Annual Meeting

Scientific and education sessions at the 2021 annual meeting

Last-chance abstracts will be accepted through Feb. 4
ASBMB Today Staff
Jan. 26, 2021

The 2021 ASBMB Annual Meeting, held in conjunction with the Experimental Biology conference, will be held Tuesday, April 27, through Friday, April 30. The meeting offers many scientific and pedagogy sessions, professional-development roundtables and workshops, spotlight talks and award lectures. Learn more about the session tracks below, and see the entire meeting schedule here.

Cell signaling

This track will focus on how cell-surface receptors interpret mechanical stimuli, how signaling molecules are controlled by less-well-understood post-translational modifications and how signaling polarizes cells and tissues.

Keywords: mechanobiology, structural biology, post-translational modifications, signal transduction, receptors, ligands.

Mechanosignaling | Tuesday, 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Piezo1 activation gains traction | Medha Pathak, University of California, Irvine
  • Mechanotransduction in vascular health and disease | Martin Schwartz, Yale University
  • Mechanical force and notch signaling | Wendy Gordon, University of Minnesota
  • Mechanisms linking mechanotransduction and cell metabolism | Kris DeMali, University of Iowa

Post-translational modifications/signaling  | Wednesday, 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

  • Getting hedgehogs where they need to go: Cleavage activates dispatched for sonic hedgehog release | Stacey Ogden, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • Rhomboid proteins in cell signaling | Matthew Freeman, University of Oxford
  • Lipids and hedgehogs | Adrian Salic, Harvard University Medical School
  • Role of notch glycoslation in signaling | Pamela Stanley, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Emerging mechanisms of signaling | Thursday, 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

  • Tuning receptor signaling through ligand engineering | Chris Garcia, Stanford University
  • Cellular communication via adhesion | Demet Arac, University of Chicago
  • Mechanisms of Wnt5a-Ror signaling in development and disease | Henry Ho, University of California, Davis
  • Genetic and acquired heterotopic ossification are driven by a self-amplifying positive feedback loop of Hedgehog signaling | Yingzi Yang, Harvard University Dental School

Glycosylation and extracellular matrix

This track will explore the activities and mechanisms by which these cell-derived components govern health and disease, emphasizing emerging links with cancer, immunity, inflammation and metabolism and including infectious and neurological diseases.

Keywords: glycosylation, ECM, cancer, inflammation, development, fibrosis, immunity, infection, neurobiology

Glycosylation and extracellular matrix in development, repair and cancer | Tuesday, 11:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

  • TGF-beta regulation by the matricellular protein thrombospondin 1 | Joanne Murphy-Ullrich, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Role of O-linked fucose-glucose disaccharide modification of thrombospondin type I repeats during protein folding and embryo development | Bernadette Holdener, Stony Brook University
  • Are fibrillin–notch interactions important in development and disease? | Lynn Sakai, Oregon Health and Science University
  • A genetic approach to display and dissect the cancer-associated O-glycoepitome | Henrik Clausen, University of Copenhagen

Glycosylation and extracellular matrix in immunologic, inflammatory and infectious disease | Wednesday, 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

  • Decoding inflammatory signals from the extracellular matrix for the development of new immunotherapies | Kim S. Midwood, University of Oxford
  • Glycosylation in a common mechanism of colitis and sepsis | Jamey Marth, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
  • Genomewide analysis of heparan sulfate assembly | Jeffrey D. Esko, University of California, San Diego
  • PAMPs, DAMPs and SAMPs: Host glycans are self-associated molecular patterns, but subject to microbial molecular mimicry | Ajit Varki, University of California, San Diego

Glycosylation and extracellular matrix in neurologic and metabolic diseases | Thursday, 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

  • Protective roles of O-GlcNAc in neurodegenerative diseases | David Vocadlo, Simon Fraser University
  • The role of the O-GlcNAc transferase interactome in X-linked intellectual disability | Lance Wells, University of Georgia Complex Carbohydrate Research Center
  • Role of ECM in the brain-gut connection | Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, University of California, Los Angeles Brain Injury Research Center
  • The role of metabolism in modulating radiation fibrosis | Fei-Fei Liu, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto

Lipids and membranes

This track will showcase the multitude of hats worn in both health and disease by the various lipid membranes that separate cells and encapsulate collections of organelles.

