The 2003 Virginia Biotechnology Summit will be held Oct. 13 to 15 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA double helix. The seventh annual event, with Virginia Tech as its platinum sponsor, was organized by the Virginia Biotechnology Association and Tech's Continuing and Professional Education and will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Tyson's Corner.

Corporate, government and scientific leaders from across the Mid-Atlantic region will participate in the conference, which is the largest industry-sponsored state bioscience event in the national capital region.

Participants will be able to attend sessions that address issues in the headlines, such as biodefense and homeland security, bioethics, the critical shortage of venture capital, bioinformatics, medical devices and nanotechnology.

The Honorable Dale E. Klein, assistant to the secretary of defense for nuclear and chemical and biological defense programs will deliver the keynote address on the nation's biodefense initiatives in the post-September 11th world. Dr. Eric Jakobsson, the newly appointed director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the National Institutes of Health will deliver an address discussing the need to deploy a national computing grid for biomedical software that is universally accessible, easy to use, efficient and robust.

The Virginia Biotechnology Association will honor Novozymes Biologicals, a leader in applied microbiology providing natural solutions to consumer, institutional and industrial applications, as the 2003 Virginia Biotechnology Company of the Year. The company produces microbial-based products that address household, industrial and agricultural problems with environmentally safe technology. Applications include odor control, drain line and septic tank maintenance, grease removal, carpet cleaning and wastewater treatment. Under the "Roots" trademark, Novozymes Biologicals also markets products for use on turf grass and ornamental plants, including a patent-pending EPA-approved biofungicide that reduces dependency on chemical pesticides.

Further information about this year's summit is available by contacting Beth Schroder in continuing and professional education at 231-3144 or by e-mail at eschrode@vt.edu.