• Hot Topics

    In addition to the meetings held by the Academy Discussion Groups, the Frontiers of Science program hosts events on hot topics that merit exploratory symposia or workshops to keep the scientific community and other stakeholders abreast of key areas in the sciences. Hot Topics symposia are held in all focus areas of the Academy: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering and Green Science & Sustainability.

    If you want to partner with the New York Academy of Sciences for a Hot Topic event, contact:

    Sonya Dougal, PhD

    Director, Life Sciences Discussion Groups

    Brooke Grindlinger, PhD

    Executive Director, Scientific Programs

  • Past Events

    Monday, May 16, 2016 | 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Exposing Vulnerabilities in Cancer Metabolism: New Discoveries

    Speakers: Kivanc Birsoy (The Rockefeller University), David A. Foster (Hunter College of the City University of New York), Steven S. Gross (Weill Cornell Medical College), Marcia Haigis (Harvard Medical School), Kayvan R. Keshari (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center), Brendan D. Manning (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), Joshua Rabinowitz (Princeton University), David M. Sabatini (Whitehead Institute), and Eileen White (Rutgers University)

    This symposium will highlight insights into tumor metabolism from leaders in the field and explore how this information is being used to design safe and effective, metabolism-targeted therapies.

    Thursday, May 28, 2015 | 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM

    Cancer Cell Metabolism: Unique Features Inform New Therapeutic Opportunities

    Keynote Speaker: Craig B. Thompson (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center)
    Speakers: John Blenis (Weill Cornell Medical College ), Selina Chen-Kiang (Weill Cornell Medical College), Lydia Finley (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center), Alec Kimmelman (Harvard Medical School), Christian Metallo (University of California, San Diego ), Elena Piskounova (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center ), Sohail Tavazoie (The Rockefeller University), Matthew G. Vander Heiden (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

    This symposium will highlight insights into tumor metabolism from leaders in the field and explore how this information is being used to design safe and effective, metabolism-targeted therapies.

    Thursday, April 10, 2014 | 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

    Mitochondria, Metabolism and Disease

    Speakers: Robert Balaban (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH), Robert Bao (Massachusetts General Hospital), Salvatore DiMauro (Columbia University Medical Center), Steven Gross (Weill Cornell Medical College), Costas A. Lyssiotis (Weill Cornell Medical College), Jared Rutter (University of Utah School of Medicine), Hazel H. Szeto (Weill Cornell Medical College), Benjamin P. Tu (UT Southwestern Medical Center)

    Damage to mitochondria, which are critical in metabolism, underlies a wide range of human diseases, making them an important therapeutic target. Researchers aim to characterize and cure diseases arising from aberrant mitochondrial metabolism.

    Monday, November 4, 2013 | 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

    Venomics: Drug Discovery from Nature's Deadliest

    Speakers: Anirban Banerjee (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH), Carole A. Bewley (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH), Pierre Escoubas (VenomeTech), Bryan Fry (The University of Queensland, Australia), Mandë Holford (Hunter College, CUNY / American Museum of Natural History), Inés Ibañez-Tallon (The Rockefeller University), Baldomero M. Olivera (University of Utah), Mark E. Siddall (American Museum of Natural History), Beatrix Ueberheide (NYU Langone Medical Center)
    Panelists: Yvonne M. Angell (Ipsen), Les P. Miranda (Amgen), Hazel H. Szeto (Stealth Peptides Inc.)

    Spiders, snakes, scorpions, sea snails and leeches produce over 10 million compounds offering great potential for venom-based drug discovery. This symposium investigates genomic, proteomic, and transcriptomic approaches to harness venom compounds.

    Monday, October 28, 2013 | 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Clinical Trials of Dendritic Cell Therapies for Cancer: Biotech's Bumpy Road to the Market

    Speakers: Richard L. Edelson (Yale School of Medicine), Edgar G. Engleman (Stanford University School of Medicine), Thomas Felzmann (Activartis Biotech GmbH, Austria), Lana E. Kandalaft (University of Pennsylvania), Matthew Lehman (Prima Biomed, Australia), Gregory Lizee (MD Anderson Cancer Center), Charles A. Nicolette (Argos Therapeutics Inc.), Sarah J. Schlesinger (The Rockefeller University), Adam Steinman, Kris Thielemans (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium), James B. Trager (Dendreon Corporation), John S. Yu (Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Immunocellular Therapeutics, Ltd.)

    Dendritic cells offer promise in the development of cancer vaccines. Despite recent approval of Provenge, this therapeutic approach has not been fully realized. This symposium highlights recent clinical trial results and remaining challenges.

