News Release 

New symposium highlights research on targeting of incurable diseases via RNA

Titled: 'RNA - From Biology to Drug Discovery,' day-long conference to focus on translational promise of a novel targeting strategy

Scripps Research Institute

JUPITER, Fla.--Nov. 11, 2019--On Dec. 5, Chemistry Professor Matthew D. Disney, PhD, will host a new symposium aimed at bringing together leading scholars in RNA biology at the Florida campus of Scripps Research. The conference, titled "RNA: From Biology to Drug Discovery." will feature talks by noted scientists in RNA biophysics, sequence, structure, function, therapeutic targeting and computation.

Basic understanding of RNA biology has accelerated recently as the role of RNAs in disease has become clearer. Approaches to designing effective and selective RNA-focused therapeutic strategies have followed, and are showing great promise, opening diseases once deemed "undruggable" to potential treatment strategies. At Scripps Research in Jupiter, Florida, Professor Disney has pioneered multiple RNA-focused therapeutic approaches and helped launch a company, Expansion Therapeutics, to move them into the clinic.

"It is now known that RNA is a key driver in nearly every disease," Disney says. "Bringing together leading scholars in this emerging field will make all of us better and improve efforts to find treatments for diseases for which there are no known cures or have a poor prognosis."

Speakers include Chemistry Professor Dale Boger, PhD, of Scripps Research in La Jolla, Calif.; Chemistry and Biochemistry Professor M.G. Finn, PhD, of Georgia Tech University; Biochemistry and Biophysics Professor Lynne Maquat, PhD, Director of the University of Rochester Medical Center's Center for RNA Biology; Professor of Biochemistry Robert Batey, PhD, of the University of Colorado, Boulder; Associate Professor of Integrative, Structural & Computational Biology Katrin Karbstein, PhD of Scripps Research in Jupiter, Florida; Assistant Professor of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology Eric Wang, PhD, of University of Florida's Center for NeuroGenetics; Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics David Matthews, MD, PhD, of the University of Rochester Medical Center; Mathematical Sciences Professor Emeritus Michael Zuker, PhD, of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, and Professor of Neuroscience Leonard Petrucelli, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville.

A poster session will take place during the lunch break. All registrants are eligible to present a poster. See the registration portal to submit an abstract:

The universe of human proteins consists of about 20,000 varieties, while the universe of human RNAs is closer to 200,000, potentially offering new effective opportunities to intervene.

While about 2 percent of the human genome encodes proteins, 70 to 80 percent of is transcribed into RNA, potentially offering significantly more druggable targets. Until recently, however, most researchers considered RNAs undruggable.

"I am excited to hear more about where these scientists are taking RNA-focused research," Disney says.



Symposium: "RNA - From Biology to Drug Discovery"
Dec. 5, 2019
Scripps Research Rodney B. Fink Auditorium, 120 Scripps Way, Bldg. B
8:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.

For more information or to submit your poster abstract: Contact Kathleen O'Brien,

To register, go to

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