Every year the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) Department at Mayo Graduate School holds a student ran symposium. The symposium allows the graduate students to choose a topic of discussion and invite speakers from around the world to present their work. MGS students profit from the symposium by being able to meet speakers and may also have lunch and dinner with them. This year's symposium entitled "Protein Folding and Disease" was held on October 26, 2009. Eric Mahlum and Rachael Vaubel organized the activities.
Speakers included: Byron Caughey, Ph.D. (NIH/NIAID Rocky Mountain Laboratories), Bill Eaton, M.D., Ph.D. (NIH/NIDDK), Ulrich Hartl, M.D., Ph.D. (Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried Germany), Randy Kaufman, Ph.D. (University of Michigan), Rick Morimoto, M.D. (Northwestern University), Bill Skach, M.D. (Oregon Health Sciences University)
Eric Mahlum comments: "This year's BMB symposium on protein folding and disease was a blast! The speakers we invited were very interested to learn about the graduate program here at Mayo Clinic, in addition to their curiosities about the strange location for such a world-class facility. They were very interested in "the world we live in" here at Mayo Clinic as graduate students and right away realized the many benefits students have in such a "rural environment" with people from around the world as faculty, employees and students. Although I do not consider protein folding to be my main thesis project, I can certainly realize that protein folding dynamics can play an important role in my CSF1 signaling research in Glioma formation. I also was able to pick up from the airport and go to dinner with the speakers after the symposium. At dinner I was talking to Dr. Byron Caughey, who does prion research at the NIH. We eventually came to talking about how a BBB-carrier peptide that I helped develop (patent pending) may allow him to deliver his PrP proteins (past the blood-brain narrier and into the brain, not through drilling a hole in the skull and injecting, but through simple IV injection. I believe we will be collaborating. The Symposium was a great success overall as evidenced by a decent attendance and overflowing questions during the Q&A sections."