    June 19 - 20, 2013

    Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy

    Conference Planning Committee: Claudio Carini (Pfizer Inc.), Teresa Compton (Biogen Idec (Conference Chair)), Marion Kasaian (Pfizer Inc.), Theodora Salcedo (Bristol-Myers Squibb Company), Anne Vogt (F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd)
    Scientific Advisory Board: Leonard Calabrese (Cleveland Clinic), Paola Cinque (Hospital San Raffaele), David Clifford (Washington University School of Medicine), Robert Garcea (University of Colorado at Boulder), Eugene Major (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke), Kenneth Tyler (University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus), Thomas Weber (University of Hamburg)

    New basic science and clinical findings relevant to the pathogenesis, mitigation, cure, and risk stratification of Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy will support a discussion of current challenges and future directions for PML treatment.

    Thursday, March 21, 2013 | 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

    The Limits of the Planet: A Debate

    Moderator: David Biello (Scientific American)
    Speakers: Erle C. Ellis (University of Maryland), Bob Howarth (Cornell University ), Victor Galaz (Stockholm University), Diana Liverman (University of Arizona ), Linus Blomqvist (The Breakthrough Institute)
    Organizers: Robert Lalasz (The Nature Conservancy), Michel Wahome (The New York Academy of Sciences)

    Leading scientific figures debate whether the best path to sustainability is by stressing limits or innovation.

    Thursday, February 28, 2013 | 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

    From Where Will The Water of the Future Come?

    Panelists: Adam Freed (Nature Conservancy), Brooke Barton (Ceres), Peter Gleick (Pacific Institute), Upmanu Lall (Columbia University), Brian Richter (The Nature Conservancy)
    Moderator: Fred Pearce
    Organizers: Robert Lalasz (The Nature Conservancy), Michel Wahome (The New York Academy of Sciences)

    Experts on water and climate, cities, food security, the role of corporations, and ecosystems discuss the most promising ways to address water security.

    Friday, February 1, 2013 | 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

    Metabolic Determinants of Stem Cell Pluripotency and Cell Fate Commitments

    Keynote Speakers: Peter Carmeliet (Vesalius Research Center, Belgium) and Lewis C. Cantley (Weill Cornell Medical College)
    Speakers: Shuibing Chen (Weill Cornell Medical College), Ubaldo Martinez-Outschoorn (Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University), Andre Terzic (Mayo Clinic)

    Fate and function determine stem cells' metabolic needs. Does fate dictate metabolic activity or do metabolic switches trigger a commitment to cell fate? We present the latest on stem cell metabolism vs. lineage commitment, and future therapies.

    Thursday, January 24, 2013 | 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

    Adapting Cities to Climate Change in a Post-Sandy World

    Panelists: Klaus Jacob (Columbia University), Radley Horton (Columbia University), Nicole Maher (The Nature Conservancy), Rob McDonald (The Nature Conservancy), James S. Russell (Bloomberg News),
    Moderator: Andy Revkin (The New York Times)
    Organizers: Robert Lalasz (The Nature Conservancy), Michel Wahome (The New York Academy of Sciences)

    The effects of climate change have the potential to dramatically alter urban life in ways we are yet to consider. How do we go about making plans for these outcomes.

    Friday, December 14, 2012 | 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

    Novel Therapeutic Targets in Myocardial Infarction

    Organizers: Mercedes Beyna (Pfizer Global R&D), Mark Kaplan (Pfizer Global R&D), Laurent Yvan-Charvet (Pfizer Global R&D), Jennifer Henry (The New York Academy of Sciences)
    Speakers: Paddy Barrett (Scripps Translational Science Institute), Buddhadeb Dawn (University of Kansas Medical Center), Zahi A. Fayad (Mount Sinai School of Medicine), Barbara Hempstead (Weill Cornell Medical College), Elizabeth McNally (The University of Chicago Medicine), Sharon Sokolowski (Pfizer Global R&D), Filip Swirski (Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School), Edward Thorp (Northwestern University)

    Although current treatments following myocardial infarction mitigate cardiac damage, we need effective ways to minimize subsequent cardiac remodeling. This symposium discusses prevention of microvascular damage and improved tissue regeneration.

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012 | 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

    Black Holes and Astrobiology

    Speaker: Caleb Scharf (Columbia University)

    Join us for a night of singularities and extraterrestrials as Dr. Caleb Scharf, Director of Astrobiology at Columbia University, describes the latest science behind black holes and an update on the search for life on other planets.

