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RNA Institute Hosts Symposium on RNA Science and Its Applications, Along with RNAi Workshop, Jan. 22-24

Forum features RNA research leaders exchanging findings on potential for innovations and new advanced drug discoveries.

The Sigma-Aldrich Symposium & Workshop augments The RNA Institute's ongoing investigative efforts into the design of technologies and drug therapies for the treatment of disease.

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 9, 2014) — The RNA Institute at the University at Albany, in partnership with St. Louis, Mo.-based Sigma-Aldrich, is convening leading U.S. researchers to discuss state-of-the-art scientific and technological innovations at an RNA symposium on Thursday, Jan. 23.

Scheduled in conjunction with the symposium will be a three-day RNAi workshop, Jan. 22-24, sponsored by Sigma-Aldrich, one of the world's leading life science and high technology companies. The workshop features scientists demonstrating use of the Sigma-Aldrich’s 2012 donation of rare shRNA and siRNA libraries to the Institute.

The combined symposium and workshop is the first of three annual training/outreach mechanisms in which The RNA Institute will disseminate state-of-the-art technologies in RNA science. Both will take place at UAlbany’s Life Sciences Research Center, located on the Uptown Campus.

The symposium is designed for academic leaders in RNA research to exchange findings on RNA science and applications for drug discovery. It consists of a half-day of scientific presentations followed by an evening poster session and reception. Lectures will feature in-depth discussion on the fundamental science of RNA and its application to advanced screening solutions for drug discovery and target validation.

Symposium keynote speakers include:
  • Rachel Green, president of the RNA Society, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, and professor, department of molecular biology and genetics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Using primarily biochemical approaches, Green studies the mechanism of translation by the ribosome, and its regulation, in bacterial and eukaryotic systems.
  • Michael Ibba, professor and chair, Department of Microbiology, The Ohio State University. Ibba’s research is directed toward understanding the mechanisms that determine how cells ensure the accurate translation of the genetic code, and how changes in the underlying processes impact cellular health and contribute to microbial pathogenesis and disease.
  • Shawn Shafer, functional genomics market segment manager, Sigma Life Science. As a developmental biologist, Shafer identified the coordinated effects of the Wnt3a and TGFB1 signaling pathways in the phenotypic regulation of adult aortic stem cells.
  • Henri Tiedge, professor of physiology and pharmacology, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center. His research interests center upon brain cytoplasmic RNAs, a subtype of regulatory RNAs that control neuronal gene expression at the level of translation.
  • Eckard Wimmer, virologist, distinguished professor, Stony Brook University. Wimmer is best known for his seminal work on the molecular biology of poliovirus and the first chemical synthesis of a viral genome capable of infection and subsequent production of live viruses. He received the 2012 Robert Koch Gold Medal, a prestigious international scientific award recognizing his lifetime achievements in infectious diseases, specifically his groundbreaking research on the poliovirus and as a pioneer in the new discipline of synthetic biology.

The workshop will focus on synthetic and viral-based systems for gene silencing. With RNAi having emerged as an important mainstream tool for both basic and applied research, the Institute’s shRNA and siRNA libraries, received from Sigma-Aldrich in December 2012, is allowing The RNA Institute’s affiliated faculty researchers to target genes of high therapeutic value and identify disease-causing proteins.

About The RNA Institute

Launched in June 2010, The RNA Institute conducts cutting-edge research for development and delivery of innovative medicines, vaccines and diagnostics. The national research resource recently unveiled its state-of-the-art facility for RNA biomedical technology development and commercialization. The new space utilizes an “open source” model where leading researchers from around the globe can collaborate on investigative efforts into designing RNA technologies and drug therapies for the treatment of such diseases as cancer, Alzheimer’s, HIV/AIDS, ALS, and drug-resistant infections.

The RNA Institute now boasts several research collaborations with institutions such as Albany Medical College and RPI, as well as public-private partnerships with global corporations, Albany Medical Research, Inc., Sigma-Aldrich and ThermoFisher Scientific. The Institute has established a network of research affiliates with more than 50 laboratories nationwide, encompassing more than 350 researchers, as well as a scientific advisory board with Nobel Laureate and National Academy of Sciences members.

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