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Vol. 34 No. 1
January-February 2012

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

Chemistry of Natural Products and Biodiversity

The 27th International Symposium on the Chemistry of Natural Products (ISCNP27) was held jointly with the 7th International Conference on Biodiversity (7ICOB) at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in Brisbane, Australia from 10–15 July 2011. The joint meeting was attended by 180 delegates, who between them represented over 20 different countries.

The very first IUPAC meeting ever on natural products was also held in Australia (interestingly, the venue moved between Sydney, Canberra, and Melbourne) in 1961. The introduction of that field of research to a generation of young chemists led to a rapid expansion of interest by Australian chemists in natural products research. Hopefully, this 2011 meeting will have a similarly positive outcome.
The conference co-chairs for the 2011 meeting were Mary Garson of The University of Queensland (UQ) and Ronald Quinn from Griffith University (GU), with the considerable assistance of Joanne Blanchfield (UQ), Tony Carroll (GU), and Naresh Kumar (University of New South Wales, Sydney) as hard-working members of the Organizing Committee. The meeting was sponsored by Griffith University, The University of Queensland, and the Royal Australian Chemical Institute.

Delegates at the 27th International Symposium on the Chemistry of Natural Products in the foyer of the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

With inputs from the International Advisory Board, a world-class scientific program was assembled, which included topics such as discovery of new metabolites, isolation and structure elucidation, neglected diseases, biosynthesis, chemical ecology, new methodology, and biodiversity. Plenary lectures were delivered by Russell Kerr (Canada), Erik Sorensen (USA), Daisuke Uemura (Japan), Deniz Tasdemir (UK), and Yang Ye (China). In addition, there were 27 invited talks and 20 contributed oral presentations, as well as a lively poster session with 76 posters on show. Eighteen of the poster presenters were selected to give a three-minute oral contribution on their posters. Nine postgraduate students received awards for their poster or three-minute presentation.

The size of the conference made it convenient for delegates to network effectively, and to share discoveries and results. For the postgraduate audience, it was also an ideal opportunity to hear top-flight researchers from the natural products community, and to plan postdoctoral careers in overseas laboratories. There also was a small trade display.

On 13 July, delegates took advantage of the lecture-free schedule to visit research facilities at the two host universities, and to attend an hour-long discussion forum on “The Future of Natural Products Research.” A selection of plenary and invited talks will appear in Pure and Applied Chemistry (see www.iupac.org/publications/pac/
conferences/ Brisbane_2011-07-10b
).

In addition to the scientific content, there was a welcome reception and a dinner held at a riverside restaurant. Some participants also attended an Australian Outback spectacular show at the Gold Coast. Each day, participants were able to enjoy the South Bank parklands and the Brisbane River on their way to the Convention Centre, and to take advantage of the mild winter temperatures that make eating out in the central Brisbane area a pleasant experience during July.

Combined symposia for these two series of meetings had previously taken place in Charlottetown (2008), Kyoto (2006), and Delhi (2004). Prior to that, ISCNP23 was held in Florence, Italy (2002), while ICOB meetings were held in Antalya, Turkey (2001), Belo Horizonte, Brazil (1999), and Bangkok, Thailand (1997). The next venue is still to be finalized, with China already submitting an expression of interest to host ISCNP28/ICOB8.

Nowadays, discovery chemists often chose to attend highly targeted meetings addressing marine, plant or microbial topics, or regionally-based meetings, and so miss out on the opportunity to meet natural product chemists working in cognate fields or from other regions of the globe. A key aim of the ISCNP/ICOB series of meetings should be to continue to bring researchers with these overlapping, but distinct, interests together to celebrate the “sum of the many scientific parts” that make up modern natural products and biodiscovery research.

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