UB 2020 Symposium Highlights "Chemical Biology in the 21st Century"

Release Date: August 31, 2009 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Some of the most influential new ideas -- and the scientists who developed them -- in the emerging field of chemical biology are coming to the Sept. 12 symposium on "Chemical Biology in the 21st Century" sponsored by the University at Buffalo and Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute.

With its ability to use chemical, cellular and molecular biology techniques to develop treatments and cures for diseases, the field of chemical biology is generating increasing interest from a broad range of disciplines.

The symposium is the third annual program of the UB 2020 Strategic Strength in Molecular Recognition in Biological Systems and Bioinformatics, a cross-disciplinary effort to foster new scientific ideas throughout different departments and schools at UB and its partner institutions.

Joint co-sponsors of the event are the UB Department of Biochemistry in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, the departments of Biological Sciences and Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, and HWI.

It will be held in HWI, 700 Ellicott St. in Buffalo. More information is available at http://www.chemistry.buffalo.edu/seminars/special_seminars/

The program features Craig Crews of Yale University, Robert Batey of the University of Colorado, Sidney Hecht of Arizona State University and Wilfred van der Donk of the University of Illinois, as well as UB faculty members: Matt Disney of the Department of Chemistry, Paul Gollnick of the Department of Biological Sciences, Jennifer Surtees of the Department of Biochemistry and Andrew Gulick of HWI and the UB Department of Structural Biology.

The talks will focus on the role of protein and nucleic acids in biological processes.

Jorge V. José, UB vice president for research, will make opening remarks. Qing Lin, Matt Disney and John Richard of the Department of Chemistry are the symposium organizers.

"Life is complicated," said Richard, "and while individual scientists possess unique strengths suitable to solve certain problems, they often need to rely on the expertise of others to make true progress. Scientists who share a broad collection of interests in chemistry and biology, and who appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of all research in the biological sciences are sometimes referred to as chemical biologists. Chemical biologists most often focus on fundamental problems in science that provide breakthroughs that serve as a spring-board for the development of new treatments and cures for diseases."

The organizers say the symposium is designed to get physical scientists, such as chemists, who reduce living processes to their underlying molecular events, together with biologists and biomedical scientists interested in developing a holistic understanding of these processes. An important goal of this work is to identify drug targets as the first step in developing new therapeutic agents.

The symposium clearly reflects the goals of the UB strategic strength in molecular recognition, said Kenneth Blumenthal, Ph.D., professor and chair of biochemistry in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who also chairs the strength's Faculty Advisory Committee.

"This symposium is designed to bring together physical and biomedical scientists so as to explore new avenues to which they can apply their expertise," said Blumenthal. "We expect this symposium, and others like it, to lead to new individual and multi-investigator research programs and grants."

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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