    July 18 - 19, 2012

    Seventh Annual New Energy Symposium

    The 2012 New Energy Symposium will convene multi-sector stakeholders to showcase the latest technology in clean energy and discuss hot topics in the field.

    Tuesday, May 8, 2012 | 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

    Beyond Ideology: How Should We Feed Ourselves if We Care About Nature?

    Moderator: Bryan Walsh (Time Magazine). Speakers: David Cleary (The Nature Conservancy), Jon Foley (University of Minnesota), Doug Gurian-Sherman (Union of Concerned Scientists), Phil Levin (NOAA) and Eleanor Sterling (American Museum of Natural History).

    Faced with ever-increasing population and ever-decreasing food systems, five scientists discuss the challenges and potential solutions that could feed the people and protect nature. The fourth installment of our four-part series Discourses on Nature and Society.

    Monday, April 16, 2012 | 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

    Nature and the City: What Good is Urban Conservation?

    Moderator: Bill Ulfelder(The Nature Conservancy. Speakers: Jon Christensen (Stanford University), Rob McDonald (The Nature Conservancy), Phil Stevens (Urban Creeks Council), Marielle Anzelone (NYC Wildflower Week) and Susannah Drake (dlandstudio llc)

    There's a new energy across the United States about recapturing nature in cities, but can these efforts rebuild biodiversity? Leading scientists, authors, and urban conservationists discuss the science behind and promise for today’s urban conservation efforts. The third installment of our four-part series Discourses on Nature and Society.

    Monday, April 16, 2012 | 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Application of Combined 'omics Platforms to Accelerate Biomedical Discovery in Diabesity

    Organizers: Steven Gross (Weill Cornell Medical College), Irwin Kurland (Albert Einstein College of Medicine), Jennifer Henry (The New York Academy of Sciences)

    The explosive rise in obesity and diabetes (diabesity) threatens the health of many in Western and developing Asian countries. This symposium focuses on the discovery potential of metabolomics and other 'omics to elucidate the causes and effects.

    Friday, March 30, 2012 | 8:45 AM - 6:00 PM

    Chemical Engineering Approaches to Challenges in Energy and Biomedicine

    Keynote Speakers: Amos Avidan (Bechtel), Mauricio Futran (Rutgers University), Eric Toone (U.S. Department of Energy)

    The field of chemical engineering—poised at the interface of chemistry, engineering, and biomedicine—is well positioned to solve global challenges. This symposium will review the role of chemical engineering in energy and healthcare research.

    Thursday, February 23, 2012 | 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

    Creating the Next Conservation Movement — Or Do We Even Need One?

    Speakers: Ted Nordhaus (Breakthrough Institute), Sanjayan (The Nature Conservancy), Michael Shellenberger (Breakthrough Institute), and Gernot Wagner (Environmental Defense Fund)

    How can we build a new U.S. conservation and environmental movement to meet the challenges of the new century...or is the desire to mainstream environmentalism just a symptom of the problem? The second installment of our four-part series Discourses on Nature and Society.

    Friday, February 3, 2012 | 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM

    Cancer Metabolomics: Elucidating the Biochemical Programs that Support Cancer Initiation and Progression

    Organizers: Steven S. Gross (Weill Cornell Medical College ), Jennifer Henry (The New York Academy of Sciences)
    Keynote Speakers: Lewis C. Cantley (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center & Harvard Medical School); Craig Thompson (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center)
    Speakers: Marcia C. Haigis (Harvard Medical School), Steven M. Lipkin (Weill Cornell Medical College), Joshua D. Rabinowitz (Princeton University), Gary Siuzdak (Scripps Research Institute), Eileen White (Rutgers University)
    Panelist: Steven Fischer (Agilent Technologies)

    While cancer cells show distinct features, a complete metabolome picture is elusive. This symposium reveals strategies for metabolite profiling to distinguish cancer cells, signaling cascades that drive selective pathways, and novel chemotherapies.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012 | 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

    Energy for the Next 20 Years: Protecting the Environment and Meeting Our Demands

    Moderator: David Roberts (
    Speakers: Stewart Brand (Long Now Foundation), Joe Fargione (The Nature Conservancy), Jesse Jenkins (Breakthrough Institute), Arne Jungjohann (Heinrich Boell Institute) and Jeff Opperman (The Nature Conservancy)

    How can Earth possibly meet its growing energy demands without destroying the environment? Experts on wind, nuclear, hydropower and other energy forms debate the most promising paths forward. The first installment of our four-part series Discourses on Nature and Society.

