International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Annual Report 2008

This Annual Report summarizes the activities of the IUBMB in 2008.

Report of the President (Angelo Azzi)

Article for ASBMB. Judith Bond, immediate past president of ASBMB, has invited the president to write an article on the IUBMB for ASBMB Today, the monthly magazine of the American Society. The article was published in the 2008 February issue.

Biosecurity. A number of meetings have taken place in Washington, DC, in  Bethesda and one in Budapest  on the issue Biosecurity sponsored by the United States Academies, the State Department and NIH, associated with a possible dual use of biological technology. The president has been invited to participate and speak on behalf of the Union in the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Meeting of Experts, held at the United Nations Office in Geneva.
The president has submitted an article published in a Journal of the Polish Academy, invited by Andrzej Gorski vice-president of the Polish Academy “Dual Use of Biological Research and the Role of the Scientific Unions”

Jubilee Lectures. The president has attended the 2008 Miami Winter Symposium in February 2-6, 2008 and awarded the IUBMB medal to the Jubilee Lecturer Nikolaus Rajewsky (photo and text are available at the IIUBMB web site).
Five Jubilee Lectures have been requested in 2008 by Prof. Isbir Turgay (Turkey), Prof. Pham Thi Tran Chau (Vietnam), Prof. Nazmi Özer (Turkey), Prof. Alfred Wittinghofer (Germany) and Dr.  Rahuel-Clermont (France). The last three were granted. The first two (Pr. Turgay and Chau) could not be granted because of additional support requested to (and granted by) the IUBMB. To Prof. Pham Thi Tran Chau, considering that Vietnam had just been admitted as an AAB, an “IUBMB Welcome Lecture” was granted.

A meeting of the Advisory Board of UNESCO International Basic Sciences Program (IBSP) has taken place in Paris on March 16-18 2008. The president of IUBMB was invited as an observer and presented the IUBMB as a possible partner in international activities of common interest. The IUBMB will be given an opportunity to become part of the IBSP advisory board and to participate in joint projects. IBSP will apply for funds at the UNESCO General Conference with a joint package of TWAS-ICGEB-IUBMB activities in the field of research and capacity building in developing countries. Decision has been made in Athens to ratify this collaboration.

IUBMB Edward John Wood Fund. A draft of the nature and scopes of the fund has been drafted by the president and, after circulation among the EC and corrections, posted in the website of the Union.

The president has drafted the text relative to the “Nomination for an IUBMB distinguished service award or lifetime special award”, published in the website.

Future ICSU strategy. Following the request of ICSU and in consultation with several EC Members the following Proposals were sent to ICSU: Nutrition and longevity in developed and developing countries; Basic sciences and disease;
Biosecurity. No feedback was received from ICSU.

IUBMB Inc. The annual reports to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the years 2007 and 2008 have been filed. The registration to the Office of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been made and the 2008 Income Tax return has been prepared.

Nominating Committee. The meeting of the NC has been organized under the instruction of the Committee Chair.

Memory pens and advertisement in Athens. The president has ordered 200 64 MB memory pens decorated with the logo of the IUBMB and its Internet address. He has loaded them with the ATP synthase Animap and the other animaps provided by Don Nicholson together with the slide set prepared by Peter Ott on the IUBMB mission. A lottery organized in Athens among the visitors to the booth was very successful and a database has been prepared with the names and email addresses of the visitors.

A visit to Shanghai has been made together with Knut-Jan Andersen (October 16-17 2008). The following aspects have been discussed and advice has been given on Plenary lectures, Speakers;  Logistics;  Site visit of the center to verify the location of the different sessions and special symposia;  Website; Sponsors.

Archives Committee. The president has provided advice and assistance to Andy Sutherland (co-president of the Archives Committee, regarding the development of the Archives project.

Biotechnology Committee. The president has provided advice and assistance to Steve Dahms, member of the Biotechnology Committee, and initiated the contacts with Britton Chance, Leslie Dutton, and the Chinese organizers, which have lead to the organization of the Britton Chance Symposium to be held in Shanghai during the Congress.

The president has initiated and established the necessary contacts of Parviz Shamlou with the local organizer of the Advanced School of Biotechnology in India (New Delhi) Dr. Virander Chauhan, director of the ICGEB- Delhi.

In support to the project of the IUBMB-Wiley Book Series the president has provided three authors (César Fraga, Edon Melloni and Lorenzo Pinna) who will deliver one book each between 2009 and 2010.

Report of the General Secretary (Jacques-Henry Weil)

Most of my daily activities have consisted, as in previous years, in interactions (mainly by e-mail or phone) within the IUBMB community (with the EC members, the Adhering and Associated Adhering Bodies, the Associated Regional Organizations) and outside this community.

