BOSTON, MA – A panel discussion titled “Promoting the Interactions between bioscientists in Greece and USA” that was organized by the Hellenic Bioscientific Association (HBA-USA), the General Consulate of Greece in Boston and the Circle of the Hellenic Academics in Boston, took place in the building of the General Consulate. Dr. Gregory Stephanopoulos (Professor, MIT), Dr. Vassilis Zannis (Professor, Boston University Medical School and University of Crete Medical School), Dr. Stelios Papadopoulos (Co-founder and Chairman, Foundation Sante) and Dr. Konstantinos Drosatos (Professor, Temple University and Past president & member of the advisory board of World Hellenic Biomedical Association (WHBA) were invited as panelists.
A diverse audience including Greek academics, medical doctors, researchers from the Boston area biotech industry, universities and medical hospitals, and graduate students attended this event.
The welcome speech was delivered by Ifigenia Kanara, Consul General of Greece in Boston, who highlighted the interest in supporting the efforts of Greek bioscientists to organize scientific events and the importance of organizations joining forces and collaborating. Dr. Ioannis Zervantonakis (Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School), the president of HBA-USA, presented the agenda of the panel discussion and provided a short overview of the programs that HBA-USA has initiated to enhance interactions between Greek and Greek-American Bioscientists in the United States and Greece. Dr. Georgakis (Professor, Tufts University), the president of the Circle of the Hellenic Academics in Boston, delivered welcome remarks and described the mission of this association and the upcoming cultural and scientific events. The first short presentation of the panel discussion was given by Dr. Stephanopoulos, who discussed ideas on connecting Greek universities with biotech companies, and critically highlighted the need for innovation and excellence to be competitive on a global scale. The next presentation by Dr. Zannis described the Boston University Medical School – University of Crete Medical School student exchange program, the novel MD-PhD program in the University of Crete, and the importance of engaging U.S.-based scientists to contribute to promoting excellence in education and research in Greece.
Dr. Papadopoulos gave an overview of the different programs Foundation Sante has initiated to fund promising bioscientists in Greece, described the associated challenges and presented the successful grant-awarding program, including a scientific review board consisting of Nobel laureates. Dr. Drosatos introduced the mission of WHBA and described past events aimed at educating and providing opportunities for the next generation of Greek researchers to pursue excellence in research.
During the last part of the event, the discussion topics included the impressive capacity of Greeks to excel in a fertile environment, meritocracy in the Greek university, the importance of considering the cost structure of education in Greece and the role of continuous evaluation of the research and educational output of the Greek institutions. The discussion ended with a positive outlook, emphasizing the value of individual and collective contributions by members of the Greek Diaspora in promoting excellence in education/research in Greece and the need to establish independent centers of excellence that can attract world-class Greek scientists from abroad. The event concluded with a lively reception where all the attendees had a chance to interact with each other.