Scientific Symposia

The latest research from across the interdisciplinary world of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is in one place for you to explore. Daily, morning sessions feature invited presentations that will inform and inspire! Click the dates below for speaker details.

*denotes Symposia chair

Sunday, April 23

Biochemistry, Physiology, and Pathophysiology of Sphingolipids 
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., McCormick Place, W183c

  • 10:00 a.m.     Yusuf Hannun, Stony Brook University*, Neutral Sphingomyelinase: structure and function
  • 10:25 a.m.     Antonella De Matteis, Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine, Regulation and role of ER-Golgi contact sites
  • 10:50 a.m.     Timothy Hla, Harvard Medical School/ Boston Children's Hospital, Sphingolipid chaperone proteins modulate signal transduction and pathophysiology
  • 11:15 a.m.     Howard Riezman, University of Geneva, Lipid homeostasis and function
  • 11:40 a.m.     Walter A. Shaw Young Investigator Award introduction and presentation.
  • 11:45 a.m.     Gregory D. Fairn, St. Michael's Hospital, Walter A. Shaw Young Investigator Award in Lipid Research, Molecular probes to study the subcellular localization and dynamics of phospholipids and cholesterol

Life at Higher Resolution: Single Molecule and Single Cell
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., McCormick Place, W184a 

  • 10:00 a.m.     Michelle Wang, Cornell University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Transcriptional dynamics of Mfd
  • 10:30 a.m.     Hendrik Dietz, Technical University of Munich, DNA origami supported precision measurements of biomolecular interactions and structure
  • 11:00 a.m.     Taekjip Ha, Whiting School of Engineering, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute*, Playing a tug of war with integrin and Notch receptors
  • 11:30 a.m.     Erez S. Lieberman Aiden, Baylor College of Medicine, A 3D code in the human genome

Pharmacological Modulation of the HIF Pathway
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., McCormick Place, W184bc  

  • 10:00 a.m.     Sir Peter Ratcliffe, University of Oxford, Signalling hypoxia by protein hydroxylation: Transcriptional architecture of the HIF response 
  • 10:30 a.m.     Fraydoon Rastinejad, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, Visualizing the drug-binding potentials of HIF-α proteins through X-ray crystallography
  • 11:00 a.m.     Eli Wallace, Peloton Therapeutics, Small molecule HIF-2α antagonists and their therapeutic applications
  • 11:30 a.m.     William Kaelin, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Howard Hughes Medical Institute*, On-target efficacy of a HIF2α antagonist in preclinical kidney cancer models

Dynamics of Cytoskeletal Assembly
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., McCormick Place, W186 

  • 10:00 a.m.     Melissa K. Gardner, University of Minnesota, Regulation of microtubule dynamics by suppression of microtubule assembly kinetics
  • 10:30 a.m.     Marcos Sotomayor, Ohio State University, Strings attached: Sound perception and brain wiring enabled by cadherins
  • 11:00 a.m.     Margaret Gardel, University of Chicago, Mechanics of the actin cytoskeleton
  • 11:30 a.m.     Thomas Pollard, Yale University*, Molecular mechanism of cytokinesis

New Approaches for Antibiotic Discovery
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., McCormick Place, W185bc
Chair: Alexander S. Mankin, University of Illinois at Chicago

  • 10:00 a.m.     Eric J. Brown, Genentech, Antibody-antibiotic conjugates: a new platform for treatment of serious bacterial infections
  • 10:30 a.m.     Timothy Lu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Synthetic biology for tackling antimicrobial resistance
  • 11:00 a.m.     Eric Brown, McMaster University, To kill a bacterium, you need to think like a bacterium
  • 11:30 a.m.     Magda Barbu, Synthetic Genomics Vaccine, Inc., Engineered bacteriophage therapeutics against multidrug-resistant pathogens

Monday, April 24

New Insights into Nuclear Structure and Function
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., McCormick Place, W183c

