Fifty Years of Reverse Transcriptase

April 20 - 23, 2022
Posters abstract deadline: February 25, 2022


John Coffin, Tufts University
Steve Goff,
Columbia University
Anna-Marie Skalka,
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Steve Hughes,
National Cancer Institute
Hung Fan,
University of California Irvine


COVID-19: All participants planning to attend in-person will be required to provide documentary proof of full vaccination AND first booster (when eligible) with an FDA or EMA approved vaccine. Additional safety measures will be in line with current NY and federal guidelines. For more information, see COVID-19 Policies and Protocols.

The discovery of Reverse Transcriptase 50 years ago was one of the most dramatic findings of the 20th century, for both scientific and non-scientific reasons. The discovery provided instant proof for the previously ridiculed hypothesis that retroviruses replicate through a DNA intermediate, amending a widely held dogma of genetic information flow, and establishing a new paradigm of gene transfer.  The unique properties of retroviruses also laid the essential technical and conceptual groundwork for defining discoveries to follow – the molecular basis of cancer, the causes of important animal and human diseases, including T cell lymphoma and AIDS, as well as the rapid development of antiretroviral drugs in response to the HIV pandemic. 

This 2022 Cold Spring Harbor biohistory meeting will address Fifty Years of Reverse Transcriptase  and will begin at 7:30 pm on Wednesday, April 20th and conclude on Saturday, April 23rd. The goal of this meeting is to bring together the researchers involved in these seminal discoveries, to exchange historical information and insights into what made them possible, and to provide an historical archive of a major turning point in the remarkable story of 20th century biological science.

Welcome Remarks: Bruce Stillman
Introduction: John Coffin

Session Chairs:
Beemon, Johns Hopkins University
John Coffin, Tufts University
John Coffin, Tufts University
Jaquelin Dudley,
The University of Texas at Austin
Hung Fan,
University of California, Irvine
Henry Levin, NIH/NICHD
Jeremy Luban, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Alan Rein, National Cancer Institute
John Taylor, Fox Chase Cancer Research
Alice Telesnitsky, University of Michigan
Harold Varmus, Weill Cornell Medical College

Invited Speakers:
Irina Arkhipova, Marine Biological Laboratory
Eddy Arnold, Rutgers University and CABM
David Baltimore, Caltech
J. Michael Bishop, University of California, San Francisco
Jef Boeke, NYU Langone Health
John Coffin, Tufts University
Kathleen Collins, University of California, Berkeley
Ronald Desrosiers, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Jaquelin Dudley, The University of Texas at Austin
Robert Gallo, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Stephen Goff, Columbia University
Alex Greenwood, Leibniz-Institut fur Zoo-und Wildtierforshug, Germany
Thierry Heidmann, Institut Gustave Roussy, France
Thomas Hohn, Friedrich Miescher-Institut, Switzerland
Stephen Hughes, National Cancer Institute
Welkin Johnson, Boston College
Christine Kozak, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Alan Lambowitz, The University of Texas at Austin
Jeffrey Lifson, National Cancer Institute at Frederick
Maxine Linial, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Tom Maniatis, New York Genome Center
Malcolm Martin, NIAID, National Institutes of Health
William Mason, Fox Chase Cancer Center
Jeffrey Miller, University of California, Los Angeles
Hiroaki Mitsuya, National Cancer Institute
Karin Moelling, University of Zurich, Switzerland
John Moran, University of Michigan Medical School
Benjamin Neel, NYU Langone Health
Douglas Richman, University of California, San Diego
Stefan Sarafianos, Emory University
John Sedivy, Brown University
Anna Marie Skalka, Fox Chase Cancer Center
Jonathan Stoye, The Francis Crick Institute, UK
Sarah Temin
Harold Varmus
, Weill Cornell Medical College
Peter Vogt, Scripps Research Institute
Robert Weinberg, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Robin Weiss, University College London, UK

This Week in Virology Discussion led by Vincent Racaniello, Columbia University, Moderator

For these unique science history meetings, we invite speakers who made many of the seminal discoveries that began a field as well as those currently working in that field. We also invite historians who have examined the scientific and societal context of the field. Like the previous meetings in the series, this meeting will provide an excellent opportunity to look in-depth at the history of a topic in biology and share stories that may be missing from purely academic accounts.

Registrations are warmly welcomed from scientists, clinicians, historians, activists, and journalists. You must be registered in order to present a poster. Once registered you will receive a confirmation email containing the link for abstract submission. If you wish to present a poster, please plan on a maximum size of 4ft x 4ft (1.22m x 1.22m). Click the Information tab above for details on presenting posters at CSHL meetings.

We have significant sponsorship to partially offset registration costs for some attendees. Please apply in writing via email to Val Pakaluk and state your financial needs. See below for special categories of financial aid.

Social Media: The designated hashtag for this meeting is #cshlhist22. Note that you must obtain permission from an individual presenter before live-tweeting or discussing his/her talk, poster, or research results on social media. Click the Policies tab above to see our full Confidentiality & Reporting Policy.

Major financial support provided by: Gates Foundation, Genentech, Gilead, National Institutes of Health (NIAID)
Additional financial support provided by: AbbVie Inc., Assembly Biosciences


In-Person Fees (Housing options closed as of March 30, 2022)
Academic/Media Private Room/Private Bath Package: $1,310 (Subject to availability.)
Academic/Media Private Room/Shared Bath Package: $1,235
Academic Shared Room Package: $1,130
Academic/Media No-Housing Package: $860
Student Package*: $1,045
Student No-Housing Package: $775
Corporate Private Room/Private Bath Package: $1,625
Corporate No-Housing Package: $1,250

*Student Housing is default double occupancy. Please enquire about availability and fees to upgrade to private room.

Room packages close 2 weeks before the meeting start date

Rules for Virtual Participation: Virtual participation will include access to the oral sessions via Zoom, access to the digital poster sessions and access to the Slack discussion channel, and the Leading Strand video archive.

Presenters: Individuals submitting abstracts and facing financial barriers should firstly request financial aid (see above). Permission to present your talk or poster virtually will be given only in exceptional circumstances and on a case-by-case basis. If you think you are eligible for an exemption from the requirement to present in person, please provide a justification in writing via email to Val Pakaluk.

Non-presenting participants: We plan to broaden access to the conference by allowing certain categories of non-presenting participants to attend virtually at reduced fees. Categories include: 
1. Additional members of individual laboratories (4th or more lab member) - PI must supply list of lab members via email to Val Pakaluk
2. Individuals from low & middle income countries; 
3. Individuals from non-LMIC countries in Asia, Australasia, Africa or South America; 
4. Individuals from US & Canadian minority serving institutions; 
5. Individuals with a demonstrable financial barrier; 
6. Individuals with family obligations or other special circumstances. 
For categories 5 & 6 above, please provide a justification via email to Val Pakaluk

Late Fee (Registrations submitted after 5:00 p.m. ET on April 14, 2022)

Late Academic Virtual Package: $355
Late Student Virtual Package: $250
Late Corporate Virtual Package: $475