Annual RNA symposium to help ‘process’ RNA discoveries


The University of Michigan Center for RNA Biomedicine will host its fifth annual symposium, titled “Processing RNA,” from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. March 25-26.

The event will be virtual and live on Zoom and will not be recorded. It is free and open to all, although registration is required. MiSciWriters will blog about the event.

RNA research shapes revolutionary scientific paths, from fundamental science discoveries in the labs to powerful biomedical applications for patients. The rapid rise of RNA-guided genome editing tools and mRNA-based vaccinations demonstrate the tremendous impact of such breakthroughs.

To help “process” these advances, the Center for RNA Biomedicine organized its 2021 symposium on topics ranging from RNA processing to RNA structure and CRISPR tools. More than 300 participants are expected.

Five renowned keynote speakers will present about some of the latest challenges and breakthroughs in foundational and translational RNA research. They are:

  • Brenda Bass, University of Utah, on self and non-self dsRNA.
  • Tracy Johnson, University of California, Los Angeles, on the control of gene expression.
  • Christopher Lima, Sloan-Kettering Institute, on the destruction of RNA.
  • Kevin Weeks, University of North Carolina, on large RNAs.
  • Feng Zhang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on novel CRISPR technologies.

Six U-M junior RNA scientists will present their research in “data blitz” talks, each of seven minutes plus questions. The abstracts were competitively selected to represent the breadth and depth of U-M RNA research. They are:

  • Adrien Chauvier, chemistry, LSA.
  • Daniel Peltier, pediatrics, Medical School.
  • Meredith Purchal, Program in Chemical Biology, LSA.
  • Cathy Smith, computational medicine and bioinformatics, Medical School.
  • Shannon Wright, neurology, Medical School.
  • Yan Zhang, biological chemistry, Medical School.

The 2021 Symposium is co-sponsored by the Center for RNA Biomedicine, the U-M Biosciences Initiative and Lexogen.

The Center for RNA Biomedicine fosters and promotes the U-M RNA research community. Since its inception in 2016, the center has organized the annual symposia to bring the RNA research community together to discuss the latest discoveries in the field and the next scientific inquiries.

The Center for RNA Biomedicine is the largest academic RNA research center in the United States. It gathers more than 150 faculty and their labs, across seven schools and colleges of the Ann Arbor campus, reflecting the interdisciplinary requirement and collaborative spirit of RNA research.


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