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Research at the Cutting Edge

Plenary / Panel
english language


Executive Director, IMCB Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Singapore Abstract
In the last fifty years fundamental advances in our understanding of the molecular basis of cancer and the factors that cause it have been made. Yet the disease remains a major cause of death and morbidity throughout the world. "Curing Cancer" will require radical progress in prevention, early detection and therapy. Prevention is by far the most effective means of controlling disease and improving the health of society yet efforts to alter smoking habits and improve diet have been confounded by issues of poor communication of risk, political pressures and lack of funding and research. Recent progress in the development of vaccines mean that those cancers associated with viral infection such as cervical cancer can be eliminated. Active chemo-prevention strategies have great promise but offer challenges of safety, communication and trial design.

The early detection of Cancer by screening can have major benefits for society. With a few exceptions, current screens are expensive and inaccurate creating huge burdens of cost in follow up and producing an increasingly large population of "the worried well". The selective targeting of screening and prevention strategies to populations at excess risk of developing cancer may well prove the most effective way to manage these interventions.

Current therapies for Cancer are often highly effective but are sometimes delivered sub-optimally and the organisation of effective Integrated Cancer Centres and rigorous audit in an adequately funded health care system will have great impact. Such centres will also be important for the successful and rational introduction of new therapies. Rapid advances in cell and molecular biology and in rational drug development are producing highly effective new anti-cancer treatments. These new treatments are more selective than current therapies and are often tailored to specific defects in the cancer cell. As such, their optimal application requires a detailed molecular analysis of the tumour to be treated and an individualisation of care. Examples of such new therapies include Tamoxifen, Gleevec, Iressa Avastin and Herceptin. All of these new agents have much reduced toxicity compared with conventional cyctotoxic anti-cancer drugs. They offer the promise to the patient of a much "kinder" and more effective treatment of their disease but their use and development pose challenges of cost and regulation that are creating considerable stress within the Pharmaceutical/ Government/Health Provider interface. The successful integration of these developments has the potential to greatly reduce the morbidity and incidence of Cancer in our society over the next 50 years. Cancer will then be controlled and in many cases effectively "cured".
Glenn T. Seaborg Professor of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley; Senior Scientist, Material Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Abstract
The universal desire to  look inside was accommodated for centuries by opening up objects and subjects in order to analyze their contents, morphology, structure, and function. In 1895 Roentgen produced a picture of the interior skeleton of a hand, and thus was born the omnipresent and powerful methodology of x-ray imaging, and the resulting emergence of CAT scans and molecular crystallography. The year 1945 witnessed tumultuous events, including the birth of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, a pioneering method that employs benign, non-ionizing radio-waves to identify chemical composition and molecular structure. NMR was subsequently transformed into magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which ingeniously encodes spatial location into the frequencies of the radio-waves, thereby forming non-invasive pictures of intact samples. NMR and MRI are now used for imaging and molecular analysis in various endeavors of benefit to humanity, including materials research, water and oil exploration, the pharmaceutical industry, biomedicine, brain function, and monitoring of security. The lecture will elucidate, in schematic terms, the principles of NMR and MRI, with illustrative examples from their wide spectrum of contemporary applications, and will also introduce some novel, forward-looking methodologies. Traditionally, the benefits of NMR and MRI rely on the immersion of objects or subjects in the bore of a huge magnet that is typically immobile, costly, and occasionally hazardous. New developments involve the coupling of magnetic resonance with new pulse sequences, laser technology, and superconducting detectors, introducing the exciting possibility of ex-situ and remote NMR and MRI techniques that employ small mobile magnets, or function even in the absence of magnets--zero-field NMR and MRI! We envisage the possibility of scanning objects or subjects with compact, portable instruments that acquire information outdoors or in the doctor s office. In the future, these innovations should allow us to  see beyond the light, over distance scales from nanometers to meters, in systems from molecules and materials to organisms and humans.
President Emeritus, Jacobs University Bremen Chair

Ph.D. David P. LANE

Executive Director, IMCB Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Singapore

