RNA will be the focus of attention at the University of Lethbridge, starting July 11, 2010 for a four day conference.
Ute Kothe, Biochemistry professor and one of the event co-chairs, said the conference is being held in Alberta for the second time to a group of biochemists from across Western Canada who study RNA.
RNAs are found in all living cells and Kothe said understanding how they work could lead to more effective treatment for various diseases. Tracking the growth of cancer cells is one application, she said, and scientists hope their work will help with diagnosis and treatment as well. There’s plenty of interest, Kothe added, because it’s a relatively new field of study.
Organizers anticipate researchers at the conference will befrom Western Canada and as far east as the University of Sherbrooke, plus the University of Montana, as well as scientists from the city's two federal research institutions. Hans-Joachim Wieden says the 2009 event was at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George.
RiboWest provides an opportunity for U of L students and their counterparts from other universities to meet experienced researchers as well as hearing a keynote speaker, who will be confirmed shortly.
Until recently, said Kothe, university students interested in biochemistry felt medical school was their only viable career option. "We want to open other doors for them." She says students figure largely in the conference and their experience ranges from undergraduate to post-doctoral training. Students will give oral presentations, as well as poster sessions.
Future plans are to have the RiboWest meetings alternate between Prince George and Lethbridge, stimulating research in the two western provinces.
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