An important activity was to finalize the Statutes’ revision which has been going on since the last General Assembly in Kyoto in 2006. After some initial modifications kindly suggested by Phillip Nagley (Australia) and Michael Walsh (Canada), the Statutes’ revision was put on the agenda of the EC meeting in Salvador in May 2007, but this item was not discussed because of lack of time. I then proposed to set up a sub-committee consisting of the European members of the EC (Knut-Jan Andersen, Jan Joep de Pont, Willy Stalmans, Peter Ott and myself) + Mary Osborn, so that it would be easier (and cheaper) to meet. But it turned out that no meeting was necessary, as we were able to discuss several issues, first by e-mail, then through a Discussion Forum set up by Peter Ott on our wbsite. Peter Ott was in charge of proposing how to replace, in the preparation of the GA, the Delegates (which are often appointed late) by the contact person in each AB. Mary Osborn drafted a new Statute suggesting what could be done in the case of the resignation or death of the President at a time when there is no President Elect. Jan Joep de Pont proposed solutions to the problem of ABs which have not paid their dues for several years All the suggested changes in the Statutes have been discussed, and then submitted to the rest of the EC in order to get their comments. The version obtained was  put in a password-protected section of the IUBMB website and a message was sent in November 2008 to the contact persons of all ABs, asking them to download this version and to tell us if they could agree with the proposed changes and would instruct their Delegates to accept them when asked to vote at the next General Assembly in Shanghai, or if they had modifications to suggest. No modification was requested by the ABs, so that this version, with a few minor changes suggested by several members of the Honorary Advisory Board and by Phillip Nagley, will be examined at the EC meeting in Marrakech in April 2009 before being submitted to the GA in Shanghai in August 2009.

In February 2008, together with Knut-Jan Andersen, Jan Joep de Pont, Constantin Drainas and Nikos karamanos, I participated in the evaluation of the applications submitted by approximately 50 young scientists to the IUBMB YSF (Young Scientist Forum) in Athens, and we scored these applications to come up with a ranking list of the top 25 candidates on the basis of scientific merit (but taking into account the geographic origin, as a few extra points were added for the applicants from developing countries). These 25 fellows received financial support to participate i) in the YSF before the Athens Congress-Conference, and ii) in the Congress-Conference itself. About 10 of them also received a travel grant from IUBMB to help them pay for their travel expenses to Athens.

I prepared the EC meeting held in Athens on June 26-27, 2008, (drafting the agenda, collecting the reports, printing and mailing the Briefing Books, etc…) and I drafted the minutes of this EC meeting.

Together with Knut-Jan Andersen, I have been in contact with the President of the Moroccan Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology for the preparation of the Congress/Special Meeting (on Plant Stresses) scheduled in Marrakech in Aprill 2009.

I prepared the the EC meeting to be held in Marrakech. I twas decided in Athens that the documents needed for this meeting would no longer be put in a Briefing Book and mailed to the participants, but put in a password-protected section of the IUBMB website to be downloaded by the participants, in order to eliminate the costs involved in preparing and mailing the Briefing Books.

The preparation of the General Assembly, scheduled on August 7, 2009, in Shanghai, just after the Congress, had to start well in advance:
A call was sent to all ABs and AABs on July 23, 2008, asking them to appoint their Delegates or Associate Delegates to the General Assembly.
A call for nominations to fill the 3 positions becoming vacant on the EC in 2009 (President Elect, General Secretary, Member for Congresses and Conferences) was sent to all ABs on July 24, 2008.

As far as the relations with the Regional Associated Organizations are concerned, I hattended, as the IUBMB Observer, the FEBS EC meeting on June 28, 2008, and the Council meeting on July 3-4, 2008, in Athens, and the EC meeting in Istanbul on November 8, 2008.

I have participated in the 29th General Assembly of ICSU in Maputo, Mozambique, on October 21-24, 2008. I took this opportunity to approach a number of participants from countries where there is no member of IUBMB and ask them if their Society, or Academy, could consider joining IUBMB.
In December 2008 the IUBMB was asked by Dr Chris Kirk, Chief Executive of the Biochemical Society, London, to support a grant application to ICSU entitled « Scientific Bonds : International Mentoring »: a grant of 15,300 Euros was awarded in February 2009.

On September 17-19, 2008, I participated in the EuroBioForum organized in Strasbourg by the European Science Foundation and the EU 6th Framework Program.

