Leading biomedical scientists from around the world will meet on June 20-23 in Vancouver, British Columbia, to discuss their research on topics ranging from the genetic origins of cancer to new approaches for fighting infectious diseases that afflict people worldwide. The gathering will be the first to bring together all the international research scholars selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in three highly competitive rounds of grants.
The researchers will have an unusual opportunity to meet scientists from other parts of the world who work on similar problems. Scientists from India, Uganda and Israel, for instance, will discuss research involving malaria and other parasitic diseases. Researchers from Canada, Russia and other nations will consider how biomedical science can take advantage of new genomic techniques. Other sessions will bring together scientists from Australia to Argentina, and from Mexico to Taiwan, discussing everything from protein folding to virology.
HHMI's president, Thomas R. Cech opens the meeting at the Sutton Place Hotel with a keynote address on Wednesday evening. The 132 HHMI international research scholars from 29 countries will present scientific talks on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Since 1991, HHMI has awarded $83 million in five-year grants to support the work of outstanding biomedical scientists at their own institutions around the world. The scientists meeting in Vancouver were selected in three competitionsone in 1997 and two in 2000. The 1997 competition was for scientists in selected countries of the Western Hemisphere. One of the 2000 competitions focused on infectious and parasitic disease; the other was for scientists from the Baltics, Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
In many cases, HHMI's grants have enabled scientists to carry out research in the face of difficult economic conditions, providing critical funds for supplies, the support of graduate students, travel to meetings and other needs. The Institute's international program complements its principal activity of carrying out research with its own scientific teams at 70 locations across the United States.