NYAS China Conference reveals latest advances in biomedical sciences

Shanghai conference featured over 100 noted scientists from US, Europe and Asia

China has experienced tremendous growth within the past decade. Its economic boom and growing domestic market is now paralleled by its ascendancy in the life sciences, and the country’s scientists are rapidly rising to the cutting edge in areas such as neuroscience, chemical biology, and many other fields.

To share the advances that Chinese scientists have made in the sciences and facilitate increased collaboration and partnership among scientists from the U.S., China, Europe, and other parts of Asia, the New York Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Shanghai Institutes of Biomedical Sciences recently hosted the groundbreaking “Frontiers of Biomedical Sciences” conference in Shanghai. This unique meeting brought together noted scientists from China, the U.S., Europe and other parts of Asia to discuss the most pressing issues at the cutting edge of biomedical science.

For a comprehensive online report that covers all of the material presented at this unprecedented conference, go to the Academy’s website at www.nyas.org/china for the Frontiers in Biomedical Science eBriefing. The report includes an overview; bulleted highlights and summaries encapsulating every major presentation; chapterized, searchable audio presentations, synchronized with speakers’ slides; links to relevant web sites, books, journal articles; and cross-referenced articles from the Academy on related subjects.

Exciting New Research from East and West
Panel discussions, plenary lectures, and shorter technical talks by leading researchers from China, the United States, and Europe focused on four specific scientific areas: (1) chemical biology (2) infectious diseases (3) genomic medicine, and (4) neuroscience.

The eBriefing reveals the latest research on:

  • Chemical Biology:
    Gregory Verdine, Harvard College professor of chemical biology explained why certain classes of cellular targets previously thought to be “undruggable” might actually offer new opportunities for drug development.
  • Infectious Diseases:
    David Perlin, president and scientific director of the Public Health Research Institute in Newark, New Jersey, explained how popular fears of low-impact diseases like smallpox, plague, and anthrax are distracting attention and funding from diseases like tuberculosis and HIV-AIDS, which continue to have devastating effects around the world.
  • Genomic Medicine:
    Zhu Chen, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and an expert in leukemia research, discussed his lab's efforts to develop a new method of attacking the disease. Rather than using chemotherapy to kill disease-causing cells, he is developing an innovative method that employs the tools of systems biology to identify and target critical components of the cellular regulatory networks that cause cancer.
  • Neuroscience:
    Bruce Lahn of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Chicago and Sun Yat-sen University wove together evidence from anthropology, genetics, and neurobiology to argue that two specific genes might have had a role in accelerating the rapid growth of the human brain through evolution.
  • Aging and Hormones:
    Étienne-Émile Baulieu, past president of the French Academy of Sciences and inventor of RU486 ("the morning-after pill"), focused attention on why an aging population will become an increasingly important public health concern this century, and described evidence suggesting that hormone therapy could help mitigate conditions like memory loss, hypertension, and decreased sense of well-being that are common in this group.

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The meeting was made possible with funding from: Pfizer, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Affymetrix, Wyeth, Lundbeck, AstraZeneca, Nature Publishing Group, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, The Karolinska Institute, Bridge Pharmaceuticals and CMEA Ventures.

More than 400 multimedia eBriefings covering the latest research from every major scientific field are available for viewing at www.nyas.org/ebrief/index.asp

Founded in 1817, the New York Academy of Sciences is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to building communities and advancing science.

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