Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: Research at the Interface of Biochemistry and Human Health


The world's two leading organizations for biochemistry and molecular biology will come together at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston June 12-16 for the combined annual meetings of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) and the 8th Annual Conference of the International Union for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

For five days in June, scientists from across the United States and the world will present the latest research on how cells work at the molecular level, and how scientists are using this new knowledge to create diagnostic profiles for diseases, intervene in disease processes, and develop new therapies and therapeutic approaches. The meeting theme, the "Molecular Exploration of the Cell," integrates some of the major research approaches in this rapidly expanding arena, including cellular biochemistry, molecular recognition, chemical biology, and bioinformatics.

ASBMB President Bettie Sue Masters says the 2004 meeting represents a rare opportunity for scientists from throughout the world to provide this kind of in-depth focus. ASBMB has met intermittently with FASEB since 1923, and since 2001 has joined other societies to meet in the multidisciplinary Experimental Biology meetings, sharing information across specialties. The society will do so again next year and through 2008, says Dr. Masters, but "this year, many members wanted an opportunity to meet with foreign colleagues in our disciplines, through a joint meeting with IUBMB, to explore new areas, including molecular and cellular proteomics, as well as to gain state-of-the-art information in the many areas to which our members contribute."

The June program is organized by John D. Scott, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Vollum Institute, Oregon Health Science University, Portland; Alexandra C. Newton, University of California at San Diego; and Julio Celis, Danish Cancer Society, and members of the program planning committee.

The program includes more than 100 individual presentations of new research findings; seven distinguished award lectures by scientists internationally honored for discoveries such as the molecular basis of the therapeutic action of aspirin, the mechanisms that modulate T-cell response, and the targeting of membrane-spanning receptors by new therapeutic drugs; and an intertwined series of symposia along 10 themes, which cover the major areas of cellular biochemistry. The meeting also includes the usual Society business meetings, receptions (including special receptions for minorities and women scientists), and an exhibit of the complex new technology required for much biochemistry/molecular biology research.

SYMPOSIA. The 10 themes of the symposia series are:

  • Cellular Organization and Dynamics, organized by Harald A. Stenmark, Norwegian Rad. Hospital, with individual symposia on topics such as biosensors and apoptosis.
  • Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics, organized by Charlie Boone, University of Toronto, and Michael Snyder, Yale University, with symposia on topics such as macromolecular machines and proteomics and medicine.
  • Integration of Signaling Mechanisms, organized by Kjetil Tasken, University of Oslo, Norway, with symposia on topics such as informatics and modeling of signaling pathways and genetic and molecular resolutions of signaling.
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology of Lipids, organized by Dennis Vance, University of Alberta, with symposia on topics such as lipids and obesity, obesity and minority populations, regulation of lipid biosynthesis, and how changes in fat cells influence energy metabolism of the organism.
  • Molecular Recognition and Catalysis organized by Jack E. Dixon, University of California at San Diego, with symposia on topics such as catalysis in health and disease and pathogens that intercept mammalian signal transduction pathways.
  • Protein Modifications and Turnover, organized by William J. Lennarz, SUNY at Stony Brook, with symposia on topics such as folding in the ER and degradation of proteins.
  • Protein Structures, Catalysis and Dynamics, organized by Susan Taylor, University of California at San Diego, with symposia on topics such as site-directed drug discovery and tethering and targeting of proteins.
  • Regulation of Gene Expression and Chromosome Transactions, organized by Joan W. Conaway, Stowers Institute for Medical Research, with symposia on topics such as how checkpoints respond to replication perturbations, DNA replication, and chromatin dynamics.
  • Signaling Pathways in Disease, organized by Alexandra Newton, University of California at San Diego, and John D. Scott, Vollum Institute, with symposia on topics including stress signaling pathways, cancer and the cell cycle, diagnostic profiling in disease, and the molecular basis of aging.
  • The Future of Education and Professional Developing in the Molecular Life Sciences Meeting, organized by J. Ellis Bell, University of Richmond, with symposia on topics including using the Internet; outreach activities in undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral education; and BioMolecules Alive, The ASBMB Digital Library.


The opening lecture on Saturday, June 12, is by Robert J. Lefkowitz, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Duke University Medical Center, and the winner of the first annual Herbert Tabor/Journal of Biological Chemistry Lectureship. The award honors ASBMB member Lefkowitz for his groundbreaking research on the most common family of receptors, including the beta-adrenergic receptors that mediate the body's fight or flight response as well as virtually all sensory receptors. Since the beta adrenergic receptors respond to the hormone adrenaline, continuing research on these receptors in the Lefkowitz laboratory is contributing to the development of a wide range of drugs to treat disorders including heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma, and pain.

Other ASBMB awards, with lectures by the recipients, go to Pehr A. B. Hjarbury, Stanford University School of Medicine, the Schering-Plough Research Institute Award; William L. Smith, University of Michigan Medical School, the ASBMB-Avanti Award in Lipids; Steven C. Almo, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the ASBMB-Amgen Award; Sunney I. Chan, California Institute of Technology, the William C. Rose Award; Jack L. Strominger, Harvard University, ASBMB-Merck Award; and Ronald W. Davis, Stanford University School of Medicine, the Herbert A. Sober Lectureship.

Philanthropist John Whitehead will receive the Howard K. Schachman Public Service Award.

Media contact: To register for the meeting, or receive more press information, contact Sarah Goodwin, media relations for ASBMB 2004, at 770-270-0989 or [email protected].

Daily media briefings will be held during the meeting, giving reporters an opportunity to hear leading scientists explain their research findings in lay language and to answer and to answer reporters' questions. Meeting updates will be posted at

Visit for more information on the meeting itself.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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