On October 15-17, 2008, I participated in a Conference on « Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the Service of Agriculture, Medicine, Biology and Food Industry » in Hanoi, Vietnam, where I presented the mission and activities of IUBMB, and gave a lecture on Genetically Modified Organisms.

My activities as Chairman of the Committee of the Wood-Whelan Research Fellowships are summarized elsewhere in this annual report.

Report on the Wood-Whelan Research Fellowships (Jacques-Henry Weil)

The Fellowship Committee consisted of Iqbal Parker from South Africa, Avadhesha Surolia from India, Alicia Kowaltowski (and then Carla Polycarpo) from Brazil, and Jacques-Henry Weil from France (chairman).

In 2008 the Fellowship Committee received 33 applications (34 in 2007) and awarded 15 fellowships (17 in 2007).
According to my records, we committed 37,993 USD in 2008, but as usual, the amount spent by the Treasurer is slightly different, because the Euro/USD exchange rate varied during the year (some fellowships are paid in Euros), and because some awards made at the end of the year are only paid the following year. In fact, according to the Treasurer, we spent 40,245 USD in 2008 and a total of 100,120 USD in the 2006-2008 triennium (the Fellowship budget for the triennium was 100,000 USD).
In another section of the website  (under «Young Scientist Support»), there is a table giving, for each of the 15 awardees, details on their research project, the duration of their stay, the amount awarded (in USD), the sending and receiving laboratories and the host lab supervisor.

The following figures can be mentioned:

  • The success rate was 45.4 % (50 % in 2007).
  • The average age of the awardees was 28.7 years (28.2 in 2007)
  • The average length of the stay in the receiving laboratory was approximately 2.6 months (2.4 in 2007)
  • The average amount awarded was 2,533 USD (2,250 USD in 2007). The maximum which can be awarded is 3,000 USD.
  • Countries of the sending laboratory: Argentina (6), India (3), Cuba, Uruguay, South Africa, Greece, UK, Ukraine
  • Countries of the receiving laboratory: USA (6), Spain (2), Mexico (2), Canada, Australia, UK, Denmark, Germany

Almost half of the applications received (15 out of 33) were from Latin America, while about half of the awarded fellowships (8 out of 15) and about half of the money went to applicants from Latin America.

At the EC meeting in Athens, it was decided not to change:

  • the fellowship budget
  • the maximum amount which can be awarded (3000 USD)
  • the rule that fellowships cannot be awarded to attend courses, symposia, meetings, conferences, or congresses

Report of the Treasurer (Jan Joep de Pont)

(The Table to which some items in this report refer to can be found here)

    1. 2008 is the last year of the triennium 2006-2008. Whereas in 2006 and 2007 a large profit was made there was a loss in 2008 of nearly 217 kUSD. This is mainly due to the loss in investment value, caused by the decrease of the Euro/USD ratio during 2008. In addition, due to an investment of 50 kEuro in 2007 of which the costs were booked in 2008, and not were calculated in the report over 2007, the loss seems larger than it actually is. However, in the triennium 2006-2008 a profit was made of in total 432 kUSD.
    2. In the triennium IUBMB had an income of 1,655 kUSD. This is much higher than foreseen in the budget, mainly due to higher income from publications. In this triennium 1,002 kUSD was used for activities and 367 kUSD for “administrative” costs. This includes 39 kUSD for digitalisation of large part of the IUBMB archives. In addition to the real profit of 286 kUSD, 146 kUSD was gained due to the increase in the Euro/USD ratio in this triennium.
    3. At 31-12-2008 there were considerable arrears in payment of contribution. However several countries paid in total 22 kUSD in the beginning of 2009. In addition to the Adhering Bodies that did not pay for a long time (Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Latvia, and Uzbekistan) there are several other Adhering Bodies with arrears. The most important one is the United States, due to the fact that the National Science Foundation did not provide money for this contribution.
    4. Comparison between the budget and the account for 2008 shows in addition to the loss in investment value, as discussed above, lower expenditures for symposia and education and higher expenditures for archives, due to activities of the archives committee.
    5. The account over the triennium 2008-2008 will be presented to the General Assembly in Shanghai together with the budget for the period 2009-2011.

 

Jan Joep de Pont, April 9th, 2009

Report on the Publications Portfolio (Willy Stalmans)

Biotechnology and Applied Biochemistry (BAB)

The Impact Factor (IF) of the journal, published by Portland Press, showed a remarkable but ephemeral increase during 2006 and 2007, as documented in Table 1.

