RNA Symposium

RNA Science and Its Applications

The RNA Symposium provides a forum for faculty, students, and industry representatives to present their findings and network with colleagues. It has attracted Nobel Laureates, as well as National Academy Members, distinguished Howard Hughes Medical Institute Principal Investigators, renowned university professors, industry scientists and medical doctors, among others from around the world. 

The 2023 RNA Institute Annual Symposium is hosted by the RNA Institute at the University at Albany in collaboration with the Center for RNA Biology at the University of Rochester. This year's meeting will strengthen connections between academia and industry by hosting speakers from New York State Biotech and Pharma Industries as well as academia.

2023 RNA Institute Annual Symposium

Dates: Thursday, March 16 & Friday, March 17, 2023

Venue: University at Albany, 1400 Washington Ave, Albany, NY 12222

RNA Symposium flyer

Invited Speakers:

  • Doug Anderson (Scriptr Global)
  • Thomas Begley (University at Albany SUNY)
  • Georges Belfort  (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
  • Suzanne Hartford (Regeneron Pharmaceuticals)
  • Lynne Maquat (University of Rochester Medical Center)
  • Anne Messer (Neural Stem Cell Institute)
  • Jessican Pecone (Quadrant Biosciences)
  • Leah Sabin (Regeneron Pharmaceuticals)
  • Joanna Sztuba-Solinska (Pfizer)
  • Nilgun Tasdemir (Pfizer)
  • Scott Tenenbaum (sxRNA Technologies, LLC)
  • Martin Tenniswood (miR Scientific)
  • Alexis Weber (SupreMEtric LLC)

Highlights of the Symposium:

  • Speakers from NY Biotech & Pharma Industries and Academia
  • Career Panel Roundtable Discussion with Industry Scientists
  • Networking Opportunities with Industry Scientists
  • Trainee Talks
  • Lightning Talks of Selected Posters
  • Poster Session
  • Cash Awards for Trainee Talks and Posters
2023 RNA Institute Symposium

Trainee Talk Awards

  • Lily Cisco, Graduate Student, University of Rochester Medical College
  • Michelle Urman, Graduate Student, University at Albany, SUNY

Poster Presentation Awards

Undergraduate Awardees

  • Grace Crowe, SUNY Brockport
  • Timothy Mehrmann, University of Massachusetts

Graduate Student Awardees

  • Emmanuel Adade, University at Albany SUNY
  • Sara Ali, University of Rochester Medical College
  • Michael Dolan, SUNY Polytechnic Institute
  • Dakarai Esgdaille, University of Rochester Medical College
  • Rachel Lange, University at Albany SUNY
  • Amy Mascorro, University at Albany SUNY
  • Jordana Schmierer, University of Rochester Medical College
  • Gregory Theophall, University at Albany SUNY
  • Elinore VanGraafieland, University of Rochester Medical College

Postdoctoral Fellow Awardees

  • Hironori Adachi, University of Rochester Medical College
  • Hannah Shorrock, University at Albany SUNY

RNA Society Membership Awardees

  • Elizabeth Abshire, University of Rochester Medical College
  • Wooree Ko, University of Rochester Medical College
  • Jessica Perciaccante, University of Rochester Medical College
2023 Symposium Schedule

Day 1: Thursday, March 16, 2023

Location: Campus Center Auditorium, University at Albany, SUNY

07:45 AM – 08:45 AM

Registration & Breakfast

Session 1

Moderator: Andy Berglund

08:45 AM – 09:15 AM

Welcome Remarks

Andy Berglund (Director, The RNA Institute)

Jeanette Altarriba (Dean of College of Arts and Sciences)

John T. McDonald III (Member of Assembly, NYS Assembly District 108)

09:15 AM – 09:50 AM

Leah Sabin (Regeneron)

Regeneron Genetics Medicines: Expanding Regeneron’s Therapeutic Pipeline

09:50 AM – 10:25 AM

Joanna Sztuba-Solinska (Pfizer)

My scientific journey from the US government to academia and industry

10:25 AM – 10:45 AM



Session 2

Moderator: Cara Pager

10:50 AM – 11:25 AM

Martin Tenniswood (miR Scientific)

Small-non-coding RNAs as Analytes in Liquid Biopsies: Problems, Pitfalls and Solutions

11:25 AM - 12:00 PM

Lightning Talks (13)

12:00 PM


12:30 PM -1:20 PM Career Panel Roundtable Lunch with Industry Scientists - Multipurpose Room

Session 3

Moderator: Eric Wagner

1:20 PM - 1:55 PM

Alexis Weber (SupreMEtric & UAlbany)

