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OAKLAND, Calif., June 12, 2014--(PR Newswire)--

Kenneth Rainin Foundation's 2014 Innovations Symposium to Feature Virus Hunters and Gut Explorers

Cutting Edge Microbiome Research Takes Center Stage in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Treatment

PR Newswire

OAKLAND, Calif., June 12, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Renowned scientific researchers from an array of disciplines will gather in San Francisco this July to share ideas and collaborate on new approaches to Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) research.   The Kenneth Rainin Foundation's 2014 Innovations Symposium: Taming the Microbiome takes place July 15 – 16, 2014, at the Union Square Marriott in San Francisco.

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"The Rainin Foundation created the annual Innovations Symposium to provide an environment where both IBD and non-IBD researchers can come together, share their findings and learn from each other. Our hope was that the conference would inspire collaborative ideas that could further IBD research," said Dr. Averil Ma, Chair of the Rainin Foundation's Scientific Advisory Board. "Each year we select prominent scientists who are conducting cutting-edge research and invite them to apply their findings to possible treatments and cures for IBD."

This year's dynamic keynote speakers each bring a unique perspective on the human microbiome.

  • Michael A. Fischbach, PhD, is a biochemist and human microbiome expert at the University of California at San Francisco. His work is focused on mining gut- and skin- associated bacteria for natural products that play a vital role in human physiology and disease. He is also examining the relationship between gut bacteria and diseases such as Crohn's disease and obesity.
  • Rob Knight, PhD, is a microbial ecologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder and lead scientist for the American Gut Project. Knight wowed his audience at a recent Ted Talk with ideas about fecal transplants and the potential of microbes to affect human behavior.
  • W. Ian Lipkin, MD, is an internationally acclaimed virus hunter and Director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University, an academic laboratory that uses a toolkit of molecular techniques to obtain the genetic fingerprints of microbes.
  • Margaret McFall-Ngai, PhD, is a microbiologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a newly elected member of the National Academy of Science. She is an expert in the biological study of interactions between microbes and their animal hosts.

The Symposium has been expanded to two days to increase opportunities for networking and information exchange. It includes presentations from current Rainin Foundation grantees who have received funding to pursue innovative research projects related to IBD. Another addition to this years' event is the Foundation's new Synergy Award, available exclusively to researchers who attend the Innovations Symposium. This grant will fund a collaborative project up to $300,000 for one year.   

"We are seeking ideas that have the potential to alter how we look at IBD and to shift or break existing scientific paradigms," said Jennifer Rainin, President and Executive Director of the Rainin Foundation. "We know that researchers doing exciting work don't always have the opportunity to look for connections outside their chosen fields. Our annual Symposium and our new Synergy Award attempt to remedy that situation. We hope that they can be the catalyst for innovative approaches that can lead to dramatic changes and bold discoveries in IBD research."

WHEN:  July 15 - 16, 2014

WHERE:  Union Square Marriott, San Francisco, CA


About the Kenneth Rainin Foundation
The Kenneth Rainin Foundation is a private family foundation dedicated to enhancing quality of life by championing and sustaining the arts, promoting early childhood literacy and supporting research to cure chronic disease. The Foundation believes that people trying to effect change need an early champion for their ideas. Like our founder, the Foundation listens to and invests in innovative and collaborative projects, because with our support, real breakthroughs can make life better for us all. More at

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SOURCE The Kenneth Rainin Foundation

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