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"Diaspora in Scientific Research and Higher Education in Romania - Diaspora and its friends" Conference

Keeping the tradition of organizing the conference of the Romanian scientific diaspora, the Executive Unit for the Financing of Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation (UEFISCDI), together with the West University of Timișoara (UVT), in partnership with the Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research, organized the fourth edition of the conference "Diaspora în Cercetarea Ştiinţifică şi Învăţământul Superior din România – Diaspora şi prietenii săi"(Diaspora in Scientific Research and Higher Education in Romania - Diaspora and its friends). The conference took place between April 25 and 28, 2016, enjoying the High Patronage of the President of Romania.

This edition of the Diaspora Conference marked a first, in the sense that the university center in Timișoara, under the coordination of the Western University of Timișoara, hosted all the proceedings of the conference (plenary sessions and exploratory workshops, both in opening areas where there is potential and Romanian expertise , as well as on topics of interest related to innovation and competitiveness of Romania). 

Perspectives in personalized medicine – from concept to clinical applications, one of the workshops within the conference, was organized and held at the Center for Gene and Cell Therapies in Cancer Treatment - OncoGen. The coordinators of the event were: Prof. Dr. Virgil Paunescu and Prof. Dr. Carmen Panaitescu from the "Victor Babeş" University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Timisoara and Prof. Dr. Tudor Ionel Oprea from UNM School of Medicine, Albuquerque NM, USA.

The transition to the new era of biomedical research allowed the implementation of the results obtained in advanced fields such as genomics, proteomics, complex immunological studies, so as to facilitate the deciphering of the complex mechanisms of some diseases and to open new clinical and therapeutic directions. In recent years, we have witnessed a paradigm shift in medicine, represented by the transition from traditional medicine based on the "one size fits for all" principle to personalized medicine or precision medicine, an innovative approach to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, which takes taking into account the existing differences between individuals both from a genetic point of view and epigenetic factors, whose influence is increasingly significant. The workshop aimed to represent a space for the exchange of ideas between recognized professionals from the country and the diaspora and young researchers, and to prepare the ground for future collaborations, with the final objective of developing personalized therapy strategies, applicable in cancer, regenerative medicine, but also in other types of ailments, as well as the development of joint projects in order to attract European and international funding.

The scientific diaspora was represented by researchers from prestigious international institutions: Prof. Dr. Ștefan Constantinescu (Université Catholique de Louvain, de Duve Institute, Ludwig Cancer Research Brussels, Belgium), Prof. Dr. Daniel Funeriu (Université Strasbourg, France), Dr. Felicia Ciuculescu (Harvard Medical School, Boston Children's Hospital, USA), Dr. Ioana-Raluca Siska (DG Health and Food Safety, Brussels, Belgium).

During the two days of the event, current topics in cutting-edge medical research were addressed, with the participants presenting the results obtained through the prism of new concepts of precision medicine. The debate with the title "Priorities and vision for biomedical research in Romania" aroused the interest of all participants and raised intense discussions regarding the opportunities and future projects in the field.