SupreMEtric: From Research to Commercialization Effort

1:55 PM - 2:30 PM

Nilgun Tasdemir (Pfizer)

Building Collaborations to Advance RNA Therapies

2:30 PM - 3:15 PM

Lightning talks (15)

  Transition to Museum

Session 4

04:00 PM - 06:00 PM

Poster Session 

Location: NYS Museum, Downtown Albany

5:00 PM

Cocktail Hour

Location: NYS Museum, Downtown Albany

06:15 PM – 08:00 PM Dinner at NYS Capital Museum


Day 2: Friday, March 17, 2023

Location: Campus Center Auditorium, University at Albany, SUNY

08:00 AM – 09:00 AM Breakfast 

Session 5

Moderator: Ken Halvorsen

08:50 AM - 09:00 AM

Day 2: Welcome Remarks

Thenkurussi Kesavadas (VPRED, University at Albany)

09:00 AM – 09:35 AM

Thomas Begley (UAlbany & Codomax)

Harnessing the epitranscriptome for stress-induced translational regulation

09:35 AM – 10:10 AM

Suzanne Hartford (Regeneron)

Use of lipid nanoparticles (LNP) for rapid functional disease modeling in CRISPR expressing mice

10:10 AM – 10:50 AM

Trainee talks

Lily Cisco, Xueyang He, Madeline Jensen, Dylan Farnsworth

10:50 AM – 11:05 AM Break

Session 6

Moderator: Marlene Belfort

11:05 AM – 11:40 AM

Lynne Maquat (University of Rochester Center for RNA Biology)

Mis-regulation of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay in the intellectual disability Fragile X syndrome

11:40 AM – 12:15 PM

Jessica Pecone (Quadrant Biosciences)

Leveraging RNA in Saliva for Diagnostic Assay Development

12:15 PM - 01:15 PM Mentoring & Networking Lunch

Session 7

Moderator: Dave Mathews

01:15 PM - 01:50 PM

Scott Tenenbaum (sxRNA & SUNYPoly)

Engineering RNA Nanoswitches: sxRNA

01:50 AM – 02:25 PM

Doug Anderson (Scriptr & URMC)

Discovery and adaptation of ribozyme-activated RNA trans-splicing to enable efficient dual AAV therapeutics for treating large gene diseases

02:30 PM – 03:10 PM

Trainee talks

Mahera Kachwala, Cécilia Légaré , Michelle Urman, Jibin Abraham Punnoose

03:10 PM - 03:30 PM Break

Session 8

Moderator: Cara Pager

03:30 PM - 04:05 PM

Anne Messer (NSCI)

The huge potential of intrabody therapeutics

04:05 PM – 04:40 PM

Georges Belfort (RPI)

Novel adsorptive membranes for mRNA capture for vaccine manufacture

04:40 PM – 05:00 PM

Closing Remarks and Award Ceremony

Thomas Begley (Associate Director, The RNA Institute)

Lynne Maquat (Director, University of Rochester Center for RNA Biology)


Abstract Submission and Deadline


The symposium will have poster session, trainee talk sessions and lightning talk sessions. All individuals submitting an abstract will have a spot during a poster session. In addition, the presenters have the option to select oral-only or both oral & poster during registration. The abstracts selected for oral presentation and lightning talks will be notified by the middle of February.

Abstract submission deadline: February 3, 2023

Poster Session Information: 

Recommended Poster size: 48 x 36 inches (or 36 inches on both sides).

There will be one poster session on day 1 (March 16, 2023) of the symposium. The poster session will take place at NYS Capital Musuem (222 Madison Ave, Albany, NY 12230) from 4 PM to 6 PM.

Trainee talk Session:

Talk duration: 8 min talk + 2 min Q&A

The selected trainees for the oral session will be notified by mid-February.

Lightning Talk Session:

Talk duration: 2 min talk (no Q&A) [Choose option: To be considered for the lightning talk, choose "Poster & Oral both"]

The selected trainees for the lightning talk session will submit a one slide presentation on their poster. The presentation slide should not have any animation. The selected trainees for the lightning talks will be notified by mid-February.


The registration link given below will direct you to the Whova Platform. You can use the Whova Mobile app or Web app to stay connected to the rest of the attendees at the symposium and to see the agenda and speaker information.

Graduate and Undergraduate Students - Early Bird: $100

Postdoctoral Fellows - Early Bird: $150

PI/Staff (Academia) - Early Bird: $300

PI/Staff (Industry) - Early Bird: $450

Graduate and Undergraduate Students: $150

Postdoctoral Fellows: $200

PI/Staff (Academia): $375

PI/Staff (Industry): $500

Click here for Registration

Early bird registration closes by February 3, 2023 at 11:59 PM ET.