  • 10:00 a.m.     Robert Goldman, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, The nuclear lamins are major determinants of nuclear architecture
  • 10:30 a.m.     David Spector, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, The role of long non-coding RNAs in nuclear organization and disease
  • 11:00 a.m.     Tracy L. Johnson, University of California, Los Angeles, HHMI, Pre-mRNA splicing, histone modification, and the coordinated control of gene expression
  • 11:30 a.m.     Xavier Darzacq, University of California, Berkeley, Single molecule transcription factor dynamics in mammalian cells and the syncytial Drosophila embryo

Supramolecular Complexes
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., McCormick Place, W184a 

  • 10:00 a.m      Anne-Claude Gingras, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital*, In vivo mapping of protein complex organization
  • 10:30 a.m.     Edward Marcotte, University of Texas at Austin, Evolution and the proteome: Insights into protein function from deeply conserved gene modules
  • 11:00 a.m.     Albert Heck, Utrecht University,  Probing protein assemblies and interactions by hybrid mass spectrometry approaches
  • 11:30 a.m.     John L. Rubinstein, The Hospital for Sick Children, Electron cryomicroscopy of rotary ATPases

Basis of Longevity and Age-related Diseases
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., McCormick Place, W184bc 

  • 10:00 a.m.     Linda Partridge, Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, Repurposing drugs to ameliorate aging
  • 10:30 a.m.     Andrew Dillin, University of California, Berkeley, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Orchestrating aging across a troubled soma
  • 11:00 a.m.     Anne Brunet, Stanford University School of Medicine*, Understanding and modeling aging 
  • 11:30 a.m.    Matt Kaeberlein, University of Washington, Targeting mTOR signaling to promote healthy longevity

Discovery and Development of New Enzyme Chemistry
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., McCormick Place, W186  

  • 10:00 a.m.     J. Martin Bollinger, Pennsylvania State University*, Mechanistic pathways to unusual outcomes in reactions of iron-dependent oxygenases
  • 10:30 a.m.     Emily Balskus, Harvard University, Chemical discovery in the microbial world
  • 11:00 a.m.     Squire Booker, Pennsylvania State University, Radical strategies for biological methylation
  • 11:30 a.m.     Jennifer Kan, California Institute of Technology, Evolution of heme proteins for expanding the chemistry of the biological world

New Insights into Mechanisms of Antibiotic Action
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., McCormick Place, W185bc
Chair: Eric Brown, McMaster University 

  • 10:00 a.m.     Peter Belenky, Brown University, Bacterial metabolism and antibiotic efficacy
  • 10:30 a.m.     Kim Lewis, Northeastern University, Antibiotics from the microbial dark matter
  • 11:00 a.m.     Martin Schmeing, McGill University, Structures and functions of nonribosomal peptide synthetases, natural antibiotic factories
  • 11:30 a.m.     Nora Vazquez-Laslop, University of Illinois at Chicago, Context-specific action of ribosomal antibiotics

Tuesday, April 25

Organelle Trafficking and Signaling
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., McCormick Place, W183c 

  • 10:00 a.m.     Gia Voeltz, University of Colorado, Boulder*, Unraveling the mechanism of ER-associated organelle fission
  • 10:30 a.m.     Navdeep Chandel, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Why mammalian cells respire?
  • 11:00 a.m.     Martin Hetzer, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Nuclear envelope rupture is induced by actin-based nucleus confinement
  • 11:30 a.m.     Erika Holzbaur, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine,  Dynamics of autophagy and mitophagy in neurons

Metal Homeostasis
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., McCormick Place, W184a 

  • 10:00 a.m.     Amy Rosenzweig, Northwestern University*, Bacterial copper acquisition
  • 10:30 a.m.     David Giedroc, Indiana University, Mechanisms of zinc metallostasis in bacterial pathogens
  • 11:00 a.m.     Elizabeth Nolan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Metals and immunity
  • 11:30 a.m.     Somshuvra Mukhopadhyay, University of Texas at Austin, Regulation of manganese homeostasis and detoxification by the efflux transporter SLC30A10

Biochemical Basis of Cellular Processes
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., McCormick Place, W184bc 

  • 10:00 a.m.     Bing Zhu, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Science, Dynamic regulation of DNA methylation
  • 10:30 a.m.     Guo-Liang Xu, Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Chinese Academy of Science, A novel enzymatic DNA modification on methylcytosine
  • 11:00 a.m.     Feng Shao, National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing, Pyroptosis in anti-bacteria immunity: Sensing and execution
  • 11:30 a.m.     Xiaodong Wang, National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing*, Mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis

