BAR HARBOR, MAINE – Over 150 scientists and students will convene at the MDI Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor April 29 and 30 for the 43rd annual Maine Biological and Medical Sciences Symposium. The purpose of the symposium is to showcase research results, exchange ideas and promote collaborations and networking among scientists and students from a variety of disciplines.
The number of research presentations this year has increased by about 25 percent over 2015, which organizers attribute to the influence of educational programs for undergraduates sponsored by Maine INBRE, a collaborative network of 13 Maine educational and research institutions led by the MDI Biological Laboratory. More than 100 students and scientists will present their research this year—up from 75 in 2015.
“The increase in the number of presentations is an INBRE success story,” said Jane Disney, Ph.D., the director of education at the MDI Biological Laboratory. “The goal of the INBRE program is to create a biomedical research culture in Maine. The success of the symposium—and the increase in the number of presentations—is a testament to the program’s effectiveness at providing biomedical research training in Maine.”
Presentations at the 2016 symposium will include 83 poster presentations and 20 talks on a wide range of subjects, including measuring human visual color acuity, building school and community collaborations to eliminate arsenic from drinking water, identifying mechanisms for wound repair and developing a next-generation information management system for scientific research.
Many of the students will be delivering presentations on research that was initiated in INBRE training programs, Disney said. The symposium has also been successful at attracting scientists who are new to the state, creating increased opportunities for networking and collaboration.
The INBRE program (the IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence), is funded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and was established to foster health-related research and enhance the competitiveness of investigators in regions where the success rate for applications for NIH funding has historically been low. The program supports training for undergraduate students and research projects for faculty members.
Since its inception in 2001, Maine INBRE has provided hands-on research training for more than 2,100 Maine undergraduates at the MDI Biological Laboratory. The INBRE program also funds the symposium, which provides the opportunity for students and young investigators to showcase their work.
The two-day program will be highlighted by by a keynote address by Douglas C. Wallace, Ph.D., who is the director of the Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine and the Charles Barnett Chair of Pediatric Mitochondrial Medicine and Metabolic Disease at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He will speak on the role of mitochondrial energy in human health and disease.
The symposium was established in 1975 as a forum for Maine scientists from a range of biological and biomedical sciences disciplines. Traditionally, it has also focused on supporting student research at the undergraduate and graduate levels and growing Maine’s research capacity.
The MDI Biological Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution focused on increasing healthy lifespan and harnessing the natural ability to repair and regenerate tissues damaged by injury or disease. The institution develops solutions to complex human and environmental health problems through research, education and ventures that transform discoveries into cures.