BLACKSBURG, Va., October 24, 2011 --  VBI held its Annual Meeting for Scientific Advisory Board members to great success on October 19th.  The highlight of this meeting was the keynote for the Bruno Sobral Lectureship series, given by Kary Mullis, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate (1993, Chemistry) and founder of Altermune, LLC.

Mullis spent a cozy hour with his standing-room-only audience discussing his discovery of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which earned him the Nobel Laureate and is now one of the most widespread baseline techniques used for genomic sequencing.  Mullis explained that since he came at the problem from a chemical standpoint, he could see things that many of the molecular biologists missed. 

He noted that he had to tackle the problem step-by-step.  “Much scientific stuff happens by backing into it,” the Nobel Laureate noted.  “There were a lot of things I had to misunderstand before I could invent PCR.  You have to take chances and follow the little things.”

Mullis also advised aspiring scientists to realize that “People won’t necessarily want to follow where you lead.  You sometimes have to blaze your own trail.”  It seems his trailblazing turned out very well indeed. 

For more about Mullis’s talk, please see the Roanoke Times article.

Two awards were also presented at the annual meeting.  The Research Excellence Award was given to Brett Tyler, Ph.D., for all his outstanding work in the field and contributions to VBI’s continued success.  The Mission, Vision, and Values Award—an award given for service above and beyond the call of duty—was given to Megan Frair, whose efforts saw a 49% increase in sample submission to our Laboratory Core since instituting submission boxes in February of this year.

All in all, this year’s meeting was a rousing success.  VBI looks forward to next year’s being just as exciting.

Published by Tiffany Trent, October 24, 2011