Conference in Rio on January 19-22 to feature International Research Scholars from six countries in the Americas.

What causes cancer? What is the molecular basis of Alzheimer's disease and parasitic diseases? What can be done to overcome Chagas' disease? Leading biomedical scientists from Brazil and five other nations of the Americas will gather in Rio de Janeiro on January 19-22, 1999 to discuss their latest research on these and other topics.

The conference at the Sheraton Rio Hotel will also feature a discussion of science policy in Brazil (January 21, 6 p.m in the Vigidal Room.), and a press conference (January 21, 2 pm in the Vigidal Room.) All of the events are in English except the press conference, which is in Portuguese.

The meeting will bring together the 45 International Research Scholars of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) selected from the Americas. They are citizens of the following countries: Argentina (9), Brazil (7), Canada (18), Chile (3), Mexico (7) and Venezuela (1). This will be the second gathering of the scientists, who met in Buenos Aires in January 1998.

Since 1991, HHMI has awarded $53 million to support the work of 177 outstanding biomedical scientists in 19 countries. The South American nations were included in 1997 for the first time, following a competition in which senior scientists from Latin America, Canada and the United States nominated researchers in the six countries who have made significant contributions to the study of basic biological processes or disease mechanisms. With guidance from an expert review panel, HHMI reviewed the nominations and selected the scientists, whose research support ranges from $50,000 to $80,000 annually for five years.

The HHMI grants provide salaries for students and other laboratory personnel, and may supplement the salaries of the scholars in Latin America. The grants also provide allowances for equipment, supplies and travel, and may include funds to support the scholaris institutions, thereby assisting other scientists. In 1996, HHMI also awarded $895,000 to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Mexican Academia de la Investigacíon Cientifíca to support laboratory courses, scientific meetings and other joint activities among biomedical scientists in the Americas. These include programs on structural biology and computational genomics that will be held in Brazil in December, January and February.

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The Howard Hughes Medical Institute employs scientists in cell biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience and structural biology. More than 330 Hughes investigators conduct medical research in HHMI laboratories at 72 outstanding academic medical centers and universities nationwide. Through its complementary grants program, HHMI also supports science education in the United States and a select group of researchers abroad.

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Jim Keeley 301-215-8858