image of Beewolf Digger Wasp, the theme for the 2012 Spring Research Festival

How Does a Digger Wasp Protect Her Young?

If you don’t know the answer, you should come to the 16th Annual Spring Research Festival on May 9 and 10, where this humble creature takes center stage by representing successful interactions of organisms.

Officially known as Philanthus triangulum, the beewolf digger wasp takes advantage of symbiotic relationships to ensure the survival of its offspring. Female digger wasps grow bacteria on their antennae, which they then smear over the cocoon containing the larva. These bacteria generate a “cocktail” of antibiotic substances that specifically target pathogens that can be deadly to the larvae.

According to David Newman, D.Phil., chief, Natural Products Branch, Developmental Therapeutics Program, such interactions in nature can be “‘mined’ for useful leads to treatment of human diseases.”

New Location for the Festival

Registration Still Open

There’s still time to register as a poster presenter or exhibitor at the 16th annual Spring Research Festival on May 9 and 10.

Posters registered by April 25 will receive a listing in the Spring Research Festival program, and will qualify for judging. Late registration for posters is May 2.

All exhibitors must register by April 25.

Check the website for details: http://springfest.ncifcrf.gov.

The festival, sponsored by the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research and Fort Detrick, will be held at a new location, on Porter Street behind the gymnasium.

Open to the scientific and local communities, this annual event is designed to demonstrate “the nature of our research, the discoveries we have made, and the challenges we face in the fight against cancer, AIDS and other infectious diseases worldwide,” according to the website.

Symposium and Talks Scheduled for Festival Week

Festival week kicks off on May 7, with a postdoctoral/post-baccalaureate symposium on Animal and Plant Models of Disease. The keynote address, entitled Modeling Cancer Metastasis: From Molecular Insight to Translational Applications, will be presented by Yibin Kang, Ph.D., Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ.

Awards given for the best presentation include a travel subsidy as well as a certificate of achievement.

In addition, for the first time, a series of talks will be presented on May 8 that highlight collaborative projects with the agencies of the National Interagency Confederation for Biological Research: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Department of Homeland Security; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Naval Medical Research Center; U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Festival Events: May 9 and 10

Posters will be displayed on May 9 and 10, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. each day. Presenters will be available between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to meet and discuss their research with judges, colleagues, and special guests.

In addition to the poster presentations, the Commercial Science and Technology Expo will be held from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. each day. The Expo provides an opportunity for hands-on demonstrations of the latest in equipment, services, and technology presented by major national and regional vendors from the biomedical research/biotech industries.

The festival also includes the Health Education and Community Services Exhibition, which features displays from a broad range of national and local health-related organizations as well as safety and scientific exhibits. Information will be available on relevant health topics such as cancer, AIDS, aging, drug and alcohol concerns, mental health issues, fitness, holistic health care, and more.

For a complete schedule and information on events, visit the website: http://springfest.ncifcrf.gov. Or contact Julie Hartman, 301-846-7338, or hartmanj@mail.nih.gov.