Invited speakers

Symposium sessions

Hear leading experts invited to present and discuss the latest discoveries and cutting-edge science at these symposia. 

See up-to-date session dates and times in the schedule

Advances in natural product biochemistry and biotechnology

Organizers
Yi Tang, University of California, Los Angeles
Katherine Ryan, University of British Columbia

Name any newfangled biotechnology challenge and there’s a decent chance that Mother Nature already came up with a solution literally a billion years ago. Living organisms have a knack for producing useful molecules, and there’s a ridiculous amount we can learn from them to speed up chemical reactions, find new drugs and produce chemical products sustainably. Prepare to be wowed by the plethora of discoveries in natural products from genomes, microbiomes and animals shared at this symposium.

Natural products from higher eukaryotes and animals

Chair: Yi Tang

  • Bradley Moore, University of California, San Diego
  • Rebecca Butcher, University of Florida
  • Emily Derbyshire, Duke University
  • Jing-Ke Weng, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Natural products from microbiomes and symbionts

Chair: Katherine Ryan

  • Jason Crawford, Yale University
  • Bo Li, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Alessandra Eustaquio, University of Illinois Chicago
  • Mohammad Seyedsayamdost, Princeton University

Biochemistry and biotechnology of natural product genome mining

Chair: Alessandra Eustaquiol

  • Jamie Link, Princeton University
  • Katherine Ryan, University of British Columbia
  • Gerald Wright, McMaster University
  • Yi Tang, University of California, Los Angeles

Theme song: "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane

Cool and novel enzymes

Organizers
Shelley D. Copley, University of Colorado Boulder
Hung-wen (Ben) Liu, University of Texas at Austin

Enzymes know how to make things happen! Find out how to put them to work for you in this symposium highlighting thrilling new discoveries about enzyme functions, mechanisms and applications. Meet enzymes that manage misbehaving metabolites and explore how they can be used to catalyze novel reactions, boost biodegradation and synthesize chemicals currently produced from petrochemicals.

Enzymatic control of problematic intermediates

Chair: Hung-Wen (Ben) Liu

  • Shelley D. Copley, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Tom Niehaus, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • Shelley Minteer, University of Utah
  • Carole Linster, University of Luxembourg

Enzymes for a sustainable future

Chair: Shelley D. Copley

  • Gregg Beckham, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Larry Wackett, University of Minnesota
  • Michelle Chang, University of California, Berkeley
  • Raquel Lieberman, Georgia Institute of Technology

New and unusual enzymatic transformations

Chair: Michelle Chang

  • Hung-wen (Ben) Liu, University of Texas at Austin
  • Aimin Liu, University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Jennifer Bridwell-Rabb, University of Michigan
  • Wenjun Zhang, University of California, Berkeley

Theme song: “Still Crazy After All These Years” by Paul Simon

Education and professional development

Organizers
Saumya Ramanathan, Fisk University
Craig Streu, Albion College
Nancy Rice, University of South Alabama

The future of our field is walking into your lab or classroom today. As Gen Z bursts onto the scene with creativity and tech savvy to the max, they’ve got big ambitions and a lot to offer. This symposium will examine challenges and best practices for equitable teaching, assessment and student-involved research. Bring your experiences and opinions (we know you’ve got ’em) and grapple with that burning question on everyone’s mind: What’s the role of AI in the classroom?

Challenges and best practices: Running a research program primarily with undergraduate students

Chair: Saumya Ramanathan

  • Danae Schulz, Harvey Mudd College
  • Craig Streu, Albion College
  • Sharifa Love—Rutledge, University of Alabama, Huntsville
  • Alberto Rascon, Arizona State University

AI in the classroom: disruptor or enhancer?

Chair: Craig Streu

  • Susan Holechek, Arizona State University
  • John Nash, University of Kentucky
  • Emily Ruff, Winona State University
  • John Tansey, Otterbein University

Assessment and curricular practices: Teaching and engaging with Gen Z

Chair: Nancy Rice

  • Eleanor Close, Texas State University
  • Orla Hart, Purdue University
  • Amy Chasteen, University of Southern Mississippi
  • Jeremiah HenningUniversity of South Alabama

Theme songs: “Titanium” by David Guetta (feat. Sia) & “Unstoppable” by Sia

Lipid metabolism

Organizers
Maria Fedorova, Dresden University of Technology
Neale D. Ridgway, Dalhousie University

Lipids may be most famous for their role in making membranes, but these captivating compounds do so much more. Hundreds of distinct lipid species are integral to signaling pathways involved in cell survival, differentiation, motility, immune response and countless other functions. This symposium celebrates all things lipid: Delve into how they’re made, how they degrade and how their many forms and functions keep cells ticking.

