We are happy to share the plenary and keynote speakers of

Physiology in Focus 2023 here!

The information on this page is updated continuously.




Jens Juul Holst
University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Jens Juul Holst is Professor of Medical Physiology at the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. He is also Senior Group Leader at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen.
Professor Holst's scientific work has focused on the regulatory peptides of the pancreas and the gut and their importance in the regulation of the functions of the GI-tract and metabolism, with particular focus on blood glucose and appetite regulation, obesity and diabetes. A particular emphasis has been on the role of the incretin hormones of the gut (GLP-1 and GIP). Professor Holst great scientific achievements include the discovery of GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1) a gut hormone regulating insulin secretion and appetite and food intake and his subsequent both basic and translational research in this field.
With an H-index of 155 (WoS, February 2023), he is among the most cited European scientists in his field. He has authored more than 1900 publications (about 1656 listed in PubMed) that have received more than 99,982 citations in Web of Science as of February 2023. According to PubMed he has 93 new titles for 2022 and 2023.

Jens Juul Holst will give a presentation on the topic "Future therapy of obesity and type 2 diabetes based on the physiological actions of a gut hormone".


Ole Holger Petersen
Professor of Physiology at Cardiff University, Wales, UK

Ole H Petersen is Professor of Physiology at Cardiff University, Wales, UK. He pioneered patch clamp single channel and whole cell recordings from epithelial cells in the early 1980s and discovered local transient Ca2+ signals in exocrine cells as physiological regulators of secretion in the 1990s. More recently, he showed that prolonged and global elevations of the cytosolic Ca2+ concentration are pathological, causing necrosis. Such signals can be prevented by inhibitors of Ca2+ release activated Ca2+ channels. Petersen was elected Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2000 (Vice-President 2005-2006) and Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in 2010 (Leopoldina Lectures 2012 & 2023).

He has received many prizes, including the American Physiological Society’s Walter B Cannon Award, the NOVO Nordisk Foundation’s Jacobaeus Prize, the Czech Academy of Sciences Purkyne Medal and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 2008. He received Academia Europaea’s Gold Medal at the Academy’s Annual Conference in Barcelona in 2021 and, most recently, the International Association of Pancreatology’s top award, the George E Palade Prize & Medal, at the Annual Meeting of the Japan Pancreas Society in Kyoto in 2022.

Take a look at the interview with Ole H Petersen HERE.

Ole H Petersen will give a presentation on the topic  "Watching living cells in action in the pancreas".





Agneta Nordberg
Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Agneta Nordberg obtained her M.D., and PhD at Uppsala University, Sweden and is a professor in Clinical Neuroscience, at Karolinska Institutet and Senior Consultant in Geriatric Medicine, Theme Aging, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm. The Nordberg Translational Molecular imaging lab at KI Center for Alzheimer Research has a major focus on in vitro / in vivo molecular brain imaging, to characterize the complex pathophysiology of AD and other proteinopathies, and to develop early diagnostic markers and new targets for early intervention. She has pioneered in the field of cholinergic neurotransmission, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, in the development of amyloid PET imaging, introducing the multi-tracer PET concept, and visualising reactive astrogliosis and tau pathology in AD and other dementia diseases. Her frontline research findings have been published in leading journal with over 550 scientific original articles and reviews (h index 85) and being PI for more than 16 clinical PET trials. She has received several prizes and rewards as the 2022 Henry Wisniewski Lifetime Achievement Award in Alzheimer´s Disease Research (AAIC), the 2021 Bengt Winblad Alzheimer Prize, the Swedish Society of Medicine, 2020 Foundation for Research on Alzheimer /European Grand Prix 2020, France, 2016 Grand Silver Medal Karolinska Institutet, 2014 Queen Silvia prize, 2013 Wailet and Eric Forsgren prize for Alzheimer Research.

Agneta Nordberg will give a presentation on the topic "Dynamic reactive astrogliosis in Alzheimer disease continuum".



Lora Heisler
Professor of Human Nutrition, Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen, UK

Professor Lora Heisler is Chair of Human Nutrition and Deputy Director of the Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen, Scotland.  Professor Heisler began her independent research group at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center & Harvard Medical School and then relocated to the University of Cambridge, UK. Her group moved to the Rowett Institute in 2013.  Professor Heisler’s research focuses on the brain circuits underlying appetite, physical activity, body weight and glucose homeostasis in an effort to identify new targets amenable to obesity and type 2 diabetes treatment.  Professor Heisler’s pioneering research has led to various scientific prizes and medals.  Her career contributions to obesity and diabetes research were acknowledged by Outstanding Scientific Achievements Awards from the Obesity Society and American Diabetes Association. She was elected to Scotland’s national academy of science and letters and The Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2016.
Twitter: @LoraHeisler

Lora Heisler will give a presentation on the topic “New insights in the brain control of obesity and type 2 diabetes”.



Maija Dambrova
Riga Stradins University, Latvia

Prof. Maija Dambrova is Head of the Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Pharmacology, Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, and Professor in the Riga Stradins University, Faculty of Pharmacy (Latvia). She has a PhD in Pharmaceutical Biosciences from Uppsala University (Sweden) and also holds a MBA degree from RISEBA, Latvia. Prof. M. Dambrova specializes in drug discovery, investigation of the molecular action mechanisms of drugs and biomarkers in collaboration with academic research partners and pharmaceutical industry. Research interests include pharmacology and medicinal chemistry related to the cardiometabolic drugs and novel paths to regulate cellular energy metabolism. For her achievements, M. Dambrova has been awarded EFPIA nomination “Portraits of Science–Scientists of Tomorrow”, Baltic Assembly Prize in Science,  L`Oréal Latvian fellowship "For Women in Science" with the support of the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO andthe Latvian Academy of Sciences.

Maija Dambrova will going to present on topic "Acylcarnitines: Fatty Acid Energy Metabolites in Health and Disease".





Mart Saarma
University of Helsinki, Finland

Mart Saarma is the Research Director and head of the laboratory at the Institute of Biotechnology, HiLIFE, University of Helsinki. He was in 2015-2016 the Vice President of the European Research Council and in 2011-2016 the member of the EMBO Council. He is the member of several academies, EMBO and Academia Europea. Dr. Saarma group has characterized several new GDNF family receptors, discovered a new neurotrophic factor CDNF. His research group is investigating the signalling and biological functions of GDNF family ligands and endoplasmic reticulum located CDNF/MANF neurotrophic factor families, both within and outside of the nervous system. His group recently discovered MANF receptors. He is also interested in the therapeutic potential of these proteins in various diseases, so he is testing their efficacy in animal models of Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, stroke and diabetes mellitus. One of the highlights of his research has been initiation and successful completion of phase I-II clinical trials of CDNF protein in Parkinson's disease patients by the Finnish company Herantis Pharma Plc. He was also a founder of Mobidiag Ltd. company that was recently sold to Hologic company.

Mart Saarma will give a presentation on the topic "Novel regulators of cellular stress and neuronal survival".