Hundreds of leading international chemists and biologists have begun to arrive on the Gold Coast for the 7th Asian Biological Inorganic Chemistry Conference (AsBIC7).

To be held at Crowne Plaza (Surfers Paradise) from November 30 to December 5, the conference has attracted delegates from more than 20 countries, including Japan, China, South Korea, India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, the UK, Italy, Germany and the US.

Griffith University is a major sponsor for AsBIC7, which will be co-chaired by the Dean of the Griffith Graduate Research School, Professor Sue Berners-Price, and the University of Queensland’s Professor Graeme Hanson.

Biological inorganic chemistryis a growing field of science that studies the chemistry of metals in biological systems. It has impacts across fields ranging from medicine to the environment. Studies of the roles of metal ions in biological systems often involve the development of relevant chemistry, new methodologies of investigation and the application of advanced physical techniques.

The Gold Coast forum has support from Tourism Events Queensland and represents the first time Australia has hosted an AsBIC conference, thus creating a significant opportunity for the nation’s scientists.

“AsBIC conferences address issues at the forefront of biological inorganic chemistry, with a special emphasis on the developments coming out of the Asia-Pacific region, which is the hub for this still niche area of science,” says Professor Berners-Price.

“To that end, it provides a wonderful opportunity for our scientists to develop important relationships with their international counterparts, seek new scientific collaborations and share and expand knowledge about what is happening in the field.

“Over the next week, I hope we will build on the success of previous meetings held in Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, China, India and Japan.”

Queensland’s Chief Scientist, Dr Geoff Garrett AO, will officially launch AsBIC7 on Sunday before the conference embarks on a packed and diverse agenda of plenary sessions, workshops, presentations and social engagements.

Conference themes include Metals in Medicine, Metals in Physiology and Disease, Environmental Biological Inorganic Chemistry and Molecular Imaging-Multiple Modalities.

Speakers include:

Professor Shunichi Fukuzumi, from Japan’s Osaka University, best known for his work in artificial photosynthesis, a chemical process that mimics the natural process of photosynthesis to produce energy;

Professor Jiangyun Wan, from the Institute of Biophysics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, known for his work in metalloenzyme design and genetic code expansion;

Professor Dr Wolfgang Lubitz, from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion, whose focus on spectroscopy and computational chemistry has applications in native and artificial photosynthesis;

Professor Peter Sadler, from the University of Warwick, whose research is centred around the chemistry of metals in medicine.

Professor Sadler conducted a pre-conference seminar at Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics today (November 28), discussing research, findings and new methods in the use of biological inorganic chemistry in the fight against cancer.