RNA Frontier Meeting 2018 Participation Report

Fabian Hia (Kyoto University)

The RNA Frontier Meeting is an annual academic meeting aimed at fostering and nurturing young talented researchers though close academic exchanges. This year’s meeting was held in Hakone (Kanagawa prefecture), a popular destination among Japanese and international tourists, renowned for its hot springs and scenic landscape. The meeting consisted of a 3 day 2 night program held from the 19th to 21st of September 2018.

An Academic Meeting of Diverse yet Engaging Research Topics

The RNA Frontier Meeting was a seminar style-driven meeting with a focus on developing the academic skills of young researchers as well as fostering interactions and exchanges between the participants. As such, the tone of the meeting was a positive yet relaxed one. While the participants were young researchers, the quality of the academic research that was presented was far from elementary. The presentation topics were diverse, ranging from long non-coding RNA to RNA degradation mechanisms among others with the presentations central to the theme of RNA biology.

Being a relatively modest-sized meeting compared to international conferences, participation was greatly encouraged, dropping the formal atmosphere for a relaxed one. Exchanges were spontaneous, discussions were engaging and questions were unrestrained. The guest speaker, Professor Hiroaki Suga shared his experience and opinions about innovation in research, delivering an intriguing presentation about how his research led to various cross-disciplinary applications.

The sessions were rightly timed, allowing for some breather among the presentations. The second day while slightly hampered by the rain, allowed for some time to explore Hakone and its surrounding scenery.

Unwinding at the Hot Springs and the Party Thereafter

A whole day of engaging presentations and discussions culminating in a well-deserved dip in undoubtedly one of the best hot springs in Japan; Hakone’s hot springs were exceptionally excellent. Like most hot spring hotels, the hotel which we resided at, Hotel Okada, had both indoor and outdoor baths in addition to an outdoor foot bath. The dinner menu for the two nights was extravagant as well. Overlooking the lush greenery of the Hakone mountainside, this year’s meeting was undeniably a delightful and refreshing one. To end the day, the organizers prepared a social event to allow the participants to mingle among each other. The lively atmosphere along with a few cups of warm sake, encouraged spirited discussions among the participants.

The Best Presentation Award (MBL Award)

As engaging as the presentations were, there were three best presentation awards that were awarded. Among the highly quality presentations that were presented at the meeting, the ones which were ranked as the top three, as voted by the judges, were awarded the MBL award. The prizes were Amazon gift vouchers of several denominations. I am humbled to be one of the recipients of the award. To my fellow prize recipients whom will also be sharing their thoughts about the meeting, I would like to congratulate for their hard work and diligence. My congratulations also extend to the talented young researchers for their outstanding presentations.

RNA Frontier Meeting – Encouraging Academic Exchanges and Fostering Friendships

In all, the RNA Frontier Meeting 2018 was a fruitful one. The meeting brings together like-minded young researchers, encouraging the sharing of ideas without restraint and promoting discussion among participants.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Professor Yoshiho Ikeuchi and Professor Shintaro Iwasaki as well as the student staff members for organizing the meeting. I would also like to thank the companies which sponsored the event as well as MBL for the best presentation awards. Last but not least, I would like to thank the participants for an enjoyable and memorable meeting.

I am most certainly looking forward to RNA Frontier Meeting 2019.

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