A successful "meeting of the minds" at Biomedicine in 4D conference


04/02/12 Portland, Ore.

More than 37 world experts in integrated “–omics” and systems microscopy assembled in the OHSU Auditorium on March 21-23 to present the latest findings and challenges in harnessing imagery and models to solve biomedical problems.

The 2012 Biomedicine in 4D conference, sponsored by the OHSU Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine, brought together several hundred faculty, research staff, post-docs, students and members of the public to broaden discussion and foster collaboration in this complex and rapidly changing field.

Joe Gray, PhD welcomed audience members with a few opening remarks. “One way to think of what we’re doing is that we’re developing the ‘Google Earth view’ of cell and tissue genomics,” said the Director of the OHSU Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine and Associate Director of Translational Research in the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. “From electron microscopy to MRI/PET scans, we’re exploring all these dimensions and making progress in our understanding of them. Are we ready to put the ‘parts list’ together? I think we are.”

The program was packed with a breadth and depth of presentations. OHSU talks included ones by Eric Barklis, PhD, Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, entitled “EM analysis of HIV-1 structural proteins” and Charles Springer, PhD, Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology, entitled “Can MRI eliminate most breast and prostate biopsies?”

Brian Druker, MD, Director of the Knight Cancer Institute and Associate Dean for Oncology, gave the conference’s opening keynote entitled “Beyond Gleevec,” in which he discussed his lab’s research successes and challenges in targeting therapies that rapidly translate into clinical benefits for patient.

The conference also drew many outside investigators from research institutions such as Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, UCLA and University of Pittsburgh as well as government centers such as the NCI and NIH.

Dan Gallahan, PhD, NCI Deputy Director of the Division of Cancer Biology, gave a presentation on “Unraveling the Complexity of Cancer” in which he discussed why cancer is such a difficult disease to make progress on in comparison to others such as heart disease. Cancer is very well adapted to humans, and the disease has evolved as we evolved, he said, so it will take some time to unravel. He highlighted several NCI programs, including the NCI Alliance for Nanotech in Cancer and the Integrative Cancer Biology Program.

“It was clear from the talks that the science and technology of 4D biomedicine are advancing at light speed,” said Dr. Gray afterward. “The talks presented many examples where multiscale systems science is playing key roles in advancing the diagnosis and management of cancer and other high impact diseases.”

Dr. Gray is also Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, holding the Gordon Moore Endowed Chair in Biomedical Engineering.