With a quarter century of helping to advance scientific discovery worldwide behind it and two Nobel-prize winners in attendance, a two-day conference to celebrate the birth and growth of GenBank, one of the most successful and scientifically influential programs ever from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) kicked off on April 7-8, 2008 at the Natcher Conference Center on the main NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.
Originally a modest database of nucleic acid sequences, GenBank, established by the NIH in 1982, and now part of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a division of NLM, grew to become one of the essential tools that scientists around the world use to conduct biomedical and biologic research.
The 25th anniversary conference brought together a galaxy of world-renowned scientists in molecular biology, genetics, bioinformatics and other areas to discuss GenBank’s applications, the discoveries it has enabled, its history, and future directions.
Speakers included Nobel Prize winners Rich Roberts, PhD, and Sydney Brenner, PhD, as well as luminaries Francis Collins, MD, PhD, who led the Human Genome Project and is Director of NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute; and Craig Venter, PhD, who led the private-sector effort to sequence the human genome and is president of the J. Craig Venter Institute.
More than a dozen other eminent scientists spoke over two days with Michael Gottesman, MD, Deputy Director for Intramural Research NIH, and Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD, Director of the NLM, opening the conference with welcoming remarks.