First TWAS Young Scientists Conference Concludes

The first TWAS Regional Conference Young Scientists (RCYS), held in association with the 10th TWAS General Conference, has concluded in Angra dos Reis, south of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Angra dos Reis, 4 September. Some 25 young scientists from 12 countries in the Latin America and Caribbean region were invited to attend the meeting and present their work to fellow participants, as well as to the 220 TWAS Fellows and 100 other eminent scientists from around the world who were attending the 10th TWAS General Conference.

Stevens Rehen of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro opened the proceedings with a talk on 'Aneuploidy and Mosaicism in the Human Brain', explaining that not all brain cells contain the same number of chromosomes and that the number of cells containing an extra chromosome or missing one changes with age. "Such changes," concluded Rehen, "may be have implications in the development of such diseases as Alzheimers."

Other conference sessions focused on 'Biomedical Progress: Epidemiology and Infection', 'Signals and Cancer', and 'Molecular and Cellular Development'. In the 'Signals and Cancer' session, Carmen Rossini of the Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay, described the 'defensive chemistry' of a ladybird beetle that is a pest of such crops of melon and squash. Part of the problem is that the defensive chemicals, including alkaloids, make the beetles unpalatable to predators. Rossini has also demonstrated that male beetles provide a 'nuptial gift' of alkaloid to female beetles during copulation that helps protect the resulting eggs from predation.

"The excellence of the research presented by the young scientists and their enthusiasm for their work has provided a valuable addition to the proceedings of the TWAS General Conference," said Jacob Palis, President-elect of TWAS and Vice President of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. "Not only have the young scientists benefitted by presenting and discussing their work with the eminent scientists present at the TWAS General Conference," he continued, "but I sincerely believe that the TWAS Fellows have enjoyed listening to and discussing the young scientists' presentations. We hope that future TWAS conferences will host similar young scientists conferences."

The TWAS RCYS was co-organized by the TWAS Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean Region and the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.

Published: 07 Sep 2006

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