Scientific meetings: thought incubators

Paul Trainor, PhD, invited speakers David Sabatini, PhD, and Joost Zomerdijk, PhD, and Jennifer Gerton, PhD.

All scientific knowledge builds upon that which came before; therefore, sharing information is vital to advancing science. Scientific meetings gather researchers from all over the world to do just that—as well as create intellectual collisions that spark new ideas. In 2013, the Stowers Institute hosted two international scientific meetings.

Invited speaker David Arnosti, PhD.

In October, Julia Zeitlinger, PhD, and Ali Shilatifard, PhD, co-organized a three-day meeting focused on current biochemical and genetic findings on enhancer function and how perturbation of enhancer activity could result in disease pathogenesis including cancer. Enhancers are elements that regulate the precise expression patterns of genes throughout development. Recent genome-wide studies in the cataloging of somatic mutations in cancer have identified mutations in enhancer elements and in factors that can regulate enhancer-promoter communications.

Then, in November, Investigators Jennifer Gerton, PhD, and Paul Trainor, PhD, hosted visiting scientists for discussions of ribosome function and ribosomopathies to better understand the cause and outcome of ribosome defects, from basic biology to human disease. Ribosomopathies compose a collection of genetic disorders that cause impaired ribosome biogenesis and function. In the last ten years, it has become apparent that changes in the ribosome’s translational control can contribute to developmental defects and cancer.