Keywords: lipids, membrane dynamics, homeostatic mechanisms, lipid metabolism, membrane proteins.

Novel roles of lipids in health and disease | Tuesday, 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • BSCL2/Seipin in lipid catabolism and lipodystrophy | Weiqin Chen, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University
  • The role of organelle contact during chlamydia developmental cycle | Chia-Hsueh Lee, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
  • Tissue-specific roles of cardiolipin in the control of systemic energy homeostasis | Zachary Gerhart-Hines, University of Copenhagen
  • SPTLC1 mutations associated with early onset amyotrophic lateral sclerosis | Teresa Dunn–Giroux, Uniformed Services University

How lipids impact the structure and function of membrane proteins | Wednesday, 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

  • Cardiolipin-dependent carriers | Steven Claypool, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Membrane proteins — the lipid connection | Carol Robinson, University of Oxford
  • Structural basis of lipid scrambling and ion conduction by TMEM16 scramblases | Alessio Accardi, Weill Cornell Medical College
  • Structural insights into TRPV channel gating | Vera Moiseenkova-Bell, University of Pennsylvania

Membrane biogenesis and trafficking | Thursday, 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

  • Lipid droplet proteome dynamics and lipotoxicity | James Olzmann, University of California, Berkeley
  • Mechanistic approaches towards understanding physicochemical membrane homeostasis in the endoplasmic reticulum | Robert Ernst, Saarland University
  • The role of VPS13 and related proteins in glycerolipid transport at membrane contact sites | Karin Reinisch, Yale University School of Medicine
  • Cold-induced lipid dynamics in thermogenic fat | Yu-Hua Tseng, Harvard University Medical School


This track will offer updates on the role of the mitochondria beyond energy production in metabolism, ion homeostasis, and determination of the fate of cells and tissues by metabolites and their transporters.

Keywords: NAD, metabolite and ion transporters, sirtuins, mitochondria, metabolism.

NAD synthesis, salvage and sirtuins in tissue health | Tuesday, 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • A conserved role of CBP/p300 in mitochondrial stress response and longevity | Johan Auwerx, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
  • Mitochondrial NAD transport | Joseph A. Baur, University of Pennsylvania
  • Chromatin regulation and genome maintenance by mammalian SIRT6 and SIRT7 | Katrin F. Chua, Stanford University and VA Palo Alto Health Care System
  • Systemic NAD+ deficiency in mitochondrial muscle disease is treatable by niacin | Anu Suomalainen Wartiovaara, University of Helsinki

Control of cell fate by metabolic intermediates | Wednesday, 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

  • Microbiome catabolites as novel modulators of cellular glucose and energy metabolism | Gary Williamson, Monash University
  • Metabolic modulation of cardiac health: The role of glucose and amino acids | Rong Tian, University of Washington
  • Control of macrophage activation by coenzyme A | Ajit Divakaruni, University of California, Los Angeles
  • A quantitative tissue-specific landscape of protein redox regulation during aging | Edward Chouchani, Harvard University

New insights into control of metabolism by transporters | Thursday, 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

  • Glutamine transporter as a target of mTOR signaling modulating longevity | John M. Sedivy, Brown University
  • Title to come | Eric Taylor, University of Iowa
  • Role of mitochondrial calcium in the maintenance of skeletal muscle homeostasis | Anna Raffaello, University of Padova

Molecular motors

Presentations in this track will cover a wide range of experimental and technical approaches, such as advances in structural biology, single molecule biophysics and super-resolution imaging. It also will cover novel conceptual advances, including new insights into the design of natural and synthetic molecular machines and how energy is transduced to power biological nanomachines at the molecular level.

