UK proteostasis community comes together for a successful inaugural event

UK proteostasis community comes together for a successful inaugural event

UK proteostasis community comes together for a successful inaugural event

Key points:

  • The UK’s proteostasis community came together for the first event of the UK Proteostasis Network at the Institute on 8th and 9th May.
  • The event brought together over 170 attendees, representing a diversity of research areas, roles and sectors, to connect, share and catalyse collaboration across the research and innovation ecosystem.
  • The audience heard from several senior representatives of the pharma sector to discuss the connection between fundamental and applied research.
  • The event also collected input into the future development of the UK Proteostasis Network to meet the needs and priorities of the community.

Over 170 attendees came together on 8th and 9th May to share their research across all areas of the proteostasis field, representing over 60 research groups from 46 organisations, from over 14 UK locations.

With a focus on networking and exchange, the dynamic two-day event showcased diverse, cutting-edge proteostasis research and discussed fundamental questions in the field, including how to expedite applications in pharmaceuticals and other sectors.

The conference marked the inaugural event of the UK Proteostasis Network, an initiative launched by the Institute and shaped by Network Coordinators: Della David and Oliver Florey at the Babraham Institute, and Laura Itzhaki and Ritwick Sawarkar at the University of Cambridge. The purpose of the Network is to connect UK-based researchers working on proteostasis-related areas to exchange research news, expertise and knowledge in order to jointly tackle challenges in fundamental biology, accelerate translation of research and support researchers and technical specialists at all levels.

Dr Della David welcomes attendees to the UK Proteostasis Conference
Dr Della David welcomes attendees to the UK Proteostasis Conference

Della David, senior group leader at the Babraham Institute, said: “The creation of the UK Proteostasis Network has been met with such enthusiasm and it was inspiring to see the goals of the Network being made a reality at the conference. A major success was the flash talks that gave many labs working on proteostasis across the UK the opportunity to highlight their work. It was amazing to see the breath of research represented and the willingness of researchers from different branches of proteostasis to unite together. This strong support from the community has really energised us to continue our efforts in building the network to deliver impact for all the teams involved. We’d like to thank all the attendees, speakers, sponsors and the organising team for all their efforts in making the conference such a success.” 

Ritwick Sawarkar, group leader at the MRC Toxicology Unit, University of Cambridge, added: “We were excited to see a strong representation of the diversity of the field from all across the UK and to welcome participants from many career stages, who had the chance to meet with other researchers to discuss collaborative opportunities. The brain-storming sessions to chart out the future of the network were very useful for us as Network Coordinators and we look forward to developing the Network to meet those needs.”

In a valuable cross-sector exchange, the programme included a panel session on the translation of fundamental proteostasis research for therapeutic benefit with representatives from AstraZeneca, the Alborada Drug Discovery Institute at the University of Cambridge, Eli Lilly and Company, Alchemab Therapeutics and Mission Therapeutics.

Kathryn Champman, Director of Science & Entrepreneurship at Babraham Research Campus Ltd., who chaired the pharma panel discussion, said: “The conference offered an exciting opportunity for academia and industry to exchange knowledge and expertise on advancing the proteostasis field and fulfilling the future promise of innovative therapeutics. It catalysed cross-sector connections that will help us unlock the potential of proteostasis, paving the way for new targets and modalities to treat neurological diseases and oncology.”

Sadhana Sharma, Head of Strategy for Bioscience for Health at BBSRC, said: “It was a pleasure to attend the inaugural meeting for the Network which brought the UK’s strong proteostasis community together. The conference was a hotbed of discussion on topics ranging from ageing, age-related diseases, plant health and bacterial infections. There was a palpable sense of excitement about new and innovative research and about creating a UK network to actively connect and engage the UK’s proteostasis research community.”

(L>R) Ritwick, Oli, Della and Laura celebrate the first event of the UK Proteostasis Network with cake
(L>R) Ritwick, Oli, Della and Laura celebrate the first event of the UK Proteostasis Network with cake

Following on from the Network’s first in-person event, the Network Coordinators look forward to further growth of the Network and establishing an organising committee. Anyone interested in joining the Network can sign up via this short form and members interested in taking a more active role in the development of the Network are invited to contact the coordinators on:

The conference organisers acknowledge the generous support of the event sponsors: Babraham Institute, Babraham Research Campus Ltd., Altos and BBSRC, part of UKRI.


Press contact: Dr Louisa Wood, Head of Communications,

Image description: Attendees at the UK Proteostasis Conference, Babraham Institute, 8-9 May 2024

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