Cellular topology of lipid metabolism

Chair: Toni Petan

  • Neale D. Ridgway, Dalhousie University
  • Greg Fairn, Dalhousie University
  • Shirin Bahmanyar, Yale University
  • Miriam L. Greenberg, Wayne State University

Lipid quality control in cell survival and death

Chair: Neale D. Ridgway

  • Michele Woelk, Dresden University of Technology
  • Toni Petan, Jožef Stefan Institute
  • James Olzmann, University of California, Berkeley
  • G. Ekin Atilla–Gokcumen, University of Buffalo

Spatial lipidomics — tracing lipids in cells at molecular level

Chair: James Olzmann

  • Arun Radhakrishnan, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • André Nadler, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
  • Kandice Levental, University of Virginia

Theme song: “Fat Dance” by Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Maximizing Access Committee

Organizers
Sonia Flores, University of Colorado School of Medicine
Kayunta Johnson–Winters, University of Texas at Arlington
Karla Neugebauer, Yale School of Medicine
Jonathan Kelber, Baylor University
Ruma Banerjee, University of Michigan

Biochemistry and climate change

Chairs: Kayunta Johnson-Winters & Karla Neugebauer

Change is in the air, but it’s also in the chemistry. In this symposium, we’ll explore emerging insights into the molecular and cellular mechanisms that influence how living things respond to change. As climate changes alter temperature, salt, pH, nutrients and other conditions, biochemistry will be central to our ability to anticipate problems and imagine new solutions.

  • Asiya Gusa, Duke University
  • James A. DeMayo, University of Colorado-Denver
  • Yixian Zheng, Carnegie Institution for Science
  • Teresa Horton, Northwestern University

Cancer biology

Chair: Jonathan Kelber

What stresses a cancer cell? Join us and find out how cancer cells adapt to intrinsic and extrinsic stressors as they interact with their surroundings, grapple for nutrients and grow old. Cancer researchers, cell biologists and biochemists won’t want to miss this chance to scrutinize stress and consider how new findings could point to improved treatment strategies.

  • Jonathan Kelber, Baylor University
  • Elda Grabocka, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Christina Towers, Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • Mark LaBarge, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope

NIH and NSF perspectives on diversifying STEM

Sponsored by the ASBMB MOSAIC program

Chair: Ruma Banerjee

  • Andrea Beckel–Mitchener, National Institute of Mental Health
  • David Rockcliffe, National Science Foundation
  • Ronen Marmorstein, University of Pennsylvania

 

Theme songs: "Imagine" by John Lennon & “Stressed Out” by A Tribe Called Quest

Membrane contact sites

Organizers
Christopher T. Beh, Simon Fraser University
Jen Liou, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Bond with your colleagues over membrane contacts! Tethering proteins that attach membranes within eukaryotic cells are the ultimate intracellular Velcro. Join us as we marvel at the myriad ways membrane contact sites affect cell growth — from protecting against stress, to fashioning clever structural elements, to regulating metabolism and cell signaling as conduits for lipid and metabolite exchange between membranes.

Regulation of lipid transfer and metabolism at membrane contact sites

Chair: Jen Liou

  • Hongyuan Yang, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
  • Jen Liou, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Alexandre Toulmay, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Arash Bashirullah, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Membrane signaling at membrane contact sites

Chair: Thomas Simmen

  • Thomas Simmen, University of Alberta
  • Jay Tan, University of Pittsburgh
  • Alissa Weaver, Vanderbilt University
  • Chi-Lun Chang, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Specialized membrane contact site functions

Chair: Christopher T. Beh

  • Isabelle Derré, University of Virginia
  • Aaron Neiman, Stony Brook University
  • Raul Andino, University of California, San Francisco
  • Christopher T. Beh, Simon Fraser University

Theme song: Dave Fenley cover of “Stuck on you” by Lionel Richie

Microbial signaling, communication and metabolism

Organizers
Peter Chien, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Jade Wang, University of Wisconsin–Madison

OMG, did you hear what Vibrio fischeri said about the bobtail party they were at last night? It positively glowed! This symposium will catch you up on the latest microbial gossip as we listen in on the small-molecule signals bacteria use to communicate with each other, decipher how microbial machines coordinate massively complex regulatory and responsive strategies, and untangle the vast webs of interactions and intrigue within members of microbial communities.

