Chemical biology

Next-generation opportunities

Discovery often happens in the gaps between disciplines, and with the world’s population projected to grow from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050, the next generation of chemists and biologists will use those discoveries to tackle new challenges. These challenges range from controlling microbial infections to improving food production, understanding cellular communications and managing global sustainability. Chemists and biologists are approaching these fundamental questions armed with vast genomic information, powerful analytical tools and an eye toward solving real-world problems. This 2016 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting symposium highlights research that crosses the boundaries between chemistry and biology and explores new applications and opportunities for chemical biology.

Welcome to the postantibiotic era

Last year, the World Health Organization warned of a coming postantibiotic era resulting from the spread of resistance to antimicrobials. This first session will examine how chemical biologists are using new strategies for antibiotic discovery and for understanding resistance mechanisms.

The greening of chemical biology

Although chemical biology has its roots and many successes in biomedicine, its application to plant organisms is just beginning. The second session highlights how the interplay of chemistry and biology is advancing knowledge both of how plants grow and of the biosynthesis of pharmaceutically important molecules.

Chemical communication, biological regulation

All organisms use small molecules for communication to control biological responses. These inputs and responses occur inside cells and across the environment. New approaches for visualizing and manipulating metabolic and cellular systems are the focus of this third session.

Chemistry, biology and sustainability

The challenges of global sustainability are wide-ranging and complicated. But there are rich, new opportunities for the application of chemistry and biology to these challenges. This final session will showcase how advances in biocatalysis and systems/pathway engineering are aiming to meet these problems.


Erin Carlson

Erin Carlson, University of Minnesota

Joseph Jez

Joseph Jez, Washington University in St. Louis