Sweden hosts international conference on developmental biology
In Stockholm on October 25 – 27th, the Swedish Developmental Biology Organization (SWEDBO) hosts a jointly organised international research conference on Developmental Biology and Regeneration. The international meeting has delegates from Europe, Asia, America and South America and gathers a wide range of experts to showcase their most recent findings and discuss scientific as well as technological advances in the fields of developmental biology and regeneration.
Neurons developed from human stem cells. The 'axons' of the neurons are labeled with neurofilament (red) and the DNA (nucleus) with dapi (blue). Credit: Iwan Jones, Umeå University.
Humans, animals and plants all undergo ‘developmental biology’. In humans the term refers to the growth and formation of our body parts in prenatal embryo stages, through childhood, puberty and even in later life. This continual process allows the body to function properly, repair and adapt to the environment during our lifetime. Understanding the process of developmental biology contributes vital knowledge that allows us to understand the causes of developmental disorders, such as autism and also helps to improve our understanding of repair processes in the body after disease and injury.
SWEDBOs overall mission is to promote research interactions and education of developmental biology and related fields within Sweden and internationally.
“The goal of the conference is to bridge interactions between developmental biology researchers across Scandinavia and the UK and more widely internationally,” says Sara Wilson, who is a researcher at the Umeå Center for Molecular Medicine at Umeå University and chair of SWEDBO. “While Sweden is traditionally very strong in this research area, scientists are geographically spread around Sweden and the world, which hinders research interactions. This conference is aimed at helping solve this by building closer links between Universities throughout Scandinavia and internationally.”
The conference keynote speaker is Professor Tom Jessell from Colombia University, New York, a world leader in the field and a winner of the prestigious Kavli prize. The three-day program covers a broad range of subjects, including animal and plant development, regeneration and stem cell sciences. The meeting covers the latest research from a wide range of areas such as genetic, physiological, molecular and cellular technologies as well as so-called ‘classical embryology’.
“The conference speakers are a mixture of scientists presenting cutting edge developmental biology and related research from all over the world. We have also aimed to promote equal exposure of excellent science from women and men at early to mid-career stages. And we have invited women who are not yet professors to lead (chair) the scientific sessions. These efforts underline our commitment in promoting scientific excellence wherever it comes from,” says Sara Wilson.
SWEDBO is run on a volunteer basis by elected scientist representing Umeå University, Stockholm University, Gothenburg University, Lund University, Karolinska Institutet, Uppsala University and Linköping University. The conference is organised by SWEDBO together with the British Society for Developmental Biology, Finnish Society for Developmental Biology and researchers from Norway and Denmark, which do not currently have a formal organisation for such activities. The conference is made possible with funding from the Swedish Research Council (VR), the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), The Company of Biologists and other sponsors.