1976-1977 Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. L.V. Crawford, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London
1977-1981 Lecturer Department of Zoology, Imperial College of Science & Technology, London
1978-1980 Leave of Absence Robertson Research Fellow/Cancer Research Institute Fellow, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, New York
1981-1985 Lecturer, Department of Biochemistry, Imperial College of Science & Technology
1985-1988 Senior Staff Scientist, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Head, Molecular Immunochemistry Laboratory I.C.R.F. Clare Hall Laboratories, South Mimms, Hertfordshire
1988-1990 Principal Scientist, I.C.R.F., Continued at Clare Hall Laboratories
since 1990 Personal Chair in Molecular Oncology, University of Dundee; Director of the Cancer Research UK Cell Transformation Research Group, The Cancer Research UK Laboratories at Dundee
1990-1998 Department of Biochemistry, Medical Sciences Institute, University of Dundee
since 1998 Department of Surgery and Molecular Oncology, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, University of Dundee
2004 Executive Director of the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) in Singapore on a two year leave of absence from University of Dundee

PhD Alexander PINES

Glenn T. Seaborg Professor of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley; Senior Scientist, Material Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

1972 Ph.D. in Chemical Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1987 Professeur Joliot-Curie, Ecole Superiere de Physique et Chemie, Paris
1990 Hinshelwood Professor, Oxford University
1993-1996 President, International Society of Magnetic Resonance
1994 Morris Loeb Lecturer in Physics, Harvard University
1997 Elected to Board of Governors, Weizmann Institute of Science
1999 Lord Todd Professor, Cambridge University
2001 Alan S. Tetelman Fellow, Yale University

Dr. Joachim TREUSCH

President Emeritus, Jacobs University Bremen

1970 Professur in Frankfurt
1971 Lehrstuhl für Theoretische Physik in Dortmund
1984-1986 Präsident der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft
seit 1987 Vorstandsmitglied der Kernforschungsanlage Jülich (KFA)
1993-1997 Vorsitzender der Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren
1995-1996 Präsident der Gesellschaft Deutscher Naturforscher und Ärzte
1990-2006 Vorsitzender des Vorstands der Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
1999-2003 Vorsitzender des Deutschen Verbandes Technisch-Wissenschaftlicher Vereine
2000-2006 Vorsitzender des Lenkungsausschusses "Wissenschaft im Dialog"
2006-2012 Präsident der Jacobs University Bremen

Technology Forum

show timetable


10:00 - 12:00Technology Brunch sponsored by Tiroler ZukunftsstiftungSocial
11:00 - 22:00Presentation CD-Laboratory "Biomechanics in skiing"Culture
13:00 - 13:30Welcome by the OrganisersPlenary
13:30 - 14:00Welcome StatementsPlenary
14:00 - 15:00OriginsPlenary
15:30 - 17:30Competition for TalentPlenary
19:00 - 20:15Research at the Cutting EdgePlenary
20:15 - 21:30Science and Research Models and Best PracticePlenary
21:30 - 23:30Evening Reception sponsored by Alcatel AustriaSocial


09:00 - 18:00Junior AlpbachBreakout
09:00 - 15:00Working Group 01: Science and Technology in Sport: Challenge for Industry and Benefit for PeopleBreakout
09:00 - 15:00Working Group 02: Technology Transfer: the Motor for Developing LocationsBreakout
09:00 - 15:00Working Group 03: Convergence and Complexity in TechnologyBreakout
09:00 - 15:00Working Group 04: Convergence and Excellence in ScienceBreakout
09:00 - 15:00Working Group 05: Innovative Telematics Systems in Intermodal TransportBreakout
09:00 - 15:00Working Group 06: Changes in Technology and Natural Sciences - Is Our Tertiary Education System Still Up to Date?Breakout
09:00 - 15:00Working Group 07: High-performance Materials from Nature as an Opportunity for Economic GrowthBreakout
09:00 - 15:00Working Group 08: The Reassuring HabitatBreakout
09:00 - 15:00Working Group 09: Energy Security - the Case of Hydro CarbonsBreakout
16:00 - 17:15Convergence and Complexity in Science and TechnologyPlenary
17:15 - 18:00Faith and SciencePlenary
19:00 - 20:00Atom and Eve - an Alpbach MinioperaCulture
20:00 - 23:30Reception sponsored by the Province of Lower AustriaSocial


09:00 - 10:00Energy and SecurityPlenary
10:00 - 10:30Alpbach 2006 - Resumée Junior AlpbachPlenary
11:00 - 12:30Science and DemocracyPlenary
12:30 - 13:30The Universe is a Strange PlacePlenary
13:30 - 14:30Farewell Reception sponsored by Microsoft AustriaSocial