RNA is a leading-edge field of biomedical research that is quickly expanding at many public research and academic institutions in the US and Canada. The complexity of this research requires collaborations between scientists across disciplines and specialties, establishing communities of RNA scientists within each of these institutions.
When the COVID pandemic required to postpone all physical gatherings, seminars and symposia were cancelled, leaving a void and a strong need to keep discussing and sharing science across the RNA community. At the initiative of the University of Michigan Center for RNA Biomedicine, several centers came together and decided to offer virtual seminars, creating the RNA Collaborative Seminar Series with the goal to cross promote RNA research, and strengthen and connect the RNA scientific community. The Seminar Series offers an opportunity for scientists to present their current research and take questions and comments from their peers.
Yale Center for RNA Science and Medicine hosted the first seminar on April 22, 2020. Since then, every other week on Wednesdays, 4:00-5:00 pm EST, a research center offers a scientific seminar, on a rotating basis. The host institution is responsible for the selection of the speakers, and for managing the virtual meeting. A senior scientist moderates the seminar, and interactions between the audience and the speakers are achieved through a virtual Q&A chat. The promotion of the Seminar Series is shared by all participating institutions. The RNA Society has kindly accepted to host the webpage and contributes to the advertisement of the series. The seminars are recorded and freely available on YouTube.
The success of the series was immediate, with over 300 participants at its first seminar. Since then, the audience approximates 150 participants at each presentation, although summer is here and labs’ activity is resuming. The list of past and upcoming seminars is available here.
As of June 2020, participating centers and institutions are: MD Anderson Center for RNA Interference and Non-Coding RNAs; Harvard Medical School Initiative for RNA Medicine; NCI RNA Biology Initiative; RiboClub Sherbrooke, Québec; The RNA Institute, University At Albany; UMass Medical School, RNA Therapeutics Institute; University of Michigan Center for RNA Biomedicine;University of Rochester Center for RNA Biology; Yale Center for RNA Science and Medicine
The RNA Collaborative group encourages RNA centers across the world to join the series. If your RNA Center/Group/Club/Institution is interested in joining this collaborative, please contact Martina Jerant at firstname.lastname@example.org.