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Press briefing - Sunday 30 August from 13:30 - 15:00 CET in Room M


The official press conference for The EMBO Meeting features the following presentations:


Kenneth Holmes, Max Planck Institute, Heidelberg, in the opening Special Lecture of The EMBO Meeting celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of one of the most significant breakthroughs in the history of molecular biology: the solving of the protein structure of myoglobin using X-ray crystallography by John Kendrew and Max Perutz.  This ability to determine the structure of proteins is, along with DNA sequencing, one of the two pillars on which modern molecular biology is built, and Prof Holmes revisits this exciting development and the many breakthroughs that have followed.


Pascale Cossart, Institut Pasteur, Paris discussing the 'perfect storm' of societal, environmental and historical factors that make us now, more than ever, susceptible to pandemic infections.  Referencing her own research into the listeria pathogen and the current H1N1 influenza pandemic, Dr Cossart argues that there can be no complacency in the fight against infectious disease.

Axel Ullrich, Max Planck Institute, Martinsried, is a world leading translational life scientist in genomics-based molecular medicine.  He has been translating basic science discoveries into medical applications for over 30 years and is one of the ten most cited scientists in the world. He will discuss how the first insights into the genetic basis of cancer were obtained by comparing the sequences of retroviral oncogenes with human proto-oncogenes.  This strategic approach yielded the first specific oncogene target-based therapeutic agent, "Herceptin", for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Subsequent "target-driven drug development" efforts led by Professor Ullrich brought the discovery of a prototypical example for the adaptation of cancer therapeutics from highly specific to multi-targeted drugs. In 2006 the FDA and subsequently the European Medicines Agency approved (SU11248) SUTENT/Sunitinib for the treatment of Gleevec-resistant GIST and Renal Cell Carcinoma (Pfizer). His current research aims to elucidate the mechanistic relevance of the Sunitinib target profile to aid in predicting patient response to this multi-specific cancer therapeutic.


Stem cell roundtable - Tuesday 1 September from 13:30 - 15:00 CET in the Press Room

Stem cell roundtable exclusively for science journalists and writers

Stem Cells: The next 20 years; natural versus induced pluripotency

A number of the world's leading stem cell researchers will participate in a roundtable discussion of stem cell research on Tuesday 1 September from 13:30 - 15:00 CET.  Press Room - behind the EMBO Talking Point area in the exhibition hall.


The session will examine current leading edge theory and research in the field of stem cells, and look ahead to what we might expect from the coming decades.  Participants include Hans Clevers, Rudolf Jaenisch, Austin Smith and Fiona Watt, and all speakers at both media sessions are available for interview on request. The roundtable is available by conference call for journalists off site (dial-in details will follow).