Keywords: molecular motors, protein complexes, transporters, force generation and transduction, supramolecular assemblies.

Molecular machines: New paradigms in structure, function and engineering | Tuesday, 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Activation of the exocyst tethering complex for SNARE complex regulation and membrane fusion | Mary Munson, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Sugary coats: Synthesis and secretion of extracellular polysaccharides | Jochen Zimmer, University of Virginia School of Medicine
  • The ESCRT membrane scission machine | James Hurley, University of California, Berkeley
  • HiFi molecular transmission via crisscross cooperativity | William Shih, Harvard University

Molecular motors | Wednesday, 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

  • Integrated 3D tomography and computational modeling to study forces in metaphase spindles | Stefanie Redemann, University of Virginia School of Medicine
  • Single-molecule biophysics | Carlos Bustamante, University of California, Berkeley
  • Myosin: Structure, function, regulation and disease | Michelle Peckham, University of Leeds
  • Watching a fine-tuned molecular machine at work: Structural and functional studies of the 26S proteasome | Andreas Martin, University of California, Berkeley

Molecular motors in transport, biosynthesis and energy transduction | Thursday, 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

  • Functional assembly of the mitochondrial protein transport machinery | Nathan Alder, University of Connecticut
  • Structure of the alternative complex III from flavobacterium johnsoniae in a supercomplex with cytochrome c oxidase | Robert Gennis, University of Illinois
  • An AAA-ATPase using an airlock-like translocation mechanism for folded proteins | Roland Beckmann, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
  • Nascent protein selection and triage at the ribosome exit site | Shu-ou Shan, California Institute of Technology

RNA and disease

This track will focus on discoveries in humans and model systems related to transfer RNAs, tRNA fragments and Piwi-interacting RNAs — their biogenesis, functions and roles in development and disease.

Keywords: small noncoding RNAs, RNA modification, RNA binding proteins, tRNA, piRNA, miRNA, tRNA fragments, gene expression, stem cells, muscle cells, development, cancer.

Noncoding RNAs and disease | Tuesday, 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • tRNA: Splicing and subcellular dynamics | Anita Hopper, Ohio State University
  • The role of tRNA derived small RNAs in gene regulation in normal tissues and cancer | Mark Kay, Stanford University
  • The Piwi-piRNA pathway: A new paradigm in gene regulation | Haifan Lin, Yale University
  • piRNA biogenesis and function in drosophila | Mikiko Siomi, University of Tokyo

RNA modifications and disease | Wednesday, 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

  • RNA modification in cancer | Jianjun Chen, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope
  • RNA modifications in health and disease | Tsutomu Suzuki, University of Tokyo
  • tRNA quality control: Mechanisms, evolution and implications for human disease | Eric Phizicky, University of Rochester Medical Center

RNA binding proteins and control of RNA biogenesis in disease | Thursday, 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

  • Reprogramming cell fates by RNA binding proteins in stem cells and cancer | Takahiro Ito, University of Georgia
  • The RNA exosome and genetic disease | Anita Corbett, Emory University
  • RNA, chromatin and the coordinated control of gene expression | Tracy Johnson, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Connections between mRNP composition and mRNA fate | Guramrit Singh, Ohio State University

Understanding the rules of life

This track will have speakers using computational, modeling, biochem and molbio approaches to capture dynamic data, analyze changes over time and make predictions.

Keywords: computation, modeling, cell fate, cell decision, signal transduction, synthetic cell.

