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Molecular Evolution Takes Centre Stage at International Conference in Québec City

DNA molecules may be small in size, but they definitely make up for their size in terms of importance; after all, DNA is vital for all living things and life’s processes.

And nobody understands the crucial role that cellular life and genetic instruction play more than Christian Landry, an associate professor at Université Laval’s Department of Biology who holds the Canada Research Chair in Evolutionary Cell and Systems Biology and member of the Québec City’s Ambassadors’ Club He also conducts research at the Institute for Integrative Systems Biology (IBIS)PROTEO, and the Big Data Research Centre (BDRC).

 

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As renowned leader in molecular evolution and systems biology, Mr. Landry is also the driving force behind Québec City’s winning bid to host the 2020 conference of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution’s (SMBE), SMBE 2020. 

SMBE is one of the biggest scientific societies in the world. It brings together thousands of  researchers, students, teachers and practioners—all of whom are molecular evolutionists—to discuss and share the latest discoveries in molecular biology and evolution. Its members hail from a variety of sub-fields that focus on different aspects of molecular biology as well as specific molecules.

The event is set to be one of the biggest the SMBE has ever held, with tentatively up to 1,500 attendees coming to Québec City for four days, from June 28 to July 2, 2020. “Over the years, our annual conference has been held in major cities across Europe and Asia. I am extremely proud that Québec City will be backdrop to next year’s event,” explained Mr. Landry.

While his expertise is focused on trying to understand how cellular systems are shaped by evolutionary forces, he has worked tirelessly over the past few years to bring SMBE 2020 to Québec City, with the help of the Québec City Convention Centre’s Sales Manager, Jocelyn Guertin, and event team.

“It was easy to “sell” the city to the SMBE’s event committee; after all, Québec City has a magical ethos for international participants. The event infrastructure is cutting edge. The proximity and affordability of the city’s hotels, restaurants and venues is very appealing. And the French Canadian culture is both refined and exotic. Everybody wants to go to Québec City!”

“It was amazing working with the Québec City Convention Centre—not only to prepare the bid but to plan for all the subsequent event logistics,” he said. “It was easy to “sell” the city the SMBE’s event committee; after all, Québec City has a magical ethos for international participants. The event infrastructure is cutting edge. The proximity and affordability of the city’s hotels, restaurants and venues is very appealing. And the French Canadian culture is both refined and exotic. Everybody wants to go to Québec City!”

In addition, Mr. Landry pointed out how professional and proactive the Québec City Convention Centre’s has been throughout the entire event planning process. “I am a scientist at the very core. It was reassuring to be supported by pros who know how to pull off a success event.” Mr. Landry added.

SMBE 2020 will showcase the most recent findings in molecular biology and evolution as well as genome biology. Accessible also to students, the event will include plenary talks, symposiums and poster sessions.

Molecular evolution is a hot topic around the globe for researchers and experts to better understand how species change and adapt to their environments and internal conditions on the DNA and genome level. For example, researchers want to understand how bacteria has become resistant to antibiotics, how cancer cells withstand chemotherapy and how plants learn to grow in polluted areas. “These are issues that we are forced to address, due to aggressive diseases and climate change. Will species as we know them today survive massive transformation in their respective environments? If so, how will they adapt? Can they adapt? SMBE members are probing the effects of mutations and what that means to the world as we know it.”

SMBE 2020 promises to be a catalyst for exciting new discoveries in evolutionary cell and systems biology. And Québec City will be the bond that ties fascinating molecular research next year!

 

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