 

Table 1

Year of IF release

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

Impact Factor

1.269

1.903

1.890

0.942

1.034

1.000

 

That phenomenon indicates an unusually abundant citation of papers published in 2004. Analysis of the papers published in the period 2003-2008 (Table 2) revealed that 2004 was an exceptional year, in that 16 reviews and mini-reviews were published (versus 2-4 in the surrounding years).

 

Table 2

Publication year

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

Research papers

70

65

60

65

60

70

(Mini)-Reviews

2

12

2

3

16

4

Editorials

0

2

1

0

1

1

 

A Scopus analysis of citations during a 3.5-year period (2005 to mid-2008) revealed 275 citations to the 16 (mini)-reviews published in 2004 (17.2 per paper), versus 392 citations to the 60 regular papers (6.5 per paper). The conclusion is plain – and not really unexpected: increasing the number of reviews is an excellent way to boost the IF! Accordingly I suggested a more intensive solicitation of (well-chosen) reviews by the dedicated Reviews Editor, J.R. Birch (Slough, UK), who was appointed in 2007. However, a positive result cannot be expected before 2009.

Concerning the “Opt To Pay” scheme (i.e., authors pay £1,500 to have their online paper immediately and permanently accessible to non-subscribers): in the year of its implementation (March 2008) only one author had taken the option... This opportunity has now been offered to the members of the editorial board without payment, once a year.

In September 2008 Portland Press re-branded the journal cover and refreshed the logo. The new design was also implemented on the website, in HTML emails, and all promotional material. During 2008 the publisher also designed an HTML eToc (electronic table of contents) using the new branding; this is currently sent for each issue to 558 registrants. A newly branded HTML email was sent out to 2001 prospective authors, highlighting the benefits of publishing in the journal.

 

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education (BAMBEd)

After a sudden fall last year, the latest IF (0.504) was again in the usual range around 0.5. One should not forget that the random fluctuation of the IF is considerable at a yearly output of at most 70 citable papers.

During the 2008 Congress in Athens we had daily met Edward John Wood on the IUBMB stand and during other activities, often accompanying Don Nicholson (see “Cooperation with Sigma”). The news that Ed had passed away on 14th December 2008 at the age of 67 came as a shock to us at IUBMB, and to the educational community at large. For 21 years (1980-2000) Ed Wood had been editor-in-chief of Biochemical Education, and subsequently he became a member of the editorial board of BAMBEd. In January 2007 he had also become chairman of the newly founded FEBS Education Committee.

 

BioFactors

The revival plan for the journal was further executed:

  • Change of publisher: on 8th May 2008 an agreement was signed between IUBMB and IOS Press on the premature termination of our publishing contract at the end of 2008. On 19th May 2008 IUBMB contracted John Wiley & Sons as publisher from 2009 onwards. ISVRB (the International Society of Vitamins and Related Biofactors) does not participate anymore in the new contract. Indeed, during their meeting on 27th June 2008 in Athens the EC members noted that ISVRB had become a virtual Society, and decided to rescind the association of IUBMB with ISVRB. During the second half of 2008 I have been cooperating with Angelo Azzi, the newly appointed Reviews Editor, and Michael Weston, Senior Editor at Wiley, in the re-design of the cover, the instructions to authors, and the first editorial for vol. 35/1. For 2009 six issues have been scheduled, to be published in February, April, June, August, October and December.
    Unfortunately, Michael Weston rather suddenly left Wiley in November 2008. His IUBMB portfolio (BioFactors, BAMBEd, IUBMB Life) has been taken over by Colette Bean, our initial contact person at Wiley.
  • The editorial board has been restructured as proposed. In the Spring of 2008 Etsuo Niki resigned as announced, and Junji Terao (Tokushima, Japan) became – for the time being - the sole editor-in-chief. He continued diligently the task undertaken by Etsuo Niki, i.e. to obtain sufficient papers to allow IOS Press to produce all the contractually needed volumes (up to vol. 34), against the backlog of two “2007” volumes (30+31) that had not yet been published in 2007. Although by the end of 2008 only vol. 32 (the first one of the three “2008” volumes), had been published, it appears highly probable that IOS Press will be able to reach the target by May 2009.
  • Attraction of more and better papers. Yesim Negis (Istanbul), who works already for IUBMB Life, is now also successfully recruiting on behalf of A. Azzi review papers for BioFactors. By the end of 2008 there was a good stock of reviews available for 2009 and even more under preparation. Such reviews should raise the journal’s impact factor, which in turn is expected to attract more and better research papers.

