Scientific heavyweights to speak at Jan. 28 Hopkins symposium

General news and science reporters, editors, broadcasters and photographers are invited to The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Friday, Jan. 28, to hear six of the nation's best-known biological scientists -- including Nobel laureates David Baltimore and Sydney Brenner -- at a symposium, "Toward the Third New Biology."

The symposium, whose title refers to anticipated advances in biology in the post-double-helix, post-genome-sequencing world, will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Wood Basic Science Auditorium at 725 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore, on the medical school campus. [The schedule of speakers is below; a short biographical note for each of the speakers is available through the contact information above.]

"The symposium is designed to celebrate interdisciplinary research, particularly in biological research and its application to human health and disease," says Edward D. Miller, M.D., dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

In 1953, Watson and Crick merged evidence from chemistry, biology and structural biology to correctly describe the double-helical structure of DNA. The first "new biology" that followed saw scientists blend traditional disciplines to unravel basic genetic functions. These efforts were rewarded by the "second new biology," ushered in by discoveries that ultimately enabled sequencing of entire genomes.

"Now the 'third new biology,' is beginning as researchers use genomes to help unravel fundamental biological and disease processes," says symposium co-organizer Aravinda Chakravarti, Ph.D., director of the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Hopkins.

"Like biology in the 1950's and 1960's, this new biology crosses disciplines, but the scope of questions being asked requires a new combination of approaches -- particularly bioinformatics, computational biology, mathematics and chemistry," says Stephen Desiderio, M.D., Ph.D., professor of molecular biology and genetics and director of Johns

Contact: Joanna Downer
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

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