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Leaders in RNA Research Will Gather at UAlbany Nov. 3-4 to Assess Progress and Potential for Diagnosis and Treatment of Diseases

UAlbany’s RNA Institute to Announce Members of its Newly Appointed Scientific Advisory Board

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 31, 2011) – More than 200 scientists, researchers and industry thought leaders from around the globe will gather at the University at Albany's RNA Institute Nov. 3-4 to discuss RNA research and assess its progress and potential, particularly for diagnosis and treatment of diseases. During the two-day symposium, "RNA Science and its Applications: A Look Toward the Future," the Institute will announce its recently formed Scientific Advisory Board, which includes a Nobel Laureate and members of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, who will be participating in the symposium.

Researcher John Brad Mangrum at RNA Institute Mass Spectrometry Center

John Brad Mangrum, a post-doctoral research associate and expert in high-resolution mass spectrometry, is part of a new team of research scientists at The RNA Institute Mass Spectrometry Center, who are exploring and developing the next generation of RNA-based drug therapies. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

The RNA Institute will also offer a virtual walk-through of its specially designed research facility that is currently under construction in UAlbany's Life Sciences Research Building. The new facility, financed with $7.4 million in federal and state funding, will be similar to those found in modern pharmaceutical companies, with high-end instrumentation and open, interactive space to promote collaboration and synergies. Completion of the facility is scheduled for 2013.

"The presence of so many key players at the symposium in addition to the members of the Scientific Advisory Board is a reflection of the importance of The RNA Institute and its research potential for biomedical technologies. Together we're striving to gain a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities ahead," said Paul F. Agris, founding director of The RNA Institute.

The symposium will feature two days of educational sessions. Each session will be followed by panel discussions led by the Scientific Advisory Board with world-renowned RNA scientists from academia, international pharmaceutical, medical device and instrument companies, and U.S. funding agencies. In addition, more than 30 accelerated high school science students from across the Capital Region will attend selected sessions.

Since The RNA Institute was launched in 2010, it has been growing as a national research resource. Its facilities include an RNA Mass Spectrometry (MassSpec) Center, the first comprehensive facility directed at the structure-function relationship of RNA, which is critically important for drug discovery. A new team of research scientists, all specialists in the use of mass spectrometry, is working at the MassSpec center to explore and develop the next generation of RNA-based drug therapies specifically targeting infectious diseases, such as HIV.

Recently the RNA Institute announced the partnerships of five University at Albany scientists and researchers from the Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; UMass Amherst; and Williams College to advance ribonucleic acid (RNA) biomedical technologies. The goal of these collaborations is to advance research into RNA and its implications for innovative medicines and technologies.

Each of the symposium sessions will feature a keynote speaker. The session topics and keynote speakers are:

  • RNA Technological Innovation: Analysis, Delivery, Nanotechnologies, IT, Eric Westhof;
  • Infectious and Other Diseases: The Future of Small Molecule Intervention, Allan Jacobson;
  • RNA Discovery and Innovation: Cell and Molecular Biology, Paul Agris; and
  • Cancer and Neurological Disease: The Future of Small RNAs as Therapeutics and Tools of Investigation, David Bartel.

A complete schedule is available here.

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