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EMBanniversary AUSTRIA Conference – Celebrating 50 years of EMBO, 40 years of EMBL and the Success of Molecular Biology in Austria


July 06 - 08, 2014    More than 40 speakers, session chairs and special guests together with guests representing the Austrian molecular biology and life sciences community celebrated the 50th and 40th anniversaries of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and their impact in Austria, with a dedicated event. EMBanniversary AUSTRIA, a unique fusion of a scientific conference, alumni reunion, party as well as science & society and political stakeholder event, started with a Sunday evening Welcome Bash on the terrace of the CeMM – Research Center for Molecular Medicine on July 6, followed by a two-day conference in the beautiful Jesuitensaal of the Aula der Wissenschaften in Vienna’s 1st district.

The conference included 7 scientific sessions, thematically named after eminent Austrian scientists such as Gödel, Landsteiner, Perutz or Mendel, with speakers and session chairs that have direct links to EMBO and EMBL, either through past employment, prizes or fellowships and that furthermore also have a direct link to Austria. EMBL Director General Iain Mattaj delivered the Wittgenstein Lecture entitled “Looking into the future of molecular biology through the EMBL lens”. A second special lecture, the Freud Lecture, was delivered by the IMP’s former director Kim Nasmyth of the University of Oxford.

Giulio Superti-Furga, Chair of the Board of the EMBL Alumni Association, on behalf of the association’s Austrian Chapter, presented the association’s Austrian Chapter Achievement Award Medal to Max L. Birnstiel, former director of the Institute of Molecular Pathology, and Denise P. Barlow, Principal Investigator at CeMM in recognition of a life-time of outstanding research in molecular biology and for their contributions to the EMBO and EMBL community in Austria.

The award ceremony was followed by a lively round table panel discussion on “How to Promote Molecular Biology?” chaired by Giulio Superti-Furga. The panelists Maria Leptin (EMBO Director), Hemma Bauer (Austrian Ministry of Science, Research and Economy) and Renée Schröder (Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Vienna) inspired, challenged and engaged the audience in a vibrant debate about the role, impact and future of molecular biology and the significant role of life sciences research in Austria.

EMBanniversary AUSTRIA was rounded up by a wine and cheese reception that provided additional opportunity for video interviews, networking and reminiscence. Many guests expressed their excitement with respect to the opportunity to meeting old friends and hearing cutting-edge science from Austrians involved in the diverse areas of the life sciences field. We thank all speakers and participants for their contribution to a successful and enjoyable event.

We gratefully acknowledge the following sponsors for providing additional support for EMBanniversary AUSTRIA: EMBL Alumni Association, EMBLEM Technology Transfer GmbH, Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Boehringer Ingelheim RCV GmbH & Co KG, Haplogen GmbH, Starlab GmbH, Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Sigma-Aldrich Handels GmbH and Biozym.

Happy birthday EMBO! Happy birthday EMBL!