[ASC-media] Congress Launch

Samantha Lucia s.lucia at victorchang.unsw.edu.au
Fri Sep 2 09:25:08 EST 2005

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute


Embargoed until 10am Sunday 4 September            


Constructing the complexity of life - from egg to adult


Over 900 developmental biologists meet in Sydney today to launch an
international congress that aims to address how our bodies are shaped and
how our organs are built - how we grow from a single-celled egg into a
trillion-celled adult. 


The 15th International Society of Developmental Biologists Congress runs
over the next four days and has attracted world leaders in developmental
biology, including Nobel Laureate, Professor Sydney Brenner. 


This year's Congress is organised by senior scientists at the Victor Chang
Cardiac Research Institute, led by Professor Richard Harvey, who says that
developmental biology is fundamentally the study of life, from the
fertilisation of a single-celled egg to the development of adult form and
function. However, it is also has important ramifications later in life, in
terms of the ability of our cells, tissue and organs to regenerate and in
regards to the genetic causes of disease. 


"One of the most exciting outcomes in the study of developmental biology
over the last decade is stem cell biology; the discipline of understanding
how immature cells expand and are held in limbo, until they are needed and
can then go on to form more complex and specialised cells during development
and regeneration."


"If we can get to a point where we understand how stem cells are activated
and renew themselves, we might be able to control the processes of
regeneration to combat degenerative diseases," Professor Harvey says. "But
we have a long road ahead of us and first we need to do the basic research
to understand the fundamental principles that underlie development."


This year's congress has attracted over 900 delegates, 63% from the
Asia-Pacific region. "The Congress gives us the chance to bring leaders in
the field together to showcase their work and discuss the future of the
discipline. It is also an opportunity to share information and ideas and to
foster collaborative work."


"Australia is a strong contender on the international stage of developmental
biology, leading the way with important advances in evolutionary biology,
embryonic patterning, organ development and adult stem cell research," Prof.
Harvey said.


During the Congress, the Asia-Pacific Developmental Biology Network will be
inaugurated, which will unite and give a voice to scientists of the region,
and provide them with a means to share their knowledge and support the
discipline within the region.  The next Congress will be held in 2009, the
exact location will be announced during the week. A list of sessions and
topics open to media are available on request.


For more information, interviews or images, please contact Samantha Lucia
-VCCRI on:

Tel: 61 02 9295 8100  Mobile: 0415 140 595  E-mail:
s.lucia at victorchang.unsw.edu.au



Samantha Lucia

Marketing and Communications Manager

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute



Ph: 61 2 9295 8100 (reception)

Fax: 61 2 8382 3585

Mobile: 0415 140 595

email: s.lucia at victorchang.unsw.edu.au


Level 4, 376 Victoria Street

Darlinghurst NSW 2010





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