International Conference of Biologists

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Important international conferences of Biologists have been held at the Orthodox Academy of Crete (OAC) both the previous week and the current week, with participants from across the globe.

The title of last week's conference was: "Neural circuits and behaviour of Drosophila": organized by Dr. Barry J. Dickson, who is Group Leader at the Janelia Research Campus in the State of Virginia in the United States of America. The conference involved research on the fruit fly Drosophila, or as we know it here in Crete as "bekris”.

Also from 12 to 18 July, the OAC hosts: "2nd International Insect Hormone Workshop":, organized by Associate Professor Kirst King-Jones, from the University of Alberta, Canada, and Associate Professor Kim Furbo Rewitz, from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. < / p>

In a communication of this conference, there is reference to the importance of insects as the dominant life form on the planet. Insects are not only responsible for damage to agricultural production and they are not just carriers of diseases transferred with their bites. Insects also play a role in the reproduction of plants, in the production of honey, silk, in combating pests, but also in scientific research. It is significant that the study of insects has contributed substantially to enrich our scientific knowledge about the human body. The inner workings of the human cells show striking similarity with those of insects. In the last century research on insects helped in the development of modern medicine and especially in the treatment of cancer, the development of genetics, molecular biology, neuroscience and in recognition of the importance of hormones for communication between cells.

This action of hormones is the focus of the Conference of Dr. King-Jones and Dr. Rewitz and in particular on steroids, juvenile hormones and insulin. Steroids, although known for their illegal use to develop muscles, however for insects, steroids are useful for the development of embryos as adult bodies. Indicatively, in mosquitoes, their population is controlled using methoprene, a juvenile hormone analog which acts as a growth regulator. Methoprene interferes with the insect’s lifecycle and prevents it from reaching maturity or reproducing, which means they will not be able to bite. Moreover, the role of insulin is useful in individuals with diabetes, because of its ability to regulate blood pressure, but its role extends generally to the control of cell growth.

All these multiple achievements are due to the study of insects and thus the particular significance of Conferences is perceived as the above taking place at the OAC, since as world-class scientists have the opportunity to discuss and analyse closely the latest results of their research, so then the entire global community to become recipient of the findings related to biology, insects and hormones, to the benefit of all.

During their stay in Crete attendees had the opportunity to visit archaeological sites and sights of the Prefecture.

Dr. Konstantine V. Zorbas, General Director of the OAC, welcoming the attendees noted, inter alia, that today in this difficult situation of Greece, we need to find the lost values ??that contributed to the cultivation and the consolidation of a wider universal spirit of reconciliation and cooperation, extremely necessary and significant both for Europe and the world. That spirit was particularly important in challenging times, such as after the end of World War II and the rise of the divisive climate of the Cold War between East and West. This is equally important today with the activation of all European citizens.