Signaling nucleotides in microbes

Chair: Jade Wang

  • Vincent T. Lee, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Ming Chen Hammond, University of Utah
  • Emily E. Weinert, Pennsylvania State University
  • Jade Wang, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Microbial machines

Chair: Peter Chien

  • Peter Chien, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Erin Goley, Johns Hopkins University
  • Monica Guo, University of Washington
  • Briana Burton, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Microbial communities

Chair: Erin Goley

  • Stavroula Hatzios, Yale University
  • John Whitney, McMaster University
  • Christopher S. Hayes, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Ami S. Bhatt, Stanford University

Theme song: "We're spending most of lives living in a microbe’s paradise" (based on Coolio)

Mitochondria, peroxisomes and chloroplast metabolism

Organizers
Pere Puigserver, Dana–Farber Cancer Institute; Harvard Medical School
Greg Moorhead, University of Calgary

Who doesn’t love organelles? With their specialized biochemistry, architecture and metabolism, these cellular components each come with their own quirky personality. In this symposium, we’ll dish the latest deets on the metabolic pathways in mighty mitochondria, peppy peroxisomes and that fabulous green goddess, the chloroplast.

Peroxisome biogenesis/metabolism

Chair: Tom Rapoport

  • Francesca Di Cara, Dalhousie University
  • Brooke Gardner, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Tom Rapoport, Harvard Medical School; HHMI
  • Irfan Lodhi, Washington University in St. Louis

Protein covalent modifications and chloroplast metabolism

Chair: Greg Moorhead

  • Greg Moorhead, University of Calgary
  • Glen Uhrig, University of Alberta
  • R. Paul Jarvis, University of Oxford
  • Paula Mulo, University of Turku

Mitochondria energetics/metabolism

Chair: Pere Puigserver

  • Dave Pagliarini, Washington University School of Medicine
  • Pere Puigserver, Dana–Farber Cancer Institute; Harvard Medical School
  • Lena Pernas, Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing
  • Rebecca Voorhees, California Institute of Technology

Theme song: “The Cell” by Gojira

New frontiers in structural biology

Organizers
Jose Rodriguez, University of California, Los Angeles
Hosea Nelson, California Institute of Technology

Emerging tools for illuminating the inner structures of molecules could soon make Superman’s X-ray vision seem like mere child’s play. In this symposium, we’ll zoom in on how the ability to see the position of individual atoms — or to predict structures with high enough accuracy to predict function — could unleash vast new opportunities to understand, build, target, and react molecules.

The rise of molecular assemblies

Chair: Rebecca Vorhees

  • Sarah Shahmoradian, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Lorena Saelices, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Jose Rodriguez, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Mark Witmer, Bristol Myers Squibb

New approaches enabling structural science

Chair: Jose Rodriguez

  • Roger Castells–Graells, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Hosea Nelson, California Institute of Technology
  • Hong Zhou, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Chengcheng Fan, California Institute of Technology

Seeing the chemistry of life

Chair: Hosea Nelson

  • Lindsey R.F. Backman, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
  • Douglas Rees, California Institute of Technology
  • Stephanie Ribet, Lawrence Berkeley National Library
  • Zhen Chen, California Institute of Technology

Theme song: “Shine a Light” by The Rolling Stones

Redox and metals in biology

Organizers
Siavash Kurdistani, University of California, Los Angeles
Gina DeNicola, Moffitt Cancer Center

Cells walk a knife’s edge when it comes to oxidation and metals. Too little and proteins misfold or signals misfire. Too much triggers cell death. How do they keep the balance? This symposium calls all metalheads and redox biologists to get revved up about metal acquisition and dependencies, mechanisms of metal stress, and redox metabolism and vulnerabilities.

Advances in redox homeostasis in biology and disease

Chair: Urbain Weyemi

  • Kivanç Birsoy, Rockefeller University
  • Jessica Spinelli, University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School
  • Urbain Weyemi, National Cancer Institute
  • Elena Piskounova, Weill Cornell Medicine

Iron in redox biology: mechanisms and regulation

Chair: Gina DeNicola

  • Adam Hughes, University of Utah
  • James Wohlschlegel, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Hongying Shen, Yale University
  • Gina DeNicola, Moffitt Cancer Center

Copper in redox biology: From fundamental chemistry to cellular function

Chair: Siavash Kurdistani

  • Katherine Franz, Duke University
  • Peter Tsvetkov, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
  • Deborah Fass, Weizmann Institute of Science
  • Siavash Kurdistani, University of California, Los Angeles

Theme song: “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath

RNA biology

Organizers
Katrin Karbstein, UF Scripps Institute for Biomedical Innovation & Technology
Jeremy E. Wilusz, Baylor College of Medicine

RNA is at the heart of some of the trendiest recent developments such as COVID-19 vaccines, CRISPR and siRNAs — and it’s only just getting started. Get up to speed on the science behind the splashy headlines and find out why RNA is considered one of the most promising drug targets and platforms at this stimulating symposium. We’ll trace the RNA life cycle, probe how it’s translated into protein and find out how RNA regulation factors into neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.

