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MDI Biological Laboratory hosts statewide science symposium


BAR HARBOR The MDI Biological Laboratory is holding the 48th annual Maine Biological and Medical Sciences Symposium online again this year from April 28-30. 

Students, postdoctoral fellows and scientists alike have registered to attend the symposium—a symposium that offers unique networking opportunities with Maine scientists and the collaborative space to share research and ideas. Participants can engage with online poster and speaker sessions, while students have access to a career panel. Additionally, this year’s online program will include a panel on COVID-related research in Maine. 

The 2021 keynote speaker, Scott V. Edwards, Ph.D., is curator of ornithology, professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, Alexander Agassiz professor of zoology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology and the director of graduate studies at Harvard University. His keynote presentation, “Wings, feathers, flight: the PhyloG2P approach to understanding bird biology,” focuses on understanding the evolutionary biology of birds by studying the relationship between genes and physical characteristics. This mapping technology allows scientists to map genes that code for specific traits. This technology can precisely identify where a particular gene or genetic marker is located for evolutionary traits that are liable to change. 

Edwards elaborates on the possibilities for identifying such genes by examining how feathers arose and by looking at the convergent loss of flight in birds that include ostriches, emusand kiwis. 

This symposium is funded by the Maine INBRE (Idea Network of Biological Research Excellence), a statewide network of biomedical research institutions, universities and colleges led by the MDI Biological Laboratory and sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. ME-INBRE member institutions include Bates, Bowdoin and Colby Colleges, College of the Atlantic, Southern Maine Community College, The Jackson Laboratory, The University of Maine (UMaine), UMaine Honors College, UMaine Farmington, UMaine Machias, UMaine Presque Isle and UMaine Fort Kent and University of New England.  

ME-INBRE works to develop the science-technology-engineering-mathematics (STEM) economy and workforce in Maine by providing high level mentored research experiences and training for undergraduate students, research support and mentoring to exceptional faculty and state-of-the-art infrastructure at ME-INBRE institutions. 

For more information on the symposium, visit 

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