DCAcademy Winter Meeting 2024 – How was it?

On the 27th of February-2nd of March, 50 researchers participated in the DCAcademy Winter Meeting 2024. This year, the meeting had two venues: The Oslo Ferry and Norefjell Conference Center, Norway. While the participants cruised the shimmering waters of Skagerak and watched the Norwegian snow fall, they learned about this year’s theme “Ageing and cardiovascular disease”.

For four days, 50 researchers investigated in the theme “Ageing and cardiovascular disease”. This involved working with a Challenge, listening to in-depth lectures and a panel debate, and participating in physiological experiments.

A challenge – How do we impact some of the most powerful decision-makers within the Danish Health Care system?

This year’s winter meeting started off at the DFDS Ferry terminal at Nordhavnen, Copenhagen. Here, 50 participants boarded the ferry and went straight to the conference room where they, among other lectures, were introduced to this year’s challenge “Framing scientific work within the Health Science Ecosystem”. Throughout the meeting, 8 challenge groups got together and worked on the challenge. At the end of the meeting, the groups presented their work with a focus on how to impact some of the most powerful decision-makers within the Danish Health Care system. This resulted in a variety of different products: some made a theatre play, some made a guided meditation, and others had made drafts for podcasts and direct strategies on how to reach the decision-makers.

Good lectures on ageing and cardiovascular disease were on the agenda

We were so lucky to have good lectures on ageing and cardiovascular disease on both the ferry as well as in Norefjell.

Right before the ferry’s departure from Copenhagen, Lars Bo Nielsen, Director General at the Danish Medicines Agency, gave a very interesting lecture named “We are all getting older”. The lecture bred high engagement and lots of clever questions from the participants. 

After one night’s sleep on the ferry, we arrived in Norefjell. Here, a captivating evening talk on “The understanding of the heartbeat at the nanoscale” by Prof. William Louch (Oslo University Hospital) entertained us all.

The following days contained both in-depth sessions and a great panel debate. International researchers as well as national researchers contributed to the understanding of the topics “Biology of Ageing” and “Combinational Creativity”. The participants highly enjoyed good lectures from Assoc. Prof. Amanda Foks (Leiden University), Assoc. Prof. Morten Scheibye-Knudsen (University of Copenhagen), Prof. Nicolai Bang Foss (Hvidovre Hospital), and Assoc. Prof. Sara Hägg (Karolinska Institute).  

The last session in Norefjell was about “Societal Impact of Ageing”. Prof. Gunnar Gislason (The Danish Heart Foundation), Research Prof. Marja Aartsen (Oslo Metropolitan University), and Assoc. Prof. Alexandra Jønsson (Roskilde University) each presented their research and practical knowledge on the topic in the beginning of the session. This resulted in a panel debate at the end of the session with Prof. Nicole Schmitt (University of Copenhagen) as moderator.

The participants made experiments on how to maintain healthy vascular ageing

The meeting also contained an experimental session chaired by Postdoctoral Fellow, Ulrik Winning Iepsen (University of Copenhagen) and Assoc. Prof. Lasse Gliemann (University of Copenhagen). The participants were divided into four groups and throughout the whole afternoon, they investigated the macro- and microvascular responses to exercise and heat in relation to the theme of ageing and cardiovascular disease.

“A hallmark of age-related endothelial dysfunction is reduced vasodilatory capacity. The experiments illustrated the remarkable vasodilatory capacity on the micro- and macrovascular level in response to heat (sauna) or exercise to stimulate a discussion about how to maintain healthy vascular ageing”, says Ulrik Winning Iepsen.

Greetings from the Managing Director: Thank you for a great meeting

The meeting ended with a festive dinner on the Oslo Ferry. Around midnight, some participants hopped off in Frederikshavn, and the rest arrived in Nordhavnen, Copenhagen the next morning.

“I just want to thank all the participants and the organising committee for such a successful winter meeting. It has been a pleasure to watch the young researchers networking with each other across disciplines and experience their high spirits in the sessions. I can’t wait to next year’s winter meeting!”, says Christian Aalkjær, Executive Managing Director, DCAcademy.