James Smyth and Samy Lamouille speak at CityWorks (X)po

Samy  Y.  Lamouille, Ph.D.

Samy Y. Lamouille, Ph.D.

James Smyth, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, and Samy Lamouille, a research assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, spoke at the CityWorks (X)po event on October 1.

CityWorks (X)po is a national idea exchange and festival conference held in Roanoke, Virginia, since 2011. Conference participants aim to explore the work of creating stronger communities and initiating and strengthening a sense of place.

Smyth and Lamouille, both from outside the United States, were asked to speak about their experiences as international scientists who decided to live and work in Roanoke. They hail from Ireland and France, respectively, and spent ten years in San Francisco before relocating to the Star City.

Their talks focused on why Roanoke is where they need to be to take their fundamental research on heart disease (Smyth) and brain cancer (Lamouille) from the laboratory to the clinic.

“Our research focus at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute is on understanding how the cells of the human body communicate with each other and how this goes awry in these lethal diseases,” Smyth said. “In the bigger scheme of things, communication between academic and private research entities together with the medical community is necessary to achieve our vision. Roanoke has all the right components to allow us to connect the dots.”

Michael Friedlander, executive director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, praised Smyth’s and Lamouille’s presentations.

“So many people – from Roanoke’s city manager to visitors from across the country, business leaders, Virginia Tech faculty, and community members – are raving about how impressive Jamie’s and Samy’s presentations were,” Friedlander said. “As innovative scientists, entrepreneurs, collegial and collaborative members of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute family, and Roanoke’s ambassadors to the world, we are very fortunate that Jamie and Samy are part of the institute.”