Leading biomedical scientists from Canada and five nations in Latin America will gather in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on January 20-23 to discuss their research on topics ranging from the molecular bases of parasitic diseases to the genetic origins of cancer.

The conference at the Marriott Plaza Hotel in Buenos Aires will bring together nearly all of the 47 scientists named in February 1997 as International Research Scholars by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Those selected are citizens of the following countries: Argentina (9), Brazil (7), Canada (20), Chile (3), Mexico (7) and Venezuela (1). The South American nations were included in 1997 for the first time in the Institute's international program. Since 1991, HHMI, which is the largest private philanthropy in the United States, has awarded $53 million through the program and now supports 163 scientists in 19 countries.

In 1996, HHMI invited senior scientists from Latin America, Canada and the United States to nominate 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, it then chose the 47 scientists, whose research support ranges from $50,000 to $80,000 annually for five years.

"Many of these researchers are scientific leaders not only within their countries but worldwide," said Purnell W. Choppin, M.D., HHMI's president. "By supporting them, we help advance science for everyone. Science cannot be constrained by national borders. To overcome the diseases that afflict people everywherecancer, AIDS, mental illness, heart disease and othersscientists throughout the world must work together."

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 scholarsi institutions, thereby assisting other scientists.

In 1996, HHMI also awarded $895,000 to support laboratory courses, scientific meetings and other joint activities among biomedical scientists in the Americas.