session only)

Poster sessions: 4 and 5 July 2018

The general Cell and Plant biology session invites posters on all the aspects of plant and cell biology that are not catered for in the specific section sessions. As such, the session is an important element of the scientific programme, with high-quality presentations on a wide spectrum of subjects.

The poster sessions will take place on 4 and 5 July 2018 and accepted posters will be grouped into subject areas based on the special interest groups of the Plant and Cell Sections. We particularly encourage submissions from PhD students and early career scientists.