March 27, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

Biotechnology and the human genome project are the cutting edge of science, but rural communities have a role in their future.

Dr. Peter Kohler, president of Oregon Health Sciences University, will discuss how biotechnology development relates to health care in Northeast Oregon during a reception and banquet April 5 that opens the OHSU School of Nursings Rural Health Conference.

The banquet will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. at the Hoke Center Main Lounge on the Eastern Oregon University campus.

The biotechnology theme will continue on April 6, when James Mattes, president of Grande Ronde Hospital, opens the conference at 8:30 a.m. with a speech, Bringing the Future into Focus.

Mattes said he will give a 20-year perspective on biotechnological and medical discoveries.

Were in a revolution now, Mattes said. Ill talk about what 2020 will look like for physicians and hospitals.

He said todays research is an interesting eye-opener in terms of what will happen in the future.

The study of medical discoveries and biotechnology is a side interest and avocation, Mattes said. I have an interest in science, and I do a fair amount of research and study.

The rural health conference will begin with registration at 7:15 a.m. April 6. Cost of the banquet and conference is $30 for adults and $20 for students. Cost of the one-day conference is $25 and $15 and includes lunch.

The conference keynote speaker is Kathleen Potempa, dean of the OHSU School of Nursing, who will discuss Nursing Knowledge and Caring in the New Age at 10:20 a.m.

The asthma epidemic will be analyzed by Dr. Kenric Jones, consultant for the Union and Elgin family clinics.

Other topics include mental health in rural communities, tele-nursing and pediatric oncology.

For information and a registration form, call the OHSU School of Nursing at Eastern Oregon University, 962-3803.