Molecules in the Mountains conference to be held on campus

Molecules in the Mountains, a free life science conference geared toward students, scientists and regional business people, will be held Thursday, April 12, at Western Carolina University in the A.K. Hinds University Center.

Co-hosted by the Western Office of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and WCU, the event will consist of a series of short talks and two poster sessions. This year’s theme is modern human medicine, with experts discussing topics such as regeneration of tissues and organs, personalized medicine and genetic therapies.

The keynote speaker will be Justin Strader, a founder of Humacyte, a Morrisville-based company that used North Carolina Biotechnology Center funding to become a $200 million company. Humacyte is currently in clinical trials testing the efficacy of bioengineered blood vessels that can potentially be used in kidney dialysis, arterial disease treatment and remediating traumatic injuries.

The conference will begin at 9 a.m. with a welcome from Richard Starnes, dean of WCU’s College of Arts and Sciences, and concludes at 4:50 p.m. with student poster presentation awards.

The deadline for submitting an abstract for presentation is Friday, March 23, with any subject welcome. “If your work involves a molecule ― or more than one molecule ― you’re in,” said Sean O’Connell, WCU associate professor of biology and an event organizer. “The conference is left intentionally broad to bring together a diversity of people and range of stimulating topics.”

Deadline for registration is Friday, April 6. Lunch and refreshments will be provided at no charge. For more information, visit this web page or call 828-227-2203.