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More Focus, Homegrown Music
Research Festival '98 Preparations Under Way

Preparations are under way for the 1998 NIH Research Festival, scheduled for Oct. 6-9. This year's organizing committee, chaired by Dr. Arthur Levine, NICHD scientific director, has already planned a number of major symposia to be coordinated with poster sessions. Registration for the posters begins now and runs until June 5. Authors may submit poster entries online or by fax. Details are available at the Festival '98 Web site, http://silk.nih.gov/silk/fest98/, which can be accessed from the News and Events section of the NIH home page.

"We've made some changes in the Research Festival's format," said Levine, who designed and chaired one of the initial festivals in 1989. "It's a less diffuse program that goes back to its original purpose: To bring together the NIH intramural research community in all of its scientific diversity, but at the same time to focus on a set of research themes that are broadly important and still emerging." The program for this fall, developed also with Dr. Story Landis, NINDS scientific director, and Dr. Scott Whitcup, clinical director for NEI, adds many innovative ideas to the annual celebration.

A principal move is to start the schedule with a day-long Job Fair for NIH postdoctoral fellows on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Spearheaded by James Alexander and Shirley Forehand of the Office of Education, the fair is expected to include many industrial firms as well as academic institutions and other nonprofits seeking to hire fellows for full-time positions.

Following Tuesday's Job Fair, the festival's scientific meetings will be condensed into a new 3-day format running Oct. 7, 8 and 9. Each morning begins with a plenary session focusing on topics of wide interest to the scientific community. Wednesday's session is titled "The Origins of Life," a joint NIH-NASA program, with researchers from both organizations exploring planetary evolution and its implications for prebiotic life, as well as the earliest events in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic evolution. On Thursday, Oct. 8, a plenary session on clinical science titled "From Bedside to Bench" is planned. Friday, Oct. 9 features a plenary session on "Apoptosis."

The morning plenary sessions will be followed each day by six concurrent mini-symposia. Hundreds of suggestions for topics were solicited from the NIH interinstitute interest groups and from individuals, and these were culled into crosscutting presentations. The result is a lineup of 18 mini-symposia that are broader in scope than the workshop format of previous festivals, and more engaging to a wider range of researchers than in the past.

On each day of the festival, the Technical Sales Association (TSA) will host a lunchtime picnic complete with musical entertainment provided by some "local talent." One of the featured bands will be a much-touted but seldom seen group, "The Directors," appropriately named after the daytime jobs of band members Stephen Katz of NIAMS, Francis Collins of NHGRI, and NCI's Richard Klausner. In addition to the daily picnics, the TSA will again run its popular Research Festival Exhibit Show with displays from many manufacturers of the latest lab equipment on Thursday and Friday, simultaneous with the scientific program.

As usual, the Research Festival will include poster sessions slated for each afternoon, correlating themes of that day's earlier symposia with hundreds of posters. Researchers from all institutes are invited to submit poster abstracts. Laboratory directors are encouraged to limit the number of posters submitted by combining similar titles or otherwise consolidating entries. Posters displayed during the festival will be selected by the organizing committee and symposia chairs, and some symposia speakers may be selected from the poster submissions. Applicants can submit entries online at the festival Web site (see address above). They can also email the required information to Gregory Roa, gr25v@nih.gov, or fax a printed copy of the form to Research Festival Posters, 402-0601.

The deadline to submit poster applications is 5 p.m., Friday, June 5. To obtain a printed entry form or for more information, visit the Web site or call 496-1776.


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