Biomedical scientists from Russia to Rio to explore biology's frontiers at HHMI in June

May 10, 2000

Scientists who work in a Russian science city, the Amazon jungle, Canadian hospitals and other settings around the world, will gather in Maryland on June 20-23 to discuss their research on topics ranging from the genetic origins of cancer to the molecular bases of parasitic diseases.

The biomedical scientists from 16 countries are all International Research Scholars of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. They will meet as a group for the first time at HHMI's headquarters in Chevy Chase. The meeting provides a forum for both technical presentations and discussions about how researchers in different parts of the world might work together more effectively.

HHMI's new president, Thomas Cech, opens the meeting with a keynote address on Tuesday evening. Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences, leads a discussion on the evening of Wednesday, June 21, about US initiatives to foster international scientific collaboration.

Although the scientists have gathered before at regional meetings -- in Prague, Warsaw, Budapest and Moscow, and in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro -- this will be the first time they will come together in a single place. Neuroscientists from Argentina and Hungary will meet, for example, as will geneticists from Mexico and Poland.

Since 1991, HHMI has awarded $53 million in five-year grants to support the work of outstanding biomedical scientists at their own institutions. In 1995, it awarded five-year grants totaling $15 million to support the research of 90 scientists from Russia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Estonia, Belarus and Latvia. In 1997, it awarded another $15 million for 47 scientists from Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Venezuela. In many cases, the grants have enabled outstanding 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.

HHMI's International Program currently has three new competitions under way. The first will award $14 million to help scientists devise new approaches for combating infectious and parasitic diseases. The second will award $15 million for biomedical scientists in the Baltics, Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The third will award $15 million to biomedical scientists in Canada and Latin America. The results of the first two competitions will be announced at the end of this year. The results of the third will be announced at the end of 2001.
HHMI's International Program complements its principal activity of carrying out research in cell biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience and structural biology with its own scientific teams. More than 300 Hughes investigators conduct research in HHMI laboratories at 71 outstanding academic medical centers and universities across the United States.

An agenda and details about the meeting are available at:

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