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Symposium is ‘once-in-a-lifetime event’

A roster of top biomedical scientists visits Yale for two days of talks and intellectual exchange, along with a generous helping of good cheer

It was the hottest ticket in town—and you didn’t even need a ticket.

This spring, 15 of the top minds in science converged on New Haven for the School of Medicine’s Bicentennial Symposium, “Biomedicine in the New Century.”

Held on April 28 and 29 and open to the public, the symposium drew capacity crowds, filling the nearly 450 seats of the Mary S. Harkness Auditorium, the medical school’s largest lecture hall, and overflowing to a nearby 150-seat auditorium at the Anlyan Center for Medical Research and Education, where a live broadcast of the sessions was available.

The throng had come to hear the latest thoughts and research updates from a star-studded scientific cast, which included seven Nobel Prize winners, on topics ranging from the neurobiology of memory to the crisis of inequality in health care to the next generation of targeted cancer drugs.

The symposium was a signature event in the celebration of the School of Medicine’s Bicentennial, which has been marked during the 2010–2011 academic year with the publication of Medicine at Yale: The First 200 Years, a richly illustrated book-length history of the school; a documentary film by Emmy Award–winning director Karyl Evans; a performance by the Yale Medical Symphony Orchestra of an original musical composition commissioned for the occasion; and, most recently, the Association of Yale Alumni in Medicine’s June Reunion Weekend, which featured several special Bicentennial-related talks, events, and exhibits.

“This bicentennial symposium was a once-in-a-lifetime event for the School of Medicine,” says Robert J. Alpern, M.D., dean and Ensign Professor of Medicine. “We find ourselves in a great era of advances in biomedical research. When we got together to decide how best to celebrate our anniversary there was uniform agreement that it had to include a scientific symposium featuring a group of scientists of the highest regard.”