Oct. 6–9, 2021 | Virtual

Emerging Roles of the Nucleolus

This unique meeting will bring together scientists who focus on nucleolar structure and function, but with diverse research perspectives and approaches, to facilitate a wide-ranging discussion and an in-depth exploration of the subject from many angles. The topics addressed will range in scope from basic biology to human disease, from the biophysical properties of this organelle, to cancer prognosis and treatments, and reproduction.

The realization that nucleolar morphology changes over development and in disease has long been appreciated. T.H. Montgomery (1898) recognized the myriad morphologies in different cell types while Barbara McClintock (1934) realized that the nucleolus arises at a distinct cytogenetic locus, which she named the nucleolar organizer. The 1960s brought the realization that nucleoli represent the site of ribosome biogenesis, arguably the most energetically demanding process in a cell. Subsequently the nucleolus has been identified as a major hub for noncoding RNAs and processes in addition to ribosome biogenesis.

However, this fascinating organelle is only beginning to be understood at a molecular level. With emerging new technology in imaging, biophysics, gene editing, genomics and proteomics, our appreciation of the roles of the nucleolus in health and disease are rapidly changing. This meeting will provide a forum for sharing new ideas on the topic.

About the program

The meeting will be organized into six sessions over the course of four days. Session topics are listed below. Each session will be chaired by leaders in the field who will present their current work and select additional abstracts from submissions for presentations. Presentations will be 15 minutes with 5 minutes of discussion. Each session will conclude with a moderator-led general discussion of the topic. An open interactive bulletin board will be available throughout the meeting for posting to and the meeting will conclude with an open discussion regarding emerging themes. We aim to have 50% of talks from early career scientists. There will be poster/flash talk sessions.

At the 2019 meeting, the attendees defined areas for future development and progress — 2021 will see an exciting delivery on one of these areas! The opening session will include two 25 minute talks from Dr. Craig Pikaard, HHMI and Indiana University, and Dr. Adam Phillippy, NHGRI, who will present the latest assemblies of nucleolar organizer regions in A. thaliana and H. sapiens, respectively. This will be followed by a Q&A to discuss their exciting findings and future implications for the field.

  1. Opening session: Assembly of nucleolar organizer regions
  2. Chromosome biology and nucleolar organizer region function
  3. Nucleolar RNAs
  4. The nucleolus in development and disease
  5. Nucleolar trafficking and intracellular communication
  6. Nucleolar processes and phase separation


Jennifer Gerton
Jennifer Gerton
Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Francesca E. Duncan
Francesca E. Duncan
Northwestern University
Craig Pikaard
Craig Pikaard
Indiana University