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Release: Immediate

Harkin will keynote public symposium on biomedical research funding

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa College of Medicine will host a public symposium on biomedical research funding that will feature a keynote address by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

The symposium, "Biomedical Research: Programs, Perceptions and Policies," will be Friday, Sept. 12 from 9 a.m. to noon in the Braley Auditorium on the lower level of Pomerantz Family Pavilion at the UI Hospitals and Clinics. It is free and open to anyone interested in topics surrounding the funding of biomedical research.

According to Dr. John B. Stokes, head of the nephrology division in the department of internal medicine and organizer of the event, the conference will be of interest not only to the UI community but also to policy makers, economic development officials, local political leaders, and the general public.

"In addition to the enormous benefits medical research has had in terms of health, biomedical research has long been an important part of the economy in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids area. And the state has made biotechnology a targeted industry for economic growth and development," Stokes says. "This symposium will assess where we are, where we are going, and what challenges we'll face along the way."

In addition to Harkin, who will speak on federal funding of biomedical research, other speakers will address an array of topics ranging from the public perception of medical research to the economic impact of such research.

UI President Mary Sue Coleman will open the conference. She is a biochemist whose research was funded by the National Institutes of Health for more than 20 consecutive years.

Two of the UI's most renowned medical researchers, Drs. Bruce J. Gantz and Edwin M. Stone, will discuss how discoveries are made in the laboratory and brought into the mainstream of medicine. Gantz is professor and head of otolaryngology and a pioneer in the development of cochlear implants, a device that has allowed profoundly deaf children and adults to hear. Stone is professor of ophthalmology and a co-discoverer of the gene that causes glaucoma.

Dr. David J. Skorton, UI vice president for research, will summarize the challenges facing academic medical research centers and biomedical researchers in today's political and health care environments. Skorton has academic appointments in the College of Medicine and the College of Engineering.

Charles H. Whiteman, Pioneer Hi-Bred Professor and chair of economics in the UI College of Business Administration, will speak on the economic impact of research funding on the regional, state and local economies.

Richard Knapp, executive vice president of the Association of American Medical Colleges, will present findings about the public perception of academic medical centers.

Mary Woolley, president of Research!America, will discuss the public perceptions of medical research.

Lunch will be available after the symposium for $10. Space for the symposium is limited and pre-registration is highly recommended. For more information or to register, call 800-551-9029 or 319-335-3231.