Public Release: 

Keystone Symposia and Vienna BioCenter launch scientific research conferences in Vienna

Keystone Symposia on Molecular & Cellular Biology

SILVERTHORNE, COLORADO, USA - November 7, 2018 - Keystone Symposia, in partnership with Vienna BioCenter Research Institutes GMI, IMBA, IMP and MFPL, is pleased to announce a series of scientific research conferences to be held at Vienna BioCenter in Vienna, Austria. The inaugural event will take place November 11-14, 2018 on the topic of "From Rare to Care: Discovery, Modeling and Translation of Rare Diseases" organized by Dr. Josef Penninger of the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology GmbH (IMBA) and Dr. Kym Boycott of CHEO Research Institute in Toronto, Canada. This will be Keystone Symposia's first conference in Vienna and second conference on the topic of rare diseases.

Consisting of three days of lectures by experts from academia and industry, plus poster sessions, the conference will focus on common approaches to discover the causes of the approximately 7,000 identified rare diseases; promising therapeutic approaches such as gene therapy and stem cells; modeling of rare diseases using organoids; and the ethical and political dilemmas associated with rare diseases. Some talks will focus on case studies of how a particular rare disease has been tackled, such as the opening keynote on "Epidermal Stem Cells and Combined Cell and Gene Therapy of Epidermolysis Bullosa" by Dr. Michele De Luca of University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy.

As part of the conference program, participants will be treated to a reception at Vienna City Hall, a neo-Gothic landmark building in the center of the Austrian capital. Those staying on after the conference concludes on Wednesday, November 14 will also be able to enjoy the city's famous Christmas markets, some of which start on November 15.

Plenary sessions will be held in the IMP Lecture Hall and poster sessions in the IMBA Atrium on the campus of Vienna BioCenter. Scientists interested in attending can register in advance on the event website and view the full speaker list at In addition, those interested can view a video interview with lead organizer Dr. Josef Penninger at http://KSpenningervideo.

"It is a tremendous recognition for the Vienna BioCenter and its institutes to host a Keystone Symposium in Central Europe for the first time, bringing together clinicians, young researchers, companies and regulatory authorities to tackle the genetic underpinnings of rare diseases," said Josef Penninger, IMBA's founding director and lead organizer of the conference.

Dr. Deborah L. Johnson, Keystone Symposia's Chief Executive Officer, commented: "We are very pleased to partner with Vienna BioCenter to convene conferences in Vienna, Austria. Vienna BioCenter represents the hub of Austrian science, with both academics and biotech companies coming together, exactly the type of partnership needed to tackle the challenge of understanding the causes and developing therapies for rare diseases. We look forward to welcoming scientists from both Austria and the rest of the world to this central location, and we appreciate the support of Vienna BioCenter to make conferences in this location possible."


About Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology

Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been conducting internationally renowned, open scientific conferences since its founding as UCLA Symposia in 1972 and has been headquartered in Summit County, Colorado, USA since 1990. Over the years, it has greatly expanded its conference portfolio and now holds conferences globally on up to six continents.

It will convene 59 conferences in the 2018-2019 season, the majority of which will take place between January and April 2019, on topics ranging from cancer, immunology and infectious disease to neuroscience and genomics. Registration fees are supplemented by financial support from corporate, foundation and individual donors as well as government grants.

More information on the organization and its conferences at and, respectively.

About Vienna BioCenter

Vienna BioCenter is a leading life sciences location in Europe, offering an extraordinary combination of research, business and education on a single campus: 1,700 employees, 1,300 students, 90 research groups and 21 biotech companies. Scientists from 70 nations create a highly dynamic environment of international standards. Further information can be found at

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