    Friday, December 16, 2011 | 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

    Patient-Specific Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells for the Study of Neurological Diseases

    Speakers: Sergiu P. Pasca (Stanford University School of Medicine), Ole Isacson (McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School), Marc Lalande (University of Connecticut Health Center), Hongjun Song (Johns Hopkins University), Lorenz Studer (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center)

    Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) offer a rare opportunity to study viable neurons potentially representative of the disease state. This symposium examines the generation of patient specific iPSCs, technical challenges and patient consent.

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011 | 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

    Chronic Kidney Disease: Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in Pathogenesis and Clinical Course

    Speakers: Jonathan N. Barasch (Columbia University Medical Center), Colin Meyer (Reata Pharmaceuticals, Inc.), Nick Vaziri (University of California, Irvine), David Warnock (University of Alabama at Birmingham)

    Diabetes mellitus and hypertension are thought to cause chronic kidney disease (CKD), and some link CKD with chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. This symposium presents results from trials with a drug that modulates inflammatory pathways.

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011 | 12:30 PM - 4:30 PM

    Advances in Adult Stem Cell Therapy in Tissue Repair for Cardiovascular Diseases

    Speakers: Ronnda Bartel (Aastrom Biosciences, Inc.), Arnold Caplan (Case Western Reserve University), Louis Messina (UMass Memorial Medical Center), Iraklis Pipinos (University of Nebraska Medical Center), and Sharon Watling (Aastrom Biosciences, Inc.)

    Bone marrow-derived stem cells have been used to treat chronic cardiovascular disease, with promising clinical trial results. This symposium reviews recent advances in the field, from compelling preclinical data to mid-stage clinical trial results.

    Friday, June 17, 2011 | 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

    Imaging, Visualization and Simulation: New Tools for Technology and Healthcare

    Keynote Speaker: David E. Shaw (D.E. Shaw Research)

    Massive data sets are generated in technical, financial, medical and social arenas. The 2011 Technology Forum will feature cutting edge concepts and tools for data processing, integration, analysis and simulation that span diverse applications.

    Thursday, June 16, 2011 | 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

    Enhancing Antibody Efficacy by Innovative Protein Engineering Strategies

    Speakers: Patrick Baeuerle (Micromet, Inc.), Dennis Benjamin (Seattle Genetics, Inc.), Steven Olsen (Genentech, Inc) and Jeffrey V. Ravetch (The Rockefeller University)

    Monoclonal antibodies have revolutionized medical care, leading to drugs to treat cancer and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. This symposium provides an insight into the design and manufacture of structurally-modified monoclonal antibodies.

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011 | 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

    Climate Change, Science and Society: A Multidisciplinary Discussion

    Speakers: David Rind (NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies), Steve Rose (Electric Power Research Institute), and Lauren Chambliss (Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station)

    This special event will explore the topic of climate change from diverse disciplinary perspectives.

    Friday, February 11, 2011 | 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Global Metabolite Profiling: The Fast-Track for Functional Genomics

    Speakers: Oliver Fiehn (University of California, Davis), F. Peter Guengerich (Vanderbilt University School of Medicine), Alan Saghatelian (Harvard University), Gary Siuzdak (The Scripps Research Institute, California), and Nicola Zambone (Institute of Molecular Systems Biology, ETH Zurich)

    This meeting focuses on emerging strategies for global metabolite profiling and how these technologies are being applied to the field of “functional genomics” – the ultimate goal being discovery of the functions of all gene products.

    Friday, November 19, 2010 | 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

    Lights, Cells, Action! Tracking Digital Embryos and Dynamic Phenotypes

    Speakers: Benjamin Haley (Genentech), Philipp Keller (Howard Hughes Medical Institute), Ihor Lemischka (Mount Sinai School of Medicine), Hang Lu (Georgia Institute of Technology) and Stanislav Shvartsman (Princeton University)

    How do movies of cells and embryos help us understand stem cell states and fate? Cutting-edge technology in high-throughout screens and microfluidics devices provides systems-level information to aid research in translational and clinical contexts.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010 | 1:00 PM - 5:45 PM

    The Metabolome: A Window on Cell Physiology and Portal to Understanding Complex Biological Systems, Diseases and Therapies

    Organizers: Steven Gross (Weill Cornell Medical College) and Kyu Rhee (Weill Cornell Medical College)

    This symposium will review recent technical and conceptual advances that highlight the unique, but largely unrecognized, potential of the metabolomics arm of systems biology.