14th Microsymposium on Small RNAs
The “Microsymposium on Small RNAs” is an annual conference hosted at the Vienna BioCenter, which consistently attracts scientists from all over the world. This year in its 14th edition, 210 registered participants from outside the Vienna BioCenter demonstrated that the Microsymposium has matured into one of the most important annual conferences in the field of RNA biology in Europe.
In recent years, the Microsymposium on Small RNAs has expanded its scope: while it continues to be mostly focused on small RNA biology, it now includes presentations on other exciting aspects of RNA biology. The program this year consisted of 34 talks ranging from mechanisms of silencing to the biology of small RNAs in genome defense, inheritance, development and differentiation, as well as new technologies.
As always, the spirit of the 14th Microsymposium was collegial, open and supportive, with a strong emphasis on promoting young scientists. Beyond the outstanding line-up of international speakers (many of them junior group leaders), the highlights were the talks from six invited postdocs and nine invited PhD students.
This year, the Microsymposium had over 210 registered participants from outside the Vienna BioCenter; with additional “in-house” scientists also taking advantage of the excellent cohort of speakers. As a result, popular talks filled the IMP lecture hall to its maximum capacity of 280 people. The poster session, held at the IMBA/GMI atrium, featured 67 posters. Live-tweeting through the IMP twitter channel during the event helped to improve the visibility of the event.
The Microsymposium is free of charge for all registrants, which was made possible through the generous support granted by the four Vienna BioCenter research institutes, the EMBO Young Investigator Programme, the RNA society and commercial sponsors. These sponsors were most importantly Lexogen and Qiagen, as well as Biomedica, World Courier, THP medical products, New England BioLabs, GenScript and HP.
The Microsymposium was initiated by Javier Martinez in 2006 shortly after he moved to Vienna. Today, the event is co-organized by group leaders from all four basic research institutes at the Vienna BioCenter: Luisa Cochella (Research Institute of Molecular Pathology / IMP), Stefan Ameres and Julius Brennecke (Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences / IMBA), Michael Nodine (Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences / GMI) and Javier Martinez (Max Perutz Labs of University of Vienna and Medical University of Vienna). Participants left the 14th Microsymposium with the sentiment as every year so far - that "this was the best Microsymposium yet!"