The annual Miami Winter Symposium was founded in 1968 by Bill Whelan, the new chair of biochemistry at the University of Miami School of Medicine.
If it seemed to him that this South Florida watering place was not frequented by other biochemists, so he conceived the idea of the symposia to bring distinguished scientists into contact with students and faculty of his department. That the event was held each year in January was an inducement to the visitors to share the plight of living in Miami in the winter.
The experiment succeeded in its initial quest, and beyond. Faculty and students across the School attended. Visitors came from around the world. Nobel Laureates or Laureates-to-be, were speakers. In all, about 50 have participated so far.
The Symposia began to concentrate on gene technology and became an international event in this area. It now specializes in molecular medicine and its applications, bringing together investigators from academia and industry to participate in a program that combines basic and applied aspects of the same research focus..
Nature Publishing began a 25 year partnership in 1988. The Symposia are now managed by Elsevier. Successive later and continuing partners of the Foundation are the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Institute, Scripps Florida and the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology ( IUBMB ), the last-named having committed a $30,000 annual donation for five years in support of travel fellowships for young scientists from developing areas.