The Riboclub and the Gairdner Foundation present

RNA: 20 Years of Discoveries

A public Session on the Science behind the RNA

September 23, 9h00 to 12h00

Hôtel Chéribourg, Orford, Québec, Canada


The RiboClub in association with the Gairdner Foundation and the Université de Sherbrooke  celebrate 20 years of RNA research in Canada by a public session aimed at communicating and explaining the latest discoveries in RNA research and the impact on the society and population health. Registration to this unique event is free (deadline September 5th):

Public Session Registration

During the public session, Dr. Benoit Chabot will present the key discoveries of the Sherbrooke RiboClub during the last 20 years. Furthermore, the session will feature a presentation by Dr. Janet Rossant, Scientific Director of the Gairdner Foundation, who will highlight the discovery and impact of award-winning research in RNA biology. Also presenting will be Dr. Mona Nemer, Chief Science Advisor of the government of Canada and Dr. M. Strong, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

To highlight the event, selected directors (see below) of biotech companies developing RNA-based therapeutics will present discoveries that may shape the future of genome editing and potential treatments for spinal muscular atrophy and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The talks will be animated by lead scientists and will be followed by a panel discussion to allow members of the media and public to ask questions.

Talk by Professor Erik SontheimerThe RNA Therapeutic Institute, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Founder of Intellia Therapeutics Inc., will speak about genome editing and how the manipulation of genomes may benefit the development of therapeutics. He will answer questions about the challenges and ethics of applications of this technology.



Professor Allan Jacobson, Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Physiological Systems and Member, RNA Therapeutics Institute and Li Weibo Institute for Rare Diseases Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School; Co-Founder of Applied bioTechnology Inc. and Co-Founder,  Director, and SAB Chair of PTC Therapeutics Inc. Using PTC’s development of Translarna as a treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy as an example, he will focus on how to translate basic research into therapy for genetic disorders. He will answer questions about the processes of discovery and the path to commercialization.


Professor Adrian Krainer, St Giles Foundation Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Laureate of Life Sciences Breakthrough Prize 2019, Founder and Director of Stoke Therapeutics Inc., Inventor of Spinraza, the first approved drug for spinal muscular atrophy, will describe latest discoveries of RNA splicing-based drugs and their applications in the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy, the leading genetic disease of children and infants.



The panel discussion will be led by Professor Katherine Borden, Canada Research Chair, Professor of Pathology and Cell biology, Université de Montréal. She will stimulate public discussion and moderate the discussion on the importance of RNA biology in basic science and health-relevant applications. She will use her experience as leader of the first clinical trials to target the RNA binding protein eukaryotic translation initiation factor as therapy for leukaemia to outline the utility of RNA biology as a tool for drug repurposing and the importance of fundamental research to clinical application.


Beverages and light snacks will be offered during the break.