By Julia Turan, Communications Manager, The Physiological Society
What do puberty, doping in athletics, and the meat industry have in common? The answer is hormones. Secreted into the blood by specialized organs and tissues, hormones communicate a bewildering array of signals to a myriad of target sites.
Two weeks ago, The Physiological Society brought together experts in physiology, endocrinology, chemistry, physics and engineering, to discuss how to produce a new generation of tools and methods for detecting hormones inside our bodies
“The biggest hurdle facing basic and clinical endocrinologists is how we can measure hormones inside the body,” said one of the symposium organizers, Timothy Wells, Senior Lecturer in Neuroscience at Cardiff University.
Addressed by UK and international experts in hormone-receptor interactions, light-based sensing and nanocarbon-based sensing, the Society’s symposium explored how these molecular interactions could be exploited to quantify the dynamic changes in circulating hormone levels.
Cutting edge work featured
One of the potential approaches was presented by Frank Vollmer and his colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light. He and his team are attempting to reach the ultimate limit of detection, by sensing single molecule interactions and the resultant changes in three-dimensional shape. Their new technique, which was published this week in Nature Photonics, may enable the detection of individual hormone molecules.
Thus, the day of talks highlighted just how far we’ve come since Ernest Starling coined the term hormone in 1905.
The event, titled “Novel approaches to Hormone Sensing, The Inaugural Bayliss-Starling Symposium,” was part of the society’s H3 symposia. The next symposium will be held on 15 November about one of the biggest discoveries in biotech, CRISPR. Visit our website for more info: http://www.physoc.org/crispr/