RNA biogenesis and processing

Chair: Homa Ghalei

  • Tracy L. Johnson, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Hiten D. Madhani, University of California, San Francisco
  • Jeremy E. Wilusz, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Joshua T. Mendell, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Ribosomes and translation

Chair: Katrin Karbstein

  • Shu-ou Shan, California Institute of Technology
  • Ruben L. Gonzalez, Columbia University
  • Homa Ghalei, Emory University
  • Amy S.Y. Lee, Dana–Farber Cancer Institute; Harvard Medical School

RNA and disease

Chair: Jeremy E. Wilusz

  • Blake Wiedenheft, Montana State University
  • Shuying Sun, Johns Hopkins University
  • Olga Anczukow, Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine
  • Katrin Karbstein, UF Scripps Institute for Biomedical Innovation & Technology

Theme song: “Friend like me” from “Aladdin”

 

Signaling mechanisms in the nucleus

Organizers
Glen Liszczak, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Aaron Johnson, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

The nucleus has long been revered as the control center of eukaryotic cells. But what exactly regulates the intricacies of what goes on in there, what happens when things go awry and how could new therapeutic approaches help right the ship? This symposium will keep you on the edge of your seat with gripping nuclear detective work, machines of extraordinary complexity and visually stunning landscapes as we focus a new lens on longstanding questions about organism development, cellular identity and the genetic basis for disease.

Chemical strategies to study nuclear processes

Chair: Aaron Johnson

  • Anna Mapp, University of Michigan
  • Glen Liszczak, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Oliver Bell, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine
  • Minkui Luo, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Chromatin organization, replication and repair

Chair: Katharine Diehl

  • Vijay Ramani, Gladstone Institute
  • Aaron Johnson, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
  • Carl Wu, Johns Hopkins University
  • Serena Sanulli, Stanford University

Chromatin modifications in the nucleus

Chair: Glen Liszczak

  • Katharine Diehl, University of Utah
  • Tim Stasevich, Colorado State University
  • Phil Cole, Harvard University

Theme song: “Journey to the Island” by John Williams

 

ASBMB journals

Journal of Biological Chemistry symposium

Chair: Philip A. Cole, Harvard University

Since 1905, the JBC has stood as a leading outlet for scientists across disciplines to share mechanistic insights on the molecular and cellular basis of biological processes. Join JBC editors for a special symposium featuring the hottest topics at the forefront of the field today at this symposium chaired by JBC Associate Editor Phil Cole of Harvard University.

  • Henrik G. Dohlman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Brian D. Strahl, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Kirill Martemyanov, The Scripps Research Institute

The power and diversity of proteomics: A symposium by Molecular & Cellular Proteomics

Chair: Al Burlingame, University of California, San Francisco

Join us for a special symposium organized by MCP Editor-in-Chief Al Burlingame of the University of California, San Francisco, on current issues in the development and applications of proteomics in basic and translational research. Explore cutting-edge techniques being used to profile bacterial proteomes, map excitable domains in neurons, understand antigen presentation and disentangle complex cell hierarchies.

  • Miriam Abele, Technical University of Munich
  • Matthew Rasband, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Jennifer G. Abelin, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
  • Erwin Schoof, Technical University of Denmark

Lipidomics: A symposium by the Journal of Lipid Research

Chair: Xianlin Han

JLR Associate Editor Xianlin Han of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio will chair a symposium on lipidomics as a bridge to biological and medical research. Hear from five leading experts at the forefront of genomics, proteomics and lipidomics as they relate lipid metabolism and function to insights in cardiometabolic diseases, Alzheimer’s and more.

  • Peter Meikle, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute
  • Yu Xia, Tsinghua University
  • David A. Ford, Saint Louis University Health Science Center
  • Kim Ekroos, Lipidomics Consulting Ltd.
  • Xianlin Han, University of Texas Health Science Center