 

IUBMB Life

  • Publisher: 2008 was Wiley-Blackwell’s first year of operation, and their approach and service were rated “excellent” by W. Whelan, co-editor-in-chief, in a letter to the editors (September 2008). On 30th June, during a meeting in Athens, Michael Weston (Senior Editor at Wiley) gave an initial report to the attending editors. At that time the Blackwell journals had been integrated into Wiley’s Interscience platform. When M. Weston left in November 2008 he was replaced by Colette Bean.
  • Statistics: The Impact Factor, which was barely 0.4 in 2000, has shown a remarkable evolution since 2005 (IF 1.774), with a yearly increase of ca. 0.4, reaching 2.857 in 2008. A survey of the type of articles published in 2008 revealed that 53% of the papers were “Critical Reviews” (invited, ca. 10 pp. long), versus 20% “Research communications” and 10% “Feature articles” (both shorter papers). The sum of the other 6 types of articles, mostly short ones, accounted for 17%.
  • A most generous gesture: In April 2008 W. Whelan announced to the IUBMB Officers that, owing to the introduction by Wiley of a fully electronic manuscript handling system, his expenses as co-editor-in-chief had drastically decreased. As a result, the Treasurer would not need to transfer the usual $15,000 earmarked for expenses during the second half of 2008. W. Whelan suggested also that one third of the amount saved (i.e., $5,000) would be used to finance an “IUBMB Life” plenary lecture at the Congress in Shanghai (August 2009). Such a lecture might be repeated at subsequent Congresses. The latter proposal was gratefully accepted.

 

Molecular Aspects of Medicine (MAM)

In June 2008, one year earlier than expected, Thomson Scientific released an impact factor for this Elsevier journal – which at once was as high as 7.386! One year earlier, Elsevier’s similarly computed “Scopus” factor had been 6.520.

MAM publishes exclusively topical reviews, which can consist of either a single, long, multi-authored paper (often >100 pp.), or a collection of much shorter papers (5 to 18 in the period 2004-2008). Over the years 2004-2007 the average paper length was fairly stable (between 20.1 and 26.3 pages), versus 13.0 pages in 2008. This requires attention since reviews of the long type boost the impact factor.

Specifically for MAM the impact factor is not only important with respect to the journal’s standing. Indeed, according to our new publishing agreement the (modest) royalty that IUBMB receives since 2007 is linearly related to the impact factor.

 

Trends in Biochemical Sciences (TiBS)
 
The impact factor of this successful Elsevier journal rose in 2008 by more than 1 point, to 15.0, which is the highest value recorded during the last 10 years.

Jonathan Tyzack, the London-based Elsevier editor, let me know that he is very satisfied with the results of the merger with Cell Press. A newly created position of “Content Development Editor” (CDE), now occupied by Sara Cullinan, gives him more freedom to travel to conferences abroad. The CDE is able to process manuscripts from start to finish, at the same level as the editor. It has also become much easier to commission articles having a connection with Cell Press. The partnership with Cell press has also benefited to the marketing of TiBS: in 2008 copies of the journal were sent to many more meetings than happened previously.

In the course of 2008 three IUBMB editors, led by Titia De Lange, made it known that they did not need or could not accept the habitual honorary for editorial board members. The IUBMB Executive Committee has gratefully acknowledged this gesture, and has earmarked the money saved to support the travel of young scientists to the Shanghai congress in August 2009.

 

The Wiley-IUBMB series on Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Around mid-January 2008 we were contacted by Anita Lekhwani (senior acquisitions editor at Wiley), who had resumed responsibility for the project after Darla Henderson’s departure. In order to discuss strategies, procedures and topics, A. Lekhwani met in Athens on 30th June 2008 with the full Editorial Board, consisting of Angelo Azzi, Willy Stalmans, William Whelan, Naoyuki Taniguchi (Osaka) and Felix Wieland (Heidelberg).

By the end of 2008 four volumes had been commissioned:

  1. Cesar G. Fraga (Department of Nutrition, University of California at Davis): Plant phenolics and human health. Commissioner: A.Azzi. To be published in 2009.
  2. Edon Melloni (Department of Experimental Medicine, Biochemistry Section, University of Genoa): Calpains and calpastatins. Commissioner: A.Azzi.
  3. Rakesh Kumar (Baylor College of  Medicine, University of Texas, Houston): Microtubule assembly. Commissioner: W. Whelan.
  4. Lorenzo A. Pinna (Dept. of Biological Chemistry, University of Padua): Protein kinase CK2. Commissioner: A. Azzi.

 

Cooperation with Sigma
 
Over a long period Dr. Donald Nicholson, with help from Sigma-Aldrich Co., has created a series of “Maps” (metabolic pathways, minimaps and animated designs) in electronic and printed form. Don Nicholson has generously assigned full right and title of the copyrights of those Maps to the IUBMB. With his consent, the IUBMB had entered into an agreement licensing Sigma to produce, distribute and sell the existing Maps as well as newly created ones until the end of 2007.

