By Terri Somers - In these serious times, up to 15,000 biotechnology executives from around the globe are descending upon Atlanta today to do some serious business at the 2009 BIO International Convention. In this difficult economic climate, with a new administration focusing on healthcare reform and the world getting a glimpse of what a flu pandemic could look like, there are plenty of issues for the biotechnology industry to tackle.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization's international convention comes to town amid global economic woes - not to mention trailing fears of the H1N1 swine flu epidemic - yet the industry's enthusiasm for the annual event remains as high as ever, perhaps even more so in the face of tough challenges ahead. As many predicted, attendance for this year's meeting is down about 35 percent to 40 percent from the number of people that attended last year's convention in San Diego.

Last night research, industry and politics got together at Dailey's in Atlanta for a little meeting. It was actually a networking reception but let's face it, we were all about ensuring the wheels of biotechnology kept turning in Canada.

Author:  Dr. Carolyn Britton, President, National Medical Association

Measures of student achievement nationally suggest that states are not measuring up in terms of overall science and life science education.

BIOtech Now interviews Stephanie Adams, executive director of Southeast BIO. She discusses the growth of the biotechnology sector in the Southeast, the upcoming 2009 BIO International Convention in Atlanta, and the SE BIOtech Connect database of the more than 1,200 life sciences companies and research institutions in the Southeast. Download or listen to the program.

BIO has selected six companies as finalists in the "Be the Buzz of BIO" contest - see who made the list below! Now it's time to vote for your favorite - just go to Voting is open until April 17. The finalist with the most votes will be chosen and notified on or about April 21st. Finalists: AMRI Archimedes Inc. Biobide S.L. Impact Systems Koronic Pharmaceuticals Zenda Technologies

Mexico is the fifth richest region in biodiversity in the world with a long tradition of research in biological sciences.

Executives of advanced biofuels, feedstock crop technology, and industrial biotechnology companies give an update on their progress in commercializing advanced biofuels. BIO presents principles for coordinating and enhancing existing federal policy supporting these companies’ efforts. Listen or download the program.

BIOtech Now's Tracy Krughoff speaks with Jonas Frisén of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden about his session on stem cells at the upcoming BIO International Convention. Listen or download the podcast.

BIOtech Now interviews Dr. Michael Rosenberg, President and CEO of Health Decisions. He discusses adaptive research methods which can streamline and improve the design of clinical trials and previews his upcoming presentation at the 2009 BIO International Convention. Listen or download the program.