Students from Lakelands Senior High School and Shenton College had the opportunity to meet world-renowned chemists and molecular biologists at the 1st International Symposium on “Functional Nucleic Acids: From Laboratory to Targeted Molecular Therapy” held at Murdoch University 26-27 November 2015.

“Our aim is to reach out to our young and eager minds, and inspire them with world’s leading scientists towards pursuing future research innovation,” said Dr Rakesh Veedu, the Perron Institute McCusker Research Fellow and the main organiser of the conference.

“The students learnt about the importance of and even some scientific insights on how to develop gene targeting therapy.

“This conference provided an opportunity for students to interact with PhD researchers, young investigators and senior Professors who described their goals and research achievements in a very simplified manner,” continued Dr Veedu.

“Functional nucleic acid therapy is one of the most promising approaches to target genes and develop therapy against an array of diseases.”

Professors such as Peter Klinken (Chief Scientist of WA), Jesper Wengal (University of Southern Denmark), Peter Leedman (Harry Perkins Institute) and Australian Eureka Prize winners; Professors Steve Wilton and Sue Fletcher, were among the international scientists the high school students had the opportunity to spend time with.

All speakers provided their new research findings in the field. Professors Wilton and Fletcher provided an update on their game-changing clinical trial on Duchenne muscular dystrophy, with one of their students also sharing a breakthrough result on Pompe’s disease.

“I expect that this conference will set a foundation towards not only establishing a strong nucleic acid chemical biology research community in Australia, but also introduce the next generation of chemists to the world of research,” Dr Veedu added.

The FNA Perth Conference was sponsored by the Perron Institute (Western Australian Neuroscience Research Institute), the Centre for Comparative Genomics, Murdoch University, Australian Journal of Chemistry, IDT, Scientifix Life, Promega, Genesearch, Geneworks and Row Scientific.