Few areas of biological research have generated as much excitement in the last decade as microRNAs. The 20th Beckman Symposium will undertake an in-depth exploration of the topic Nov. 5 in Cooper Auditorium.
|Specially stained brain cells show how a microRNA inhibits the growth cycle of cells. (Image courtesy of Chunnian Zhao and Yanhong Shi)|
Consisting of short pieces of a genetic material closely related to DNA, microRNAs control gene expression, fine-tuning the level of gene activity in cells.
Researchers have found microRNAs are critical components of normally functioning cells, but they also contribute to many diseases, including cancer and diabetes. Much study focuses on understanding their role in normal and diseased cells with an eye to uncovering potential new therapeutic targets.
This year’s Beckman Symposium, titled “MicroRNAs in Development and Disease,” will feature experts from throughout the U.S. discussing microRNAs’ effect on stem cells and cancer, how they determine the ultimate fate of cells, their role in immunity, what happens when they run out of control and other topics.
Members of City of Hope’s Research Staff Organization annually arrange the Beckman symposia, which are supported by funds from the Beckman Endowment. This year’s symposium was organized by David Ann, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Ren-Jang Lin, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Rama Natarajan, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research, Yanhong Shi, Ph.D., associate professor in the Division of Gene Regulation and Drug Discovery and Department of Neurosciences, John J. Rossi, Ph.D., Lidow Family Research Chair and chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Emily Wang, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Division of Tumor Cell Biology, and Edouard Cantin, Ph.D., professor and associate chair of the Department of Virology.
More information is available at www.cityofhope.org/beckmansymposium.