Chemical biology


Discovery often happens in the gaps between disciplines, and with the world’s population projected to grow from 7 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 ASBMB annual meeting symposium highlights research that crosses the boundaries between chemistry and biology and explores new applications and opportunities for chemical biology.

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Bioinorganic catalysis


Enzymes are the sophisticated molecular machines that accelerate myriad biochemical reactions occurring in nature. For nearly a century, a large body of research has provided a wealth of insight into enzyme-catalyzed reactions and allowed us to learn a tremendous amount about how enzymes function. But despite this, there is still a lot to be unraveled about enzymes. In a symposium at the 2016 ASBMB annual meeting, our invited speakers will take the audience on a tour of the forefront of enzyme research, offering a look under the hood of some of the most sophisticated enzymes.

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Lipids and lipid signaling


It has become increasingly clear that lipids play key roles as structural, signaling and regulatory molecules. Understanding pathways of lipid metabolism regulation is fundamental to deciphering how cells and organisms grow, develop and respond to external stimuli. Four sessions of the 2016 ASBMB annual meeting will feature leaders in the research of lipid function in health and disease.

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Metabolism, disease and drug design


The ultimate goal of most scientists who work in biological chemistry is to understand and affect human health. As our understanding of biological processes at both the macroscopic and molecular levels increases in complexity, new approaches and concepts rapidly feed into drug discovery programs, producing new tools that further inform our understanding in an iterative way. Drug discovery is an early adopter of biochemical innovation, and this 2016 ASBMB annual meeting symposium will highlight some of the approaches being taken to engage the most recent advances in biochemistry and molecular biology.

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Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease


Currently afflicting more than 30 percent of the U.S. population, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD, rapidly has emerged as a major epidemic. Although the disease is disproportionately prevalent in Hispanic Americans, increasing incidences in India and Brazil highlight its global impact. NAFLD is the most common cause of liver failure and transplantation and the most prevalent liver disorder in industrialized nations, and it is linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dyslipidemia and metabolic syndrome. Three sessions at the 2016 ASBMB annual meeting not only will provide an update on the signaling pathways that contribute to hepatic dysfunction and NAFLD but also will provide insight into the genetic determinants that contribute to the etiology of the disease.

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Protein synthesis and degradation


Until the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis in the 1980s, central dogma dictated that protein translation was the point of functional regulation. Now it is believed that spatial and temporal regulation of protein functions can be achieved either during translation or by controlled proteolysis through the proteasome or the more recently characterized autophagy pathway. This 2016 ASBMB annual meeting theme will consider how, as new tools and methods are developed, unanticipated paradigms are being formed in this complex and exciting field.

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Cell signaling, kinase and chemotherapy


Kinase-mediated signaling plays essential roles in cell growth, differentiation and homeostasis. Kinases signal by switching between “on” and “off” conformational states, and many inputs regulate the activity of each specific kinase. Abnormal kinase activity, often the result of mutation, is associated with many cancers, and kinase inhibitors have become a highly successful and growing class of anti-cancer agents. This 2016 ASBMB annual meeting symposium will focus on emerging insights into the molecular mechanisms by which kinase activity is regulated and how these insights are influencing strategies to target kinase activity in cancer.

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Glycoscience in biology


Carbohydrates are the only one of the four major biomolecules of life that modifies the other three. This is perhaps unsurprising, since glycosylation is well suited for increasing the functional diversity of resulting glycoconjugates. The various monosaccharides found in glycans, coupled with the variability in how they are attached to each other, confers onto glycans incredibly high information content that is reflected in their diverse structures and topologies. This 2016 ASBMB annual meeting theme session will focus on how glycosylation impacts biology and how technological advances are providing novel insights into the roles of glycans in basic cellular processes and pathophysiologies.

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Systems biology and proteomics


Understanding a complex biological system, be it a single cell, multicellular organism or multispecies consortia, requires understanding its language: its means of functional communication between numerous individual components. In a postgenomic era, the next bottleneck of this learning process is mapping meaningful combinations of individual “words” — that is, active components. This challenging endeavor requires integration of high-throughput experimental platforms (most importantly, proteomics) with computational modeling. In this 2016 ASBMB annual meeting symposium, experts from these intersecting fields will enlighten us as to how to decode the language of molecular complexes and interactions in various biological systems. 

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Biochemistry education


Nobelist Sir William Lawrence Bragg once said, “The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.” This quote raises the question of how today’s educators should structure training programs so that students maintain their sense of wonder about the world both in and out of academia. The 2016 ASBMB annual meeting education and professional development theme explores how programs can offer a deep and quantitative understanding of biochemistry and molecular biology, engage students on both a theoretical and an experiential level, and prepare them for a range of STEM careers.

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Chromatin organization and gene regulation


The field of gene regulation has undergone a series of important developments. Among these are an ever greater understanding of the enzymes and proteins that shape chromatin architecture and the realization that 3-D chromatin architecture is involved intimately in gene regulation. The development of high-throughput technologies for defining chromatin structure and organization, the identification of potential cis-regulatory sequences at a genomic level, and the discovery of roles for noncoding RNAs in chromatin remodeling and gene regulation have facilitated this paradigm shift. This symposium at the 2016 ASBMB annual meeting will make sense of these developments and consider the intimate links between transcription regulation, genomic stability and human disease.

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DNA replication, repair and recombination


Every human cell contains roughly two meters’ worth of DNA. As a consequence of this great length, over the course of an average human lifetime, the body will have synthesized enough DNA to reach approximately halfway to the nearest star, two light-years away! How cells manage to make this extraordinary amount of DNA while avoiding errors that can lead to mutation and disease remains one of the foremost questions in molecular biology. This 2016 ASBMB annual meeting symposium will focus on how DNA replication, repair and recombination is done right.

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Protein engineering


The 2016 ASBMB Annual Meeting will feature two new sessions organized by graduate students and postdocs. The “Straight from the Bench” symposia feature new and emerging topics of great interest to these young scientists, and we expect that they will pique your interest too. Find out more about the session "Recent advances in protein engineering."

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PTMs and the microorganism response


The 2016 ASBMB Annual Meeting will feature two new sessions organized by graduate students and postdocs. The “Straight from the Bench” symposia feature new and emerging topics of great interest to these young scientists, and we expect that they will pique your interest too. Find out more about the session "Post-translational modifications and the microorganism response."

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