Breakfast and Lunch are included on both days of the symposium. In addition, there will be a networking dinner event on Day 1 (March 16, 2023) of the symposium at a restaurant in downtown Albany. If you are interested, choose "Dinner" ticket along with your registration ticket while registering. Please note that the abstract information questions will be duplicated for the dinner ticket during registration but isn’t used for anything.

If you like to pay for your ticket through an invoice instead of card, please contact Paul Gumpper ([email protected]), prior to registration.

Virtual Participation Information:

Virtual Participant fee: $20

Virtual participants have the option to view all of the symposium talks through the Zoom webinar. The webinar links will be sent to the registrants closer to the event. The virtual attendees can view the talks live but will not be able to ask questions during the symposium. They can reach out to the speakers after their talks through the Whova Platform or through email. 

Hotel Recommendations

Few rooms were reserved at a special rate for the symposium attendees in Hilton Garden Inn Albany/SUNY Area, 1389 Washington Ave, Albany, NY 12206. Please use the booking link given below

Hilton Garden Inn Booking Link

Other nearby option: 

Hampton Inn Albany-Western Ave/University Area, 1442 Western Ave, Albany, NY 12203 [Website Link]

2023 Symposium Sponsors


2022 RNA Institute Symposium
2022 Full Program - View the full program here
Day1 schedule
Day2 schedule


2022 Sponsors
2022 Award Winners

2022 RNA Institute Symposium Award Winners

RNA Institute Award for Excellence in Mentoring

Cara Pager, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences and the RNA Institute
Alexander T. Ciota, Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences and the RNA Institute

RNA Institute Award for Excellence in Service

John Cleary, Collaborative Staff Scientist, The RNA Institute
Paul Gumpper, Administrative Manager, The RNA Institute

RNA Institute Award for Excellence in Research

Cheryl P. Andam, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences and The RNA Institute
Maksim Royzen, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and the RNA Institute

2022 RNA Symposium Trainee Talk Winners - Undergraduate Category

Sergio Ocampo, National Polytechnic Institute, Mexico
Suxuan Wang, Mount Holyoke College
Elise White, RPI

2022 RNA Symposium Trainee Talk Winners - Graduate and Postdoc Category

Melissa Ait Said, Institut Cochin - Universite de Paris
Pheonah Badu, University at Albany, SUNY
Rebecca D'Esposito, University at Albany, SUNY
Atagun Ulas Isiktas, Yale University


2022 RNA Symposium Poster Session Winners

Grace Crowe, SUNY Brockport
Rachel Fay, University at Albany, SUNY
Chukwudi Humphrey Omeoga, University at Albany, SUNY
Raghu Ram Katreddi, University at Albany, SUNY

Mahera Kachwala, University at Albany, SUNY
Kavipriya Palanivel, University at Albany, SUNY
Aaron Premo, University at Albany, SUNY
Emily Rice, West Virginia University
Kevin Thomas, University at Albany, SUNY

2021 RNA Institute Mini Symposium
2021 Award Winners

The 2021 RNA Institute Mini Symposium was a great success with over 400 registrants from around the world.
We want to congratulate all the Award winners and trainee speakers for a truly enjoyable and interesting symposium.

RNA Institute Award for Excellence in Mentoring

Jason Hershchkowitz

RNA Institute Award for Excellence in Service

Scott Tenenbaum
Gaby Fuchs
Liisa Koski
Donna Willey

RNA Institute Award for Excellence in Research

Kathleen McDonough
Jia Sheng
Alex Valm

RNA Institute Award for Exceptional Performance

Alan Chen 

RNA Institute Selected Symposium Talks - Day 1

Shipra Malik, University of Connecticut. Nanoparticle delivered short anti-miR PNAs for lymphoma therapy.

Subodh Mishra, RNA Institute, University at Albany. A CTG repeat-selective screen of a natural product library reveals dietary natural compounds as potential therapeutics for Myotonic Dystrophy

Xavier Bofill De Ros, National Cancer Institute. Interplay between miRNA precursors and biogenesis enzymes promotes a widespread increase of aberrant isoforms in tumors

Sara Evke, SUNY Polytechnic, College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. The Protective Role of the Epitranscriptome Against Acetaminophen Toxicity

Omer Ziv, Gurdon Institute of Cambridge. RNA-RNA Interactome of SARS-CoV-2.

