Eighth annual RNA Center Symposium to explore ‘Power of RNA’


The success of M-RNA vaccines in preventing severe disease and death from the coronavirus that caused COVID-19 has many wondering what other biomedical applications might result from RNA research.

Now, RNA is beginning to be used in all types of therapies from cancer to the rarest diseases facing our population.

The University of Michigan’s Center for RNA Biomedicine will explore this topic March 8 at its eighth annual symposium, titled “Unmasking the Power of RNA: From Structure to Medicine.”

RNA research shapes revolutionary scientific paths, from fundamental science discoveries in the labs to powerful biomedical applications for patients.

Five keynote speakers will illuminate the future of RNA therapeutics. The speakers and their topics are:

  • Drew Weissman, 2023 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, “Nucleoside Modified mRNA-LNP Therapeutics.”
  • Victoria D’Souza, Harvard University, “Structure-based redefinition of HIV-1 Reverse Transcription Initiation.”
  • Brenton R. Graveley, University of Connecticut, “A comprehensive binding and functional map of human RNA-binding proteins.”
  • Peter Todd, Chester and Anne Alecks Sackett Endowed Professor, professor of neurology, and of human genetics in the Medical School, “Short Tandem Repeats in Neuronal Function and Neurological Disease.”
  • Leemor Joshua-Tor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, “Mad about U: regulating the let7pre-miRNA.”

The symposium also includes two rounds of “lightning talks” and a poster session by U-M junior researchers. It will conclude with a panel discussion of the speakers moderated by Michelle Hastings, the Pfizer Upjohn Research Professor of Pharmacology and professor of pharmacology in the Medical School, and professor of medicinal chemistry in the College of Pharmacy, and John Cooke of Houston Methodist.

The event will be in person and will not be recorded. It begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Kahn Auditorium of the A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Research Science Building. It is free and open to the public, although registration is required. A boxed lunch will be provided.

The Center for RNA Biomedicine fosters and promotes the U-M RNA research community and is funded as part of the Presidential Biosciences Initiative. Since its inception in 2016, the center has organized a symposium to bring the RNA research community together to discuss the latest discoveries in the field and the next scientific inquiries.


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