November 2011

'Developing' drugs

The annual meeting session on developing new and improved cancer therapies will run the gamut -- from forcing apoptosis in cancer cells to identifying new intracellular targets for exploitation. Among the hottest areas in cancer research is the hope to tailor medical therapy to each individual’s particular cancer, and this exciting topic will get special attention.


Chemical biology and biocatalysis

A fascinating group of sessions make up this annual meeting theme. Metabolite-protein interactions, manipulation of acyltransferases in cancer, catalysis by polyketide synthases to produce pharmacologically important antibiotics, synthesis of alkaloids in yeasts, production of the target of diphtheria toxin, and insights into microbial enzymology (as derived from genomic data mining), among other topics, will be discussed.


Education and professional development

Honing skill sets and remaining competitive are goals not only of students but also of their teachers. Similarly, what’s good for the individual is good for the state. The annual meeting will host sessions on helping undergraduates succeed in identifying their perfect career and how best to prepare for it. Teachers will learn how to maximize their effectiveness in mentoring and in using the resources at their disposal.


Organelle dynamics

The four sessions at the annual meeting will focus on mitochondrial dynamics, quality control, secretory pathway organization and communication between secretory and endocytic pathways.


Sugar fix

Much is known about glycoconjugates, yet, the more we know, the more fascinating the questions opening before us become. The annual meeting will have sessions on the roles of glycoconjugates in pathogenesis, signaling, development, and metabolism and disease. Unusual routes to glycoconjugate assembly also will be discussed.


Systems biology

The tools available to the researcher are now sufficiently sophisticated that many nagging questions regarding biochemical networks (or cellular signals in space and time) may be successfully addressed. Sessions at the annual meeting will cover high-throughput methodologies that may be used to examine how networks change or adapt in response to DNA damage or manipulation by pathogenic proteins. Additionally, modeling networks to predict responses to specific stimuli and how cells discriminate between signals and noise will be discussed.


Targeting tuberculosis

Historically one of the world’s greatest and most devastating scourges, tuberculosis and its treatment will be explored in thematic sessions at the annual meeting. In what promises to be a fascinating and very important series of talks, the host-pathogen relationship of M. tuberculosis and humans will be examined. The pathogen seems poised to adapt successfully to new treatments, and the three symposia have been designed to build upon each other.

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