As a result of negotiations with Robert Gates on behalf of Sigma, we concluded in February 2008 a new agreement with Sigma for the period 2008-2012. However, the latter contract (commonly designated as the “usage contract”) deals exclusively with existing Maps, mentioning merely that IUBMB and Sigma will continue to collaborate to maintain the technical accuracy and currency of the existing Maps. The “usage contract” specifies that development of new Maps will be addressed in future agreements. Yet, ensuing discussions with Nathan Allen, the Sigma webmaster, made it clear that Sigma did not consider a contract covering new proposals by Don Nicholson.

However, N. Allen offered to IUBMB a choice of three alternative projects for cooperation. One of those has been further explored by the IUBMB Executive Committee. It concerns the possibility of establishing links between items of the Enzyme List, which is elaborated and kept online by the IUBMB Nomenclature Committee, and the corresponding enzymes listed in the Sigma online catalogue. The IUBMB Executive Committee decided that any such agreement should be of a non-exclusive nature with respect to other suppliers of enzymes, and that a thorough feasibility study should be undertaken before such a contract could be further discussed.

Report of the Committee on Symposia (M. Iqbal Parker)

A total of 19 applications were received in both calls (1st April and 1st September). 15 Applications were approved and 4 applications were unsuccessful.

These approved symposia were held in France (1), Italy (3), Ireland (1), USA (3), India (1), Denmark (1), Belgium (1), Greece (1), Finland (1), South Africa (1) and Argentina (1). The number of events in the year 2008 was lower than that in 2007 where 26 applications were received and 20 symposia were supported. This also meant that it was possible to increase the size of the awards to the successful applicants.

Geographical distribution:

FAOBMB: 1; PAMBMB: 4; FASBMB: 1; FEBS: 9

There is a skewed distribution against the FASBMB and FAOBMB regions, but this is due to the lack of sufficient applications from these regions. We are seeing a consistent increase in applications from the USA, where 3 of the 4 in the PABMB region are from the USA.  To date we have not had any applications from countries other than South Africa in the FASBMB region.

Total value of awards allocated for Symposia in 2008: US$ 110,000

II. The activities supported by the Committee on Symposia and Interest Groups in the year 2008 were as follows:

    1. International Symposium on Mitochondrial Physiology and Pathology; held in Bari, Italy, from June 22 – 26, 2008; (S1/2008); Contact person: Prof. Sergio Papa, papabchm [at] cimedoc.uniba.it
    2. Frontiers in Mitochondrial Research: From Bioenergetics to Dynamics; held in Italy, from November 25 – 29, 2008; (S2/2008); Contact person: Dr. Luca Scorrano, luca.scorrano [at] un.ipd.it
    3. The 15th European Bioenergetics Conference 2008 – EBEC 2008; held in Dublin, Ireland, from July 19 – 24, 2008; (S3/2008); Contact person: Dr. Richard Porter, rkporter [at] tcd.ie
    4. Na K_ATpase and Related Transport ATPases of P-type: Structures, Mechanisms and Roles in Health and Disease (12th ATPase Conference); held in Denmark, from August 05 - 09, 2008; (S4/2008); Contact person: Prof. Jens Peter Andersen, ipa [at] fi.au.dk
    5. 40th Course: From Molecules to Medicines: Integrating Crystallography in Drug Discovery; held in Italy, from May 29 – June 08, 2008; (S5/2008); Contact details: Prof. Lodovico Riva di Sanseverino, Lodovico.riva [at] unibo.it
    6. Lipids As regulators of Cell Function; held in Greece, from June 27 – 29, 2008; (S6/2008); Contact person: Prof. Karel W.A. Wirtz, k.w.a.wirtz [at] chem.uu.nl
    7. Second International interdisciplinary Conference on Vitamins, Coenzymes and Biofactors, held in Georgia, USA, from October 26 – 31, 2008; (S7/2008); Contact person: Prof Robert Phillips, rsphillips [at] chem.u
    8. 8th International Symposium on Bochemical Roles of Eukaryotic Cell Surface Macromolecules; held in India, from January 21 – 25, 2008; (S8/2008); Contact person: Dr. Amitabha Cattopadhyay, amit [at] ccmb.res.in
    9. Oxidants and Antioxidants in Biology; held in Santa Barbara, California, from March 12 – 15, 2008; (S9/2008); Contact person: Enrique Cadenas / Lester Packer, cadenas [at] usc.edu / packer [at] usc.edu
    10. Trends in Enzymology 2008; held in St Malo, France, from July 02 – 05, 2008; (S10/2008); Contact person: Prof. Susan M. Miller, smiller [at] cgl.ucsf.edu
    11. 8th European Nitrogen Fixation Conference; held in Belgium, from August 30 – September, 2008; (S11/2008); Contact person: Dr. Marcelle Holsters, daver [at] psb.ugent.be
    12. Symposium on Plant Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; held in Cordoba, Argentina, from November 16 – 28, 2008; (S12/2008); Contact person: Dr Nestor Carrillo, carrillo [at] ibr.gov.ar
    13. 13th European Society for Clinical Virology Annual Meeting; held in Finland, from March 12 -15, 2008; (S13/2008); Contact person: Prof. K. Hedman, Klaus.hedman [at] helsinki.fi
    14. Second International Forum on Biosecurity; held in Budapest, Hungary, in February, 2008; (S14/2008); Contact person: Jo L. Husbands, ihusband [at] nas.ed
    15. Molecular Immunology of Health and Disease; held in Noordhoek, South Africa, from March 09 – 14, 2008; (S15/2008); Contact person: Prof. Frank Brombacher, fbrombac [at] mweb.co.za

