Our Mission and History


Keystone Symposia will serve as a catalyst for the advancement of biomedical and life sciences by connecting scientists within and across disciplines at conferences and workshops held at venues that create an environment conducive to information exchange, generation of new ideas and acceleration of applications that benefit society.


Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Silverthorne, Colorado, USA that convenes approximately 50-60 open, peer-reviewed conferences annually, across diverse life-science topics. Subjects bridge basic and clinical research, across academic, industry and global health sectors, to promote translational advances with medical impacts.

Most conferences are held in mountain venues across the American and Canadian West, with a select handful of events dispersed globally across six continents. Scientific programs are dictated by field experts, with guidelines from Keystone Symposia to encourage fresh perspectives and diverse participation. Our signature meeting format is designed to maximize informal networking among field leaders and students alike, to drive innovative and cross-disciplinary discussions and collaborations.

As part of our mission, Keystone Symposia is dedicated to supporting the next-generation of research leaders, with scholarships, travel awards and career-development opportunities for students and post-doctoral fellows—who comprise approximately 40% of meeting attendees. In addition, our Diversity in Life Science Programs provide career-advancement experiences and training to scientists from under-represented backgrounds, and developing nations, to ensure diverse representation within the life-science workforce across all levels.

A staff of 40 full-time, part-time or seasonal employees handles all aspects of administration, meeting management/logistics, attendee services, fundraising and marketing. These operations are funded by two sources: registration fees (~65-70%) and generous support from corporations, foundations, government entities and individuals (~30-35%).



1972: Keystone Symposia was founded by Professor C. Fred Fox as the ICN-UCLA Symposium on Molecular Biology and held an initial conference on membrane research in Squaw Valley, California, March 13-17, 1972.

1984: The organization now known as the UCLA Symposia continues to push the forefront of biosciences by convening the first-ever open, international meeting on AIDS, which was widely credited with catalyzing a consensus that AIDS was caused by a retrovirus now known as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

1990: Keystone Symposia relocated to Silverthorne, Colorado, and became a division of The Keystone Center and was renamed Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology.

1995-97: Keystone Symposia became an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

2001: First conference outside of the US in Canada (“Hematopoiesis” in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada).

2005: First conference in Asia (“Stem Cells, Senescence and Cancer” in Singapore).

2006: First conference in Europe (“Multi-Protein Complexes Involved in Cell Regulation” in Cambridge, UK).

2007: First conference in Africa (“Challenges of Global Vaccine Development” in Cape Town, South Africa).

2009: First conference in Australia (“Telomere Biology and DNA Repair” in Ashmore).

2013: First conference in South America (“The Innate Immune Response in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease” in Ouro Preto, Brazil).

2022 will mark the 50th anniversary of Keystone Symposia’s leadership in driving life-science advances and innovation in research and medicine.