2021 Symposium

Our 5th Annual Symposium will take place Thursday and Friday, March 25th and 26th, 2021, 11:00–2:30 EST.
VIRTUAL and NOT RECORDED, free and open to all – registration required.


RNA research shapes revolutionary scientific paths, from fundamental science discoveries in the labs to powerful biomedical applications for patients. The rapid rise of RNA-guided genome editing tools and mRNA-based vaccinations demonstrate the tremendous impact of such breakthroughs. To help us “process” these advances, five Keynote speakers and six Data Blitz presenters will give us their takes on RNA biomedicine, from RNA processing to RNA structure and CRISPR tools. Join us for what promises to become an inspiring 5th annual symposium, socially distanced but undeterred by COVID-19.



Tracy Johnson
Los Angeles
3/25, 11:05-12:00

Kevin Weeks
University of North Carolina
3/25, 12:10-1:05

Feng Zhang
Inst. of Technology
3/25, 1:35-2:30

presentation(photo: S. Grazier)

Brenda Bass
of Utah
3/26, 11:05-12:00

Christopher Lima
3/26, 12:10-1:05


U-M MiSciWriters graciously blogged about each keynote speaker at: https://misciwriters.com/




THURSDAY, March 25, 2021 

11:00 a.m. | Welcome
11:05 a.m. | Tracy Johnson, Ph.D., University of California – Los Angeles
“RNA Splicing, Chromatin Modification, and the Coordinated Control of Gene expression”
12:00 p.m. | Short break
12:10 p.m. | Kevin Weeks, Ph.D., University of North Carolina
“Structure-Based Discovery of New Functions in Large RNAs”
1:05 p.m. | Data Blitz Presentations: Cathy Smith; Daniel Peltier, M.D., Ph.D.; Yan Zhang, Ph.D.
1:35 p.m. | Feng Zhang, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Exploration of Biological Diversity to Discover Novel Molecular Technologies”
2:30 p.m. | Close Day 1

FRIDAY, March 26, 2021

11:00 a.m. | Welcome
11:05 a.m. | Brenda Bass, Ph.D., University of Utah
“Distinguishing self and non-self dsRNA in vertebrates and invertebrates”
12:00 p.m. | Short break
12:10 p.m. | Christopher Lima, Ph.D., Sloan-Kettering Institute
“Mechanisms that target RNA for destruction”
1:05 p.m. | Data Blitz Presentations: Meredith Purchal; Adrien Chauvier, Ph.D.; Shannon Wright
1:35 p.m. | Panel discussion with keynote speakers, hosted by Sara Aton, Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Markos Koutmos, Departments of Biophysics and Chemistry
2:25 p.m. | Closing


University of Michigan junior and early-career scientists’ presentations

Cathy Smith, Graduate Student, Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, Medical School
“Massively parallel minigene assays identify splice disruptive missense and synonymous POU1F1 variants in pituitary hormone deficiency”

Daniel Peltier, M.D., Ph.D., Clinical Lecturer. Department of Pediatrics, Medical School
“LINC00402 is a Novel Regulator of Allogeneic T Cell Function and T Cell Receptor Signal Transduction”

Yan Zhang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Chemistry, Medical School
“Harnessing diverse CRISPR-Cas3 systems for long-range genome engineering”

Meredith Purchal, Graduate Student, Program in Chemical Biology, College of LSA
“Structure and substrate selection of Saccharomyces cerevisiae pseudouridine synthase 7”

Adrien Chauvier, Ph.D., Postdoc and Research Assistant, Department of Chemistry, College of LSA
“Dynamic competition between a ligand and transcription factor NusA governs riboswitch-mediated transcription regulation”

Shannon Wright, Graduate Student, Department of Neurology, Medical School
“Aberrant translation and frameshifting in nucleotide repeat expansion disorders”

Press Release


Download the poster (jpg)

Download the poster (pdf)






Sponsored by the University of Michigan Biosciences Initiative and Lexogen

Similar Posts