Part Conference, Part Carnival
From life's origins to cell suicide, the 1998 NIH Research Festival will cover a wide spectrum of scientific inquiry when it returns to the Natcher Conference Center the week of Oct. 6-9. The annual celebration of intramural research is sure to have something for everyone. Drop in on dozens of lectures, peruse over 450 posters, check out new postdoctoral jobs, learn about the Y2K bug, or just sit back and enjoy some live music at one of the lunchtime picnics. Plan to attend each day's activities by viewing the complete schedule at the Festival Web site, http://silk.nih.gov/silk/fest98/.
Part conference and part carnival, the festival's purpose is "to bring together the NIH intramural research community in all of its scientific diversity," said Dr. Arthur Levine, NICHD scientific director and chairman of this year's organizing committee.
First on the agenda is the Office of Education's Job Fair for NIH postdoctoral fellows, running all day on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Now in its third year, the Job Fair always draws large resumé-toting crowds to meet representatives from outside organizations seeking to fill full-time positions. Contact Shirley Forehand (email@example.com) for details.
The scientific program begins Wednesday, Oct. 7 with a "big bang," so to speak, launched by "The Origins of Life," a joint NIH-NASA plenary session organized by Levine. NIH director Dr. Harold Varmus chairs the program, which features an introduction by Dr. Daniel Goldin, administrator of NASA, and explores planetary evolution and its implications for prebiotic life, as well as the earliest events in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic evolution.
The morning schedule then breaks out into six concurrent mini-symposia packed with cross-cutting presentations. In concert with the lecture topics, a 3-hour poster session displays the work of hundreds of intramural researchers that afternoon.
Equipment Exhibit Returns
In between, hungry festival-goers can grab a bite to eat at a lunchtime picnic sponsored by the Technical Sales Association (TSA) while enjoying free musical entertainment provided by NIH employee-musicians. The TSA again hosts its popular exhibit on Thursday and Friday, uniting hundreds of scientific equipment manufacturers and vendors with product demos, sample give-aways, and free refreshments all under one huge tent in front of the Natcher Bldg.
Meanwhile, the cycle of lectures, picnics and posters continues over the next 2 days. On Thursday, Oct. 8, NEI clinical director Dr. Scott Whitcup chairs a second plenary session, "Insight from the Bedside: The Patient, Clinical Research and Scientific Discovery," highlighting the interaction between clinical observations and basic science discoveries that promote our understanding of health and disease. Friday's plenary session, chaired by Dr. Story Landis, NINDS scientific director, focuses on "Apoptosis," or programmed cell death, which plays a crucial role in normal development and has been implicated in a number of disease states.
In addition, special booths in the Natcher Center touch upon broad topics affecting NIH intramural researchers such as the risk posed by Year 2000 problems upon biomedical and laboratory equipment, the new Vaccine Research Center, and services by ORS and other groups. So mark your calendars and come explore the diversity of Research Festival 1998. For a program booklet or other details, call the Visitor Information Center, 496-1776.
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