1st International Conference on Translational Medicine
Posted 24 October 2014 3:18pm

Venue: Parliament House

Australia’s profile as the ‘hub’ of the newly-emerging field of translational medicine was reinforced when globally recognised leaders in the field, from a variety of disciplines and countries, convened in Canberra in November 2010 for the inaugural International Conference on Translational Medicine.

 Initiated and hosted by Professor Julio Licinio, Director of The John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR) of the Australian National University, the conferencewas the first of its type, and created a forum where specialists could collectively define a common intent and framework to advance international academic collaboration in the field.  

 Dr Madeleine Nicol, conference convenor and Public Affairs Manager of JCSMR, said she was proud that Australia and, in particular, Canberra was taking a leadership role in progressing this important scientific field. 

 “Translational medicine is a relatively new field of science – essentially, it brings together the research findings from a diverse scientific fields with the aim of promptly translating the results into better care for patients, in the form of quicker development of new diagnostic procedures, drugs or therapies,” Dr Nicol said.

 “This conference brought together for the first time more than 185 leaders in the field – including scientists, researchers and professionals – from countries including Germany, USA, United Kingdom, Singapore, Israel and China. It enabled us to share knowledge and understand how collaboration among the disciplines can ultimately help get new treatments to patients and improve their well-being.

 “A number of strong networks were built among the delegates that will definitely lead to future academic partnerships, and important academic papers delivered at the conference will be published. 

 “Given the success of this initial conference, plans are already in train to hold the conference biannually, alternating between Australia and another country,” she said.     

 A highlight of the conference was the announcement of the official launch the Australian-German Institute for Translational Medicine, a joint initiative of the JCSMR at ANU, Canberra, and the Technische Universität Dresden.

 Dr Nicol said the new Institute was an exciting development, and its work should lead to important new treatment methods to help in the fight against diabetes, depression, dementia and other epidemic diseases.

 “The two universities behind the Institute have been pioneers in the academic roll out of translational medicine, and both bring vast amounts of experience to the initiative.  The formation of the Institute will facilitate a research and knowledge exchange program between the two countries, and its first work will look at fighting diseases which are commonplace in both the Asia-Pacific region and Europe,” she said.

 Canberra provided an ideal backdrop for the conference.  Among the social activities, delegates enjoyed a uniquely Australian occasion – breaking to watch the Melbourne Cup and indulge in a Champagne toast – as well as dinner at Parliament House.  The standout activity, however, was a cocktail reception and private viewing of the National Portrait Gallery.

 “We were very fortunate to have the treat of two of the scientists attending our drinks whose portraits were also hanging in the Gallery!” Dr Nicol said.  

 “The advice provided to us by the Canberra Convention Bureau was invaluable, and I am so grateful to them for assisting us to put together a conference that was both beneficial and memorable for our national and international delegates,” she said. 

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