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Vol. 33 No. 3
May-June 2011

Conference Call | Reports from recent conferences and symposia 
See also www.iupac.org/indexes/Conferences

Biotechnology

Under the auspices of IUPAC, the International Biotechnology Symposium (IBS) and Exhibition series is a premier international biotechnology event held every two years in different parts of the world. The Division of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry with its Subcommittee on Biotechnology is responsible for the IUPAC engagement in this event.

The 14th IBS was held 14–18 September 2010 in Rimini, Italy, and was promoted by the Italian and European Technology Platforms of the Life Sciences area, together with EuropaBio, EFB, ISEB, and ESEB. The conference chair, Professor Fabio Fava (Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna), and co-chair, Professor Francesco Nicotra (University of Milano-Bicocca and chair of the IUPAC Subcommittee on Biotechnology), are to be congratulated for a most successful conference.

The symposium was attended by 1 600 delegates from 70 different nations. The program included 85 invited lectures, 330 oral communications, and 1 100 poster presentations, and 1 500 abstracts were published in a supplement of Journal of Biotechnology (vol. 150, supp. 1, pp. 1–578, November 2010). In addition, 6 hosted international satellite events were on the program.

The extensive scientific program of the 14th IBS provided information on the advances, frontiers, and applications of biotechnology for a healthier, more sustainable future and a knowledge-based international bioeconomy.

The importance of chemistry for the future development of a bio-based technology was clear from the presentations delivered during the various sessions:

  • systems biology for biotechnological innovation
  • medical and pharmaceutical biotechnology
  • animal biotechnology
  • industrial biotechnology
  • biotechnology for bioenergy
  • food biotechnology
  • plant biotechnology
  • forest biotechnology
  • environmental biotechnology
  • contribution of chemistry to the development of a biotechnology-based economy

The session on the contribution of chemistry to biotechnology opened with a lecture by Professor Peter Seeberger (Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam, Germany), who presented part of his pioneering work on automated polysaccharide synthesis and his work on the development of diagnostics and vaccines. The session also offered a number of interesting presentations that demonstrated the importance of chemistry and chemical methods for the development of novel biotechnology-based processes, products, and applications.

The IBS 2010 Symposium clearly demonstrates the importance of scientific conferences with an interdisciplinary approach and many participants of different scientific and industrial backgrounds. Such conferences are useful complements to the biannual IUPAC congresses. The 15th IBS will be held in Daegu, Korea, 16–20 September 2012 <www.ibs2012.org>.

Torbjörn Norin <tnorin@kth.se> is professor emeritus, organic chemistry, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, and former president of the IUPAC Organic and Biomolecular Division.


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