Cell decision making | Tuesday, 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Lifelong analysis of key aging genes as determinants of lifespan in C. elegans | Adriana San Miguel, North Carolina State University
  • Nuclear mechanics in migrating cells | Tanmay Lele, University of Florida
  • Clocks, hourglasses and history-dependent clocks | Arvind Murugan, University of Chicago

Computational approaches to regulation of gene expression | Wednesday, 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

  • Leveraging microfluidics for high-throughput studies of transcription factor/DNA binding | Polly Fordyce, Stanford University
  • Synthetic NF-kB: A building approach to study complex signaling behaviors | Ping Wei, Peking University Center for Quantitative Biology
  • Title to come | Neal Devaraj, University of California, San Diego

Who we are and what we do

This track will challenge the ways in which we teach, mentor and carry out our work within the scientific research and academic culture.

Keywords: inclusion, diversity, wellness, active learning, pedagogy, #MeToo, mentorship, discipline-based education research, interdisciplinarity

Who we are: Creating a culture of wellness in science | Tuesday, 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Preventing and overcoming harassment | Alex Helman, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
  • An asset-based approach to advancing Latina students in STEM; increasing resilience, participation and success | Elsa Gonzalez, University of Houston
  • Promoting mental well-being | Nathan Vanderford, University of Kentucky
  • Mentorship best practices | Joanne Kamens, Addgene

What we do: Choosing pedagogy over content | Wednesday, 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

  • Grand challenges: building interdisciplinary communities to tackle complex global issues | Jodi Schwarz, Vassar College
  • Teaching biochemistry in context | Daniel Dries, Juniata College
  • Using narrative in STEM education | Reneta Lansiquot, New York City College of Technology
  • Reimagining STEM education to help underrepresented students thrive in the classroom | Shannon Z. Jones, University of Richmond

ASBMB last-chance abstract categories

Even if you missed the abstract deadline for the 2021 ASBMB Annual Meeting, you still have a few days left to submit your last-chance abstract! They're due Feb. 4. See the categories below and submit your abstract.

  • Genome dynamics: DNA replication, repair and recombination
  • RNA: Processing, transport and regulatory mechanisms
  • Protein synthesis, structure, modifications and interactions
  • Enzyme chemistry and catalysis
  • Chemical biology, drug discovery and bioanalytical methods
  • Genomics, proteomics and metabolomics
  • Signal transduction and cellular regulation
  • Bacteria and parasites: From microbiome to antibiotics
  • Metabolism and bioenergetics
  • Lipids and membranes
  • Biochemistry of organelles and organelle trafficking
  • Glycans and glycobiology
  • BMB education and professional development

Enjoy reading ASBMB Today?

Become a member to receive the print edition monthly and the digital edition weekly.

Learn more
ASBMB Today Staff

This article was written by a member or members of the ASBMB Today staff.

Featured jobs

from the ASBMB career center

Get the latest from ASBMB Today

Enter your email address, and we’ll send you a weekly email with recent articles, interviews and more.

Latest in Careers

Careers highlights or most popular articles

Learn, reflect and lead
Annual Meeting

Learn, reflect and lead

Sept. 26, 2022

This symposium, Educational Professional Development, will be part of #DiscoverBMB 2023 in March.

Calendar of events, awards and opportunities

Calendar of events, awards and opportunities

Sept. 25, 2022

Happening this week: The #DiscoverBMB abstract and travel-award system opens! Fast-track your abstract and get a decision in two weeks.

Purpose and gratitude boost academic engagement

Purpose and gratitude boost academic engagement

Sept. 24, 2022

“This study adds to a growing body of research that suggests having a deep sense of life purpose is important for people’s well-being, success and ability to cope with challenging life situations,” the author writes.

Following a passion for science — away from academia

Following a passion for science — away from academia

Sept. 23, 2022

Brittany Leigh does public relations for life science companies.

What is better for your career than a publication? A preprint.

What is better for your career than a publication? A preprint.

Sept. 22, 2022

“Depositing a paper outside of an academic journal allows an author to start promoting the work immediately,” Ken Hallenbeck writes.

Computation is the new experiment
Annual Meeting

Computation is the new experiment

Sept. 20, 2022

This symposium, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Structural Biology, Drug Design and Systems Biology. will be part of #DiscoverBMB 2023 in March.