Croatia – The Center of Attention of World Science

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Source: Dragan Primorac, MD, PhD, ISABS President

The Tenth ISABS Conference on Forensic and Anthropologic Genetics and Mayo Clinic Lectures in Individualized Medicine 

The jubilee Tenth International Society for Applied Biological Sciences (ISABS) Conference on Forensic and Anthropologic Genetics and Mayo Clinic Lectures in Individualized Medicine was held in Dubrovnik, Croatia, June 19-24, 2017, with more than 500 participants from approximately 40 countries from around the world. The most fascinating topics in the field of forensic and anthropologic genetics and individualized medicine were tackled by more than 60 invited lecturers from the most prestigious world institutes of science, including Harvard School of Medicine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Penn State University, the University of New Haven, George Washington University, Columbia University, the Mayo Clinic, Weizmann Institute of Science, the Wake Forest University, King’s College, the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), the University of California, Berkley, and more.

The Third Joint Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) and the ISABS

During the Tenth ISABS Conference on Forensic and Anthropologic Genetics and Mayo Clinic Lectures in Individualized Medicine, a third joint meeting of the AAFS and the ISABS members was held June 20, 2017. The meeting was hosted by Susan Ballou, AAFS President-Elect, and Dragan Primorac, ISABS President and Chair of the AAFS International Affairs Committee. Several AAFS Fellows, including Moses Schanfield, Henry C. Lee, Robert Barsley, Timothy Palmbach, and Frederick Bieber, as well as AAFS Associate Members Josip Crnjac, Željka Primorac, and Damir Primorac, participated. The meeting was attended by Branko Hrvatin, President of the Supreme Court of The Republic of Croatia, Damir Kontrec, President of the Croatian Association of Judges, and Miran Čoklo from the Croatian Institute for Anthropological Research.

ISABS and Nobel Prize Laureates

In addition to leading world scientists, three Nobel Prize winners also participated during the conference: Ada E. Yonath, Robert Huber, and Harald zur Hausen. The results of their research have significantly contributed to the understanding of basic mechanisms in cell biology and the onset of disease. Ada Yonath was the first Israeli woman and the first woman from the Middle East to have been awarded a Nobel Prize in the field of science, and the first woman in 45 years who has received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. The focus of her research was ribosomes – cell structures that play a key role in translating RNA into proteins. Harald zur Hausen was awarded the Nobel Prize for his research on cervical cancer and the role of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in the emergence of this disease. Robert Huber was the first to have crystallized transmembrane proteins, which is very important for photosynthesis in bacteria, and determined their structure at the same time.

Laureates Robert Huber, Dragan Primorac, Ada Yonath, Harald zur Hausen

Laureates Robert Huber, Dragan Primorac, Ada Yonath, and Harald zur Hausen


AAFS, ISABS, Mayo Clinic, and St. Catherine Hospital

The ISABS 2017 Conference was organized by the ISABS, Mayo Clinic, and St. Catherine Special Hospital in partnership with the AAFS. The Conference’s strategic partner institution was Royal Philips, one of the leading corporations in the healthcare industry. The Conference was held under the auspices of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts and the official Conference journal was the Croatian Medical Journal.

During the opening ceremony, the President of the Republic of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, the Minister of Health, Milan Kujundžić, the Minister of Science and Education, Blaženka Divjak, the Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli, the President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia, Branko Hrvatin, the Vice President of Mayo Clinic, Gianrico Farrugia, Vice President of the AAFS, Susan Ballou, and others underlined the importance of this event.

Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, Dragan Primorac, Susan Ballou

Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, Dragan Primorac, and Susan Ballou

Traditionally, the organization of the ISABS conferences is fully supported by a partner institution—the world’s leading forensic organization, the AAFS, gathering more than 7,000 forensic scientists from around the world. At the opening ceremony, Susan Ballou, on behalf of Betty Layne DesPortes, AAFS President, addressed the importance of the strategic partnership between the ISABS and the AAFS and underlined that during the most recent AAFS annual meeting held in New Orleans, LA, in February 2017, the AAFS declared the ISABS an affiliated organization. She particularly emphasized that the AAFS has only made such a decision twice in its entire history.

ISABS 2017 Program

Program directors Manfred Kayser and Tamás Ördög, as well as ISABS Co-Founders Dragan Primorac, Moses Schanfield, and Stanimir Vuk Pavlović put together an exciting, rich, and successful scientific program for the Tenth ISABS Conference. It included more than 60 lectures and oral presentations, among which were four plenary lectures and two special evening plenary lectures, as well as a Nobel session with three lectures by Nobel Prize Laureates. All sessions and lectures, including evening and early morning, were extremely well attended and raised a much interest among participants, resulting in interesting and fruitful discussions.

The highlight of the conference was the Nobel session, chaired by Dragan Primorac, with three lectures by Nobel Prize Laureates. Ada Yonath, the 2009 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry, pointed out that “there will soon be more deaths caused by resistance to antibiotics than cancer.” Harald zur Hausen, the 2008 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology and Medicine, presented a revolutionary scientific lecture regarding risk factors for cancer development in humans, especially in relation to lack of Vitamin D, BMMF factor present in bovine meat and milk, and Epstein-Barr virus reactivation in the elderly. He also pointed out the benefits and necessity of long-term breastfeeding. Finally, Robert Huber, the 1988 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry, explained in his lecture how protein regulation in the human body provides the possibility of new applications in the treatment of diabetes, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and infections.

Finally, there was a first Nobel Spirit Session held in Dubrovnik Rector’s Palace, where, in front of the live television audience, Nobel Prize Laureates together with Dragan Primorac discussed the most important issues related to individualized medicine and the future development of science, biomedicine, and society in general. The show was hosted by Ashely Colburn, two-time Emmy Award-winning television producer and host, and through Croatian Radio Television, distributed to more than 50 country members of the European Broadcasting Union. Nobel Spirit is available at

The conference was supported by the Ministry of Science and Education, the Croatian Tourist Board, Phillips, Arona-kliniken fur Altersmedizin GmbH, the Croatian Chamber of Economy, Hrvatska pošta, Građa, Ballograf, AlphaCrom, HEP, JANAF, PBZ, Adriatic Luxury Hotels, the cities of Dubrovnik, Zagreb, and Solin, Pliva, Belupo, and many others.

More information on The Tenth ISABS Conference on Forensic and Anthropologic Genetics and Mayo Clinic Lectures in Individualized Medicine is available at Information regarding the ISABS 2017 Organizing Committee is available at