June 2010

ASBMB Teams up with Brazil on Biofuels Workshop

A beach in Ubatuba, Brazil.
Photo credit: Carla Pintor.


Biofuels are big business in Brazil. Combining an abundance of sugarcane, a willing government and recent technological advancements, the production of ethanol-based fuels is re-emerging as a major economic driver of this South American country. And, certainly, their recent agreement with the United States to share alternative fuel technologies and strategies has been a positive development as well.

In a reflection of that U.S.-Brazilian partnership, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is teaming up with the Brazilian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SBBq) and the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to present an advanced course on the biochemistry of biofuels, to be held September 25-October 3 in the Brazilian coastal city of Ubatuba.

Although the complete itinerary still is being finalized, this intensive one-week course is poised to feature a group of top level U.S. and international scientists discussing fundamental biofuel-related research topics; Areas that will be covered include sugar metabolism, cell wall biology,  synthetic biology and the impact of biofuels in the developing world.

“Our goal is not to simply have scientific presentations,” notes ASBMB Past-President Bettie Sue Masters, one of the principal organizers of the event. “We plan on having detailed and interactive workshops that really explore the basic science behind biofuels, including potentials and limitations.”

The course will be open to up to 40 young researchers (no more than 5 years past Ph.D.) from around the world who already work in a biofuel-related field or are interested in joining this field of research.

The idea for this course germinated during conversations between Masters and SBBq President Debora Foguel, following a visit by Masters to give an invited lecture at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.


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