Ya Ying Zheng, RNA Institute, University at Albany. Mapping and Functional Study of RNA Phosphorothioate Backbone

Esteban Orellana, Boston Children’s Hospital. METTL1-mediated m7G modification of Arg-TCT tRNA drives oncogenic transformation

Oguzhan Begik, Center for Genomic Regulation. Quantitative profiling of native RNA modifications and their dynamics using nanopore sequencing

Rachel Fay, Wasdworth Center, University at Albany. Evolution at increased temperature increases adaptability of flaviviruses

RNA Institute Awards for Best Talk - Day 2

James Thomas, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Qiushuang Wu, Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Tianhan Huang, Auburn University
Miha Modic, The Francis Crick Institute and University of Cambridge
Carl Shotwell, The RNA Institute
Yekaterina Shulgina, Harvard University
Amber Altrieth, University at Albany


RNA Institute mini symposium sponsors
2019 Annual RNA Symposium

6th Annual RNA Symposium – The Language of RNA in Disease and Development

March 21-22, 2019 – University at Albany Performing Arts Center (PAC)

Qu et. al. 2016 Group II intron ribonucleoprotein

The RNA Institute’s 6th Annual RNA Symposium is entitled The Language of RNA in Disease and Development. It brings together scientific experts, students and industry professionals who conduct basic, applied and translational research in RNA. This year’s meeting highlights multidisciplinary work being done in and around RNA science.

The 2019 Symposium includes talks from Craig Mello, Eliezer Calo, Matt Disney, Wendy Gilbert, Eric Kool, Cara Pager, Gisela Storz, Charles Thornton, and Elçin Ünal, as well as presentations by faculty, postdocs, and students selected from submitted abstracts. Please join us for this exciting event!

Symposium Flyer

Symposium Organizing Committee: Joan Curcio and Melinda Larsen (Co-Chairs), Tom Begley, Bijan Dey, Jason Herschkowitz, Prash Rangan and Jia Sheng. Please contact The RNA Institute directly with any questions or concerns at [email protected] or 518-437-4443.

Hands On Workshops

Hands on Workshops were offered by RNA Institute staff and affiliated faculty on Thursday, March 21.

  • Gradient fractionation – Fractionation of biological material is an important tool to analyze samples separated by a defined parameter. One such method is separation by sucrose gradient ultracentrifugation. In this workshop, we will go over different gradient examples and what to use them for, sample preparation, gradient preparation and fractionation using the Brandel/Teledyne-Isco system. We also offer to fractionate and analyze samples by participants. The fractionated samples can be frozen for subsequent analysis by qRT-PCR, NGS, western blotting. Please contact the workshop organizer for details). A limited number of samples from participants could be fractionated during the workshop.  If you are interested please contact Dr. Fuchs. Hosted by: Dr. Gabriele Fuchs, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, University at Albany
  • RNA simulations – This one-day workshop provides a combination of interactive discussions and hands-on workshops on computational simulations of RNA structure and dynamics spanning a wide range time and length-scales, from 2D and coarse-grained models all the way to explicit solvent, quantum chemical models. Comparative strengths and weaknesses of different approaches and connections to experimental data will be emphasized. Hosted by: Dr. Alan Chen, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, University at Albany and Dr. Paul Whitford, Associate Professor of Physics, Northeastern University
  • Epitranscriptomics – In this workshop we will learn how to prepare RNA samples to study its composition in the context of RNA chemical modifications using liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). In addition to hands on RNA sample preparation, the users will learn about LC-MS instrumentation, RNA modifications quantification as well as data processing. Hosted by: Dr. Qishan Lin, Research Associate Professor, University at Albany and Dr. Dan Fabris, Professor of Chemistry and Biological Sciences, University at Albany.
  • Sequencing technologies – Workshop participants will gain hands-on experience processing and analyzing genome-scale DNA and RNA data from Illumina sequencers. We will begin with a brief introduction to sequencing-by-synthesis technologies and then discuss appropriate experimental design for RNA-seq analysis. We will then cover the steps needed to transform your raw data into actionable information and biological insight. This includes genome and transcriptome alignment, quantification of transcript levels, statistical analysis, and data visualization. By the end of the workshop, participants will be exposed to a breadth of next-generation sequencing technologies and workflows as well as gain a working knowledge of data processing and modern bioinformatic analyses. Hosted by: Dr. Morgan Sammons, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, University at Albany
  • microRNA Detection with DNA Nanoswitches – In this workshop, users will learn how to detect various microRNAs from biological samples using programmable DNA nanoswitches. This technique, forthcoming in Science Advances, provides a low-cost and simple alternative to qPCR and Northern blotting and can be performed in any lab. Hosted by: Dr. Ken Halvorsen, Senior Research Scientist, The RNA Institute
Full Program and Schedule

Final Schedule: please find the draft program at this link.

Full program is available here.