Campus Life

Leading RNA researchers to convene at U of L for RiboWest Conference

Leading investigators in the field of Ribonucleic acid (RNA) research are gathering at the University of Lethbridge, June 5-8, 2016, to attend the 12th Annual RiboWest Conference.

“RNA is an important biomolecule that is implicated in many diseases ranging from infections, to cancer and inherited diseases,” explains Dr. Hans-Joachim Wieden, the director of the Alberta RNA Research and Training Institute (ARRTI). “But RNA can also serve in the diagnosis and therapy of many diseases and as a tool in bioengineering of cells to generate novel compounds."

An artist's rendition of an RNA strand.

The RiboWest Conference is an annual meeting of RNA researchers from western Canada and beyond.

“This meeting is an excellent opportunity for networking, establishing new collaborations and having fun in sharing our enthusiasm for RNA,” says Dr. Ute Wieden-Kothe, professor of chemistry & biochemistry at the U of L and a main conference organizer. “The focus this year will be on RNA and synthetic biology: new RNA technologies, as well as RNA in health & disease. We’re expecting over 80 attendees from 10 universities and five business enterprises.”

A pair of keynote speakers highlights this year’s conference, delivering talks that will be free and open to the public.

Dr. Adam Arkin, a professor at the University of California Berkeley and co-director of BIOFAB: International Open Facility Advancing Biotechnology, will present on Monday, June 6 at 1:30 p.m. in PE275. His talk is titled, Discovery and Design of mRNA Determinants of Expression Control. Arkin was featured in Time Magazine as a future innovator.

Dr. Paul Lasko, a professor at McGill University and a founding member of the Developmental Biology Research Institute (DBRI), will present on Tuesday, June 7 at 2:20 p.m. in PE275. His presentation is titled, Translational Control in the
Drosophila Germ Line. Lasko won the Young Scientist Award of the Genetics Society of Canada in 1998 and its Award of Excellence in 2004.

Stephen Rader of the University of Northern British Columbia organized the first RiboWest Conference in 2005. Since 2008, the U of L’s Alberta RNA Research and Training Institute (ARRTI) hosts the event every second year.