Posted November 22, 2008

Biology’s Allen Nicholson co-organizes international conference on gene expression and RNA in Italy

  • Nicholson

Biology Professor Allen Nicholson co-organized a six-day international conference, “Post-transcriptional Control of Gene Expression: Mechanisms of mRNA Decay,” held September 14-19 in Lucca, Italy.

The bi-annual conference, part of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology’s summer research conferences, has been held every two years since 1996. This was the first to be held outside the United States.

“This conference has consistently presented the latest groundbreaking research on the mechanisms of gene regulation involving RNA,” said Nicholson, a NIH-funded researcher studying the roles of ribonucleases in gene expression and regulation.

Nicholson, who is also associate dean for research and graduate programs in the College of Science and Technology and holds a joint appointment in Temple’s Chemistry Department, said the conference attracted 130 researchers from around the world, and that a second-day workshop on RNA 3’(three prime) - End Addition and mRNA Degradation” was particularly noteworthy.

“That is a really hot research field right now,” he said. “There are some newly-characterized enzymes that have been discovered that play unanticipated, yet key roles, in regulating genes. It is opening a new area of research in this field that has potential therapeutic significance.”

This is the second FASEB conference on RNA and gene expression that Nicholson has organized, the first was the inaugural 1996 meeting in Copper Mountain, Colorado. He said he was selected to co-organize this year’s meeting by the organizers of the 2006 meeting.

Together with his co-organizer, University of North Carolina biologist William Marzluff, Nicholson spent the past two years developing the program, identifying and inviting speakers, and fundraising for the meeting. Support for meeting in Italy came from NIH and several biotechnology companies.