Oncological Sciences Center

Purdue symposium to focus on the membrane biology of cancer

April 29, 2010

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A three-day conference that will bring national and international cancer scholars to the Purdue University campus is planned next week to highlight research advances and techniques in understanding cell membrane biology as it relates to cancer.

The Symposium on the Membrane Biology of Cancer will run May 6-8 at Pfendler Hall's Deans Auditorium, Room 241. The event is free and open to the public. For more information or registration details, contact Kris Swank of Purdue's Oncological Sciences Center at 765-494-4674, kswak@purdue.edu.

Speakers include experts from Purdue along with Yale University, Arizona State University, University of California-San Diego, University of North Carolina, UCLA, University of California-Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern University, New York University, University of Rhode Island, University Medical Center of Groningen in The Netherlands and Immunogen Inc.

Presenters and panelists from Purdue include: Phil Low, Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry; Claudio Aguilar, assistant professor of biological sciences; and Rich Gibbs, professor of medicinal chemistry. For the complete list of participants, go online to http://www.purdue.edu/discoverypark/global/news/news.php?id=543¢er=13

"It's quite a distinguished group of speakers," said William Cramer, the Henry Koffler Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences and head of the Purdue Center for Basic and Applied Studies of Biological Membranes. "Because membrane biology-biochemistry-biophysics are emerging areas of research, we're hoping to discuss and generate ideas that are relevant not only to membrane biology, but also to the cutting-edge areas of the molecular basis of cancer research."

Membrane biology is essential to the study of cancer because of the role that membranes perform within cells.

"Membranes direct all the traffic within the cell and allow the cell to accumulate its essential nutrients and transduce its required energy," he said. "Membrane proteins are the immigration officers at the borders - all the traffic going back and forth, legal and illegal, is being handled by these proteins."

Thanks to recent technological advancements, a growing number of researchers are studying how defects in membrane proteins can lead to cancer and other diseases. Cramer said it's forward-thinking for Purdue to lead a conference on this burgeoning area of research.

"It's really a sign of intellectual awareness in the cancer center, the participating departments and centers to put this symposium together," he said.

Sponsors include the Purdue Center for Basic and Applied Studies of Biological Membranes (PUBAMS) and Discovery Park's Oncological Sciences Center, with support from the Purdue Center for Cancer Research and the Department of Biological Sciences.


Writers:      Angie Roberts, 765-494-2629, akroberts@purdue.edu

      Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

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