The Arizona RNA Salon was established in 2016 as a venue for scientists and students around the state of Arizona to share, provide feedback and learn about basic and translational research focused on RNA biology. The Salon currently consists of 14 laboratories spread across three university campuses and two private research institutes. These include the University of Arizona in Tucson, the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix, Arizona State University in Tempe, Banner Neurological Institute and Translational Genomics Institute. Collectively, the salon encompasses nearly 75 individuals, including undergraduates, graduates, post-docs, lab staff and principal investigators. Member laboratories focus on diverse areas of RNA biology and use a variety of model systems including A. thaliana, S. cerevisiae, D. melanogaster, C. elegans, RNA viruses, human cells, tissues and iPSCs to achieve their research goals.
To ensure that salon members have frequent opportunities to interact, discuss science, develop scientific relationships and pursue collaborative opportunities regular meetings and an annual symposium are held each year. Regular meetings occur every 6 weeks during which two labs present on their current research efforts. Meetings are video conferenced between the Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson locations allowing for two-way participation by all members, even those at distant sites. As a capstone to the regular meetings, an annual one day in-person symposium is held that consists of short oral presentations and a poster session. The symposium allows for face-to-face interaction between all salon participants and alternates between Tucson and Phoenix locations.
Regular meetings and symposia provide excellent opportunities for Salon members to develop collaborative research projects and have already contributed to one high profile publication (Liu et al., 2017, Nature Communications 8:2092) along with planned grant submissions. Arizona RNA Salon activities are also an ideal venue for students and post-docs to showcase their work, develop presentation skills, receive constructive feedback and network with established investigators. To provide additional networking opportunities along with administrative experiences the AZ RNA Salon also incorporates student and post-doctoral representatives on the organizing committee. Through these efforts the Arizona RNA Salon hopes to achieve its goals of introducing and attracting new junior scientists to the field of RNA research and providing them with the technical and career development opportunities needed to succeed and serve as enthusiastic supporters of RNA research in the state, across the nation and around the world.