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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University January 18, 2005 | Vol. 34 No. 18
Symposium Touts 'Third New Biology'

Symposium co-chair Aravinda Chakravarti, director of the Institute of Genetic Medicine.

Interdisciplinary research will advance discovery, scientists say

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

Six of the world's most notable scientists will convene at a Johns Hopkins-hosted symposium later this month in celebration of interdisciplinary research and the recognition that science and medicine have entered a period that will increasingly see the coupling of chemistry and mathematics with biology.

The symposium, Toward the Third New Biology, is co-sponsored by the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences and the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, with additional support from the Institute for Cell Engineering and the School of Medicine. The all-day event, to be held Jan. 28 in the Wood Basic Science Auditorium on the East Baltimore campus, will feature discussions on some of the latest discoveries in multidisciplinary genetic research and a talk titled "Genomic and Human Rights."

Aravinda Chakravarti, director of the Institute of Genetic Medicine and co-chair of the event, said that the symposium provides a time to reflect on all the recent growth and activity at Johns Hopkins, which can be traced to the creation of several multidisciplinary institutes, including Genetic Medicine, Basic Biomedical Sciences, Cell Engineering and the new Johns Hopkins Heart Institute.

"These days, it's often not enough to be just a physicist, just a chemist, just a cell biologist. We need to work together to solve problems," Chakravarti said. "We certainly can't throw away the classic divisions, but by creating these new entities, it brings in people from all of the otherwise traditional departments."

Co-chair Steve Desiderio, director of the Institute of Basic Biomedical Sciences.

In recent years, Chakravarti said, the computational sciences and chemistry have taken on a much greater prominence in biology by providing tools that have both sped up and enhanced the research and clinical process.

"We are coming into a stage of tremendous interaction between math, chemistry and biology — and biology's third and most productive period," he said. "Notably, we now have a list of all the genomes — the parts list — so the next step is to figure out what they all do and how they work."

Edward Miller, dean of the School of Medicine and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, will open the event, whose keynote speakers are David Baltimore, California Institute of Technology; Stuart Schreiber, Harvard University; John Kuriyan, Uni-versity of California, Berkeley; Cornelia Bargmann, Rockefeller University; Mary-Claire King, University of Washington; and Sydney Brenner, Molecular Sciences Institute.

The symposium's other co-chair is Steve Desiderio, director of the Institute of Basic Biomedical Sciences and professor of molecular biology and genetics.

A reception will follow the symposium, which is open to the public but targeted to students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty in the medical and basic sciences. For more information, contact Joanna Downer at


'Toward the Third New Biology'
A Celebration of Interdisciplinary Research

Friday, January 28
Wood Basic Science Auditorium, East Baltimore campus

10:30-10:45 a.m. Opening remarks, Edward Miller, dean of the School of Medicine

10:45-11:30 a.m. David Baltimore, California Institute of Technology:
"NF-B: Specificity Hidden in Apparent Generality"

11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Stuart Schreiber, Harvard University:
"Small Molecules, Small-molecule Screens and ChemBank"

12:15-1:30 p.m. Lunch break

1:30-2:15 p.m. John Kuriyan, University of California, Berkeley:
"Regulatory Mechanisms in the Src and Abl Tyrosine Kinases"

2:15-3 p.m. Cornelia Bargmann, Rockefeller University:
"Oxygen Sensation and the Genetics of Natural Behavior"

3-3:30 p.m. Coffee break

3:30-4:15 p.m. Mary-Claire King, University of Washington:
"Genomics and Human Rights"

4:15-5 p.m. Sydney Brenner, Molecular Sciences Institute:
"The Next Steps in Human Genetics"


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