Glycobiology, Glycan Receptors and Functional Glycomics
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., McCormick Place, W186 

  • 10:00 a.m.     Nancy Dahms, Medical College of Wisconsin*, Deciphering the ZIP Codes of a Cell
  • 10:30 a.m.     Laura Kiessling, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Glycan-binding proteins as microbial detectors
  • 11:00 a.m.     Richard Cummings, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, O-Glycan recognition and function in mice and humans
  • 11:30 a.m.     Galit Alter, Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital,  Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, Antibody glycosylation: An emerging biomarker of disease activity/protection

Antibiotic Resistance
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., McCormick Place, W185bc
Chair: Kim Lewis, Northeastern University 

  • 10:00 a.m.     Gautam Dantas,  Washington University School of Medicine, Networks of exchanging antibiotic resistance between environmental, commensal, and pathogenic microbes
  • 10:30 a.m.     Ken Gerdes, University of Copenhagen, Remarkable functional convergence: Type I and II toxin-antitoxins induce multidrug tolerance by (p)ppGpp-dependent mechanisms
  • 11:00 a.m.     Deborah T. Hung, Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, Exploiting chemical genetics to combat infections  
  • 11:30 a.m.     Joao Xavier, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Modeling the gut microbiota with mathematical ecology

Wednesday, April 26

New Insights in Regulated Lipid Metabolism
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., McCormick Place, W184a 

  • 10:00 a.m.     Rudolf Zechner, Institute of Molecular Biosciences, Karl Franzens Universität Graz*, The role of intracellular lipolysis in thermogenesis and metabolic disease
  • 10:30 a.m.     Stephen Young, University of California, Los Angeles, New insights into intravascular lipolysis and new causes of hypertriglyceridemia 
  • 11:00 a.m.     Lina Obeid, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Novel mechanisms of regulation of bioactive sphingolipids in cancer biology
  • 11:30 a.m.     Russell Debose-Boyd, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Geranylgeranyl-Regulated, ER-to-Golgi Transport of UBIAD1:  Implications for Cholesterol Homeostasis and Schnyder Corneal Dystrophy

Molecular Quality Control
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., McCormick Place, W184bc 

  • 10:00 a.m.     Susan Ackerman, University of California, San Diego, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Regulation of protein translation and neuronal homeostasis
  • 10:25 a.m.     Bernd Bukau, Zentrum für Molekulare Biologie der Universität Heidelberg, A versatile chaperone network promoting the aggregation and disaggregation of misfolded proteins
  • 10:50 a.m.     Adam Frost, University of California, San Francisco, Structures and functions of the Ribosome Quality Control complex or RQC
  • 11:15 a.m.     Christopher Lima, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, RNA decay and quality control by the eukaryotic RNA exosome
  • 11:40 a.m.     David Ron, University of Cambridge*, Tuning an endoplasmic reticulum chaperone to the cell’s needs

Low Complexity Domain Proteins and the Making of Germ Cells
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., McCormick Place, W183c 

  • 10:00 a.m.     Ruth Lehmann, Skirball Institute, New York University School of Medcine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, RNA granule organization
  • 10:30 a.m.     Geraldine Seydoux, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Organelles without membranes: Intrinsically-disordered proteins bring order to the cytoplasm
  • 11:00 a.m.     Abby Dernburg, University of California, Berkeley, A liquid crystalline interface between chromosomes regulates meiotic recombination
  • 11:30 a.m.     Angelika Amon, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute*, Amyloid-mediated translational control is required for meiosis

Redox Signaling and the Metabolome
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., McCormick Place, W186 

  • 10:00 a.m     Joan Broderick, Montana State University, Mechanism and control in radical SAM enzymes
  • 10:30 a.m.     David Sherman, University of Michigan, Biocatalyst discovery from the secondary metabolome
  • 11:00 a.m.     Vadim Gladyshev, Harvard Medical School, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Redox control of the metabolome and the aging process
  • 11:30 a.m.     Ruma Banerjee, University of Michigan Medical School*, Signaling through hydrogen sulfide