 

M. Iqbal Parker
Chairman of the Committee on Symposia
June 2008

Report of the Member for IUBMB Conferences and Congresses (Knut-Jan Andersen)

Effort has been directed to planning future IUBMB Conferences and Congresses.

These include:

  • The Young Scientist Forum (8th FEBS YSF), June 26-28, 2008 – Hotel Poseidon Resort, Loutraki, Greece. The Young Scientists’ Forum was planned in close collaboration with Ioannis Drikos and his collaborators in Greece, and Claudina Pousada and Daniela Corda from FEBS. One hundred and one young scientists from Europe and 25 (IUBMB) from other countries participated. The selection committee for IUBMB fellows (Constantin Drainas and Nikos Karamanos from Geece, and from IUBMB J-H. Weil, J.J. de Pont, and K-J. Andersen) received 60 applications and was able to select the 25 final, highly qualified, candidates based on their education, publications, motivation, and abstract of the work to be presented. The applicants originated from 18 different countries, and averaged 30 years of age.
  • The 11th IUBMB Conference was organized as a joint conference with the 33rd FEBS Congress, June 28 – July 3, 2008, in Athens, Greece. The conference/congress venue was changed in April 2008 by the local organizing committee to the Megaron Athens International Conference Center in the centre of Athens.  The theme for the Congress/Conference was “Biochemistry of Cell regulation”.  The scientific programme contained 7 nominated named lectures, 8 symposia with a total of 34 sessions, in addition to 17 special sessions and satellite meetings. The total number of participants was 2,755 of which 62% came from Europe. Financially, the organisers made a small profit of about 4,000 euros.
  • IUBMB Special Meeting: Mechanisms of Plant Resistance to Biotic and Abiotic Stresses: Biochemical and Molecular Aspects, Marrakech, Morocco, 23-25 April 2009. The idea of supporting an IUBMB Special Meeting in Morocco in connection with the Annual Meeting of the Moroccan Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology was first launched by Professor Weil. The meeting is organized by the Moroccan Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with the support of IUBMB and FASBMB. I had the pleasure of visiting Marrakech in May 2008 discussing all practical details with Professor Khalid Fares and his organization. Throughout the planning I have been in continuous contact with Professor Fares, discussing all aspects including updated budgets. The meeting web-site, http://www.smbbm.org/specialMeeting2009/home.html, has been continuously updated.
  • The 21th IUBMB International Congress and the 12th FAOBMB Congress of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, August 7 – 8, 2009, Shanghai, China. The Shanghai International Convention Center (SICC), with capacity for 5000 participants, has been selected as the congress venue. . The Congress Theme is: “Biomolecules for Quality of Life”. The Congress, which will be organised by the Chinese Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Chinese Society of Cell Biology, will have high level supports such as Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Engineering, National Natural Science Foundation of China, and Shanghai Municipal Government in addition to 5 ministries. The web-page, http://www.iubmb-faobmb2009.cn/#, will be continuously updated.   I had the pleasure of visiting Shanghai in October 2008 together with the IUBMB President to discuss major aspects of the planning. In addition, we were able to perform a site inspection of the convention center and major hotels. Following our visit the organizers have changed PCO and are now working with a Shanghai located company.  I have, in addition to several EC-members had continuous contact with the organisers via Email being informed about most major decisions and progress in the planning. However, a close follow up from IUBMB as well as possible professional assistance with respect to organisation will be vital for this event. This also includes planning of the Young Scientists’ Program preceding the Congress, organised by Dr. Professor Jinqiu Zhou at the Shanghai Institute of Biological Science. In addition to financial support by IUBMB the YSP has been generously supported by FEBS as well as the Biochemical Society, UK.  The number of applications received by the deadline was 350. 
  • OzBio2010 - The 12th IUBMB Conference and 21st FAOBMB Conference: “The molecules of life: from discovery to Biotechnology”, September 26 – October 1, 2010, Melbourne, Australia. The conference will take place in the new Melbourne Convention Centre which is presently under construction and scheduled for completion in mid 2009. I have had regular contact with the organisers and Professor Phillip Nagley and Professor Nick Hoogenraad receiving regular reports on the planning process. Most of their efforts so far have been concentrated on getting the program finalised, particularly since some of the key plenary lecturers have pretty tight schedules and need long lead times.  However, most of the plenary lecture slots are filled. They are also in discussion with two recent Nobel laureates to see if they can join the conference and have also given careful consideration, in their choice of plenary lecturers, to select individuals who may be future Laureates.
    They are also having discussions with the Australian Biotechnology Society to have them involved in some way in OzBio 2010 (either as a joint member of this meeting or a satellite conference).The web-page, http://www.ozbio2010.com/, is continuously updated.
  • The 13th IUBMB Conference will be organized by the Mexican Society of Biochemistry (SMB) and be held together with the 3rd National Meeting of the Signal Transduction Branch of SMB in the city of Mérida, Yucatán from October 22nd to October 27th, 2011. The theme of the conference will be “Mechanisms of Signal Transduction”.  I have tried several times to communicate with the organizers by e-mail and offered assistance, and also to meet with them, to work together on the structure and organization of the meeting including the budget. So far there has been no reply.
  • The 21st IUBMB International Congress and the 37th FEBS Congress of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Seville, Spain. The collaboration and planning of the joint congress in 2012 was discussed with representatives from FEBS in Athens in order to move the congress from June to September due to high temperatures.  During a joint visit to Seville in November 2008 together with Israel Pecht, FEBS Secretary General, Adam Szewczyk, FEBS Congress Counsellor,  Miguel De La Rosa (Local organizer), Joan Guinovart, responsible for the Scientific Programme of the 2012 Congress, the dates for the Congress has been set as follows:The Young Scientist Program: Sunday September 2 – Tuesday September 4 (half day); Congress: Tuesday September 4 – Sunday September 9. The theme for the Congress has been changed (accepted by FEBS and IUBMB) from “Integration of Omic Sciences and Systems Biology” to “From Single Molecules to Systems Biology”.  The site visit to the Congress Center demonstrated its excellent facilities and capacities including the pavilions with a capacity up to 6,000 seats each. Access from the city to the congress will be by local train and busses. Hotels are located centrally along the lines of transport.
    FEBS wants a written contract between FEBS, IUBMB and the Spanish Organizers, especially with respect to the financial contribution from each organization, as soon as possible.

