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The Kenneth Rainin Foundation Announces 2012 Innovations Symposium - New Insights In Human Evolution and IBD

OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Kenneth Rainin Foundation announced today its inaugural 2012 Innovations Symposium, which will be held on Friday, July 20, 2012 at The Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. This unique first-of-its kind one-day symposium will bring together preeminent investigators in human evolution, genetics, microbiology and the environment to describe and explore how advances in each of these fields can promote out-of-the-box thinking and foster breakthroughs in our understanding of mechanisms of disease and therapy for ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

Using inflammatory bowel disease as a lens, senior leaders in each discipline will discuss their work, with ample time dedicated to audience participation to draw connections across these distinct but related disciplines and set new directions for the future.

Guest speakers include:

Bonnie Bassler, Ph.D. – Princeton University
Anna Di Rienzo, Ph.D. – University of Chicago
Paul Ewald, Ph.D. – University of Louisville
Christopher Kuzawa, Ph.D. – Northwestern University
Stephen Rappaport, Ph.D. – UC Berkeley
Stephen Stearns, Ph.D. – Yale University
About the Symposium

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammatory disease of poorly defined etiology, but tremendous progress has been made over the past decade in elucidating some of the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of IBD.  It is now appreciated that IBD develops, at least in part, as a result of a failure to maintain normal host-microbial interactions and immune homeostasis in the gut.  It is also increasingly clear that in addition to genetic predisposition, many environmental factors can contribute to the development and pathogenesis of IBD, including nutrition, stress, life style and the composition of intestinal microbiota. 

Today we understand that the effect of environmental factors on chronic human diseases is a complex problem that is not restricted to any particular field of biology or medicine.  Making sense of this problem, scientifically and clinically, requires a combined effort of investigators from seemingly disparate fields such as evolutionary biology, physical anthropology, ecology, microbiology and systems biology.  Too often, however, investigators working in these diverse fields are intellectually isolated from the basic scientists and physicians who study and treat IBD, or any other chronic disease for that matter.

The goal of The Kenneth Rainin Foundation Innovators Symposium is to bring together leading authorities in these fields to start developing a scientific dialogue that will expand our horizons, promote the development of new ideas and insights, and foster collaborations to speed innovations in our knowledge and in patient care for IBD and other chronic diseases.  By bringing together noted experts in fields with diverse insights, we believe that this unique Symposium will have a powerful and lasting impact on all participants and the research and patient care in which we are all invested. 


Register online for this inaugural event at Early registration is recommended as seating is limited to 100.


The Symposium will be webcast live on July 20, 2012.


About Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Chronic Inflammatory Diseases

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract.  The main forms of IBD are Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis. Symptoms include pain, bleeding and debilitation. Current therapeutic options for patients are largely limited to the use of anti-inflammatory drugs applied either systemically or locally for the treatment of the symptoms.

Chronic inflammatory diseases are the most common ailments affecting humanity. They are on the rise worldwide and are believed to result from the interplay between genes and environmental stimuli.

About the Foundation

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation ( is a private family foundation that funds inspiring and world-changing work. We are dedicated to supporting effective early childhood literacy programs, enabling inspiration through the arts and creating opportunities for novel approaches and alternative treatment options for those with chronic disease.

The Scientific Advisory Board members are Averil Ma , M.D., Chair of the SAB and Kenneth Rainin Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Director, Colitis and Crohn's Disease Center, UCSF; Ruslan Medzhitov , Ph.D., David W. Wallace Professor of Immunobiology, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University School of Medicine; Dan Littman , M.D., Ph.D., Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Professor of Molecular Immunology and Professor of Pathology and Microbiology, Skirball Institute Program of Molecular Pathogenesis, NYU Langone Medical Center; and Claudio Fiocchi , M.D., The Clifford and Jane Anthony Chair for Digestive Disease Research and Education, Department of Pathobiology, Lerner Research Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

SOURCE The Kenneth Rainin Foundation

CONTACT: CONTACT: Pat Curcio, +1-510-612-5202,

Web Site:


Posted: December 2011