Hotspot Vienna – Research conference on RNA interference
May 11, 2015
The “10th Microsymposium on small RNAs” took place last week at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, bringing together the leading scientists in the world working on the role of small non-coding RNAs in the regulation of gene expression. The conference was organized by IMBA, together with its partner-organization the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP).
Ten years ago the “Microsymposium on small RNAs” was founded by IMBA group leader Javier Martinez with the aim to bring together young and aspiring scientists working on different aspects of small RNA Biology in order to exchange ideas. Since then, the symposium has become one of the leading conferences on this topic in Europe and beyond, attracting the leaders in the field from all over the world.
Small RNAs build the core of gene regulatory mechanisms, referred to as RNA interference, that control almost every biological process in fungi, plants and animals. As a molecular biology tool, small RNAs are widely used in basic and applied research to elucidate the function of genes and are currently tested in next-generation therapies for human diseases. “The discovery of the RNA interference is one of the biggest achievements and greatest revolutions in the biomedical field in the last 20 years”, says Julius Brennecke, one of the co-organizers of the meeting. In recognition of this discovery, Craig Mello and Andrew Fire were honored with the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2006. Since then, this research area has expanded dramatically and is a major scientific topic that is actively persued at the IMP and IMBA.
At the 10th anniversary of the Microsymposium leading scientists in the field were invited to discuss the recent advancements in RNA interference. Around 20 speakers from renowned research institutes, including the University of Cambridge, the MIT in Boston, the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen or the California Institute of Technology presented their latest results. In total around 200 scientists and students from 23 countries participated at the symposium. Like every year, the conference was free of charge - facilitating the attendence for young researchers and students. In addition to the talks of established researchers, numerous students were able to present their research in a PhD workshop and discuss their results with the audience.
The Microsymposium on small RNAs is an important contribution to foster and expand the interaction between researchers and to enable an exchange between scientists and young students. The 10th anniversary of the event clearly reflects the excellent status of the Vienna Biocenter (VBC) within the field of small RNA biology.
Dr. Sophie Hanak, M.sc.
Tel.: 01 79044 3628