Report of the Education Committee (Susan Hamilton)

1. Educational activities funded

Educational activities funded

The educational activities supported in 2008 are summarised below. Total sponsorship by IUBMB was US$42,900.

 

  1. A major Symposium on education with international invited speakers “Perspectives in the biochemistry teaching:  classical class x virtual class x e-learning“ was co-sponsored by SbbQ and IUBMB in Lindoya-São Paulo, Brazil.  The Symposium targeted different aspects of education. Dr Angel presented the web resources he has developed to support a course in biochemistry. Dr Manuel Costa presented a strategy to teach interactively to large audiences and recalled the ongoing work of the IUBMB Education Committee on the Concept Inventory and Dr Ana Freitas and Leila Beltramini presented how they have been using DVD lectures to reach High School teachers in the Northeast of Brazil. The session was lively and there were many participants who congratulated the chair for the session, which was well deserved.

    A second symposium was a tribute to the contribution of Prof. Bayardo Torres to Education on occasion of his 70th birthday and three were related to different aspects of education in the molecular life sciences. There was also an evening session with a showcase of multimedia tools available for biochemical educators.

    The posters on education were very impressive because of their quality.

  2. A symposium “Concept inventories in molecular life sciences education“ was co-sponsored by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council  and IUBMB at the FEBS meeting in Athens in July 2008.  The symposium was attended by approimately 50 and there was good discussion, with opportunities for international collaboration estabished.  At the same meeting two additional symposia were held: a workshop on e-learning and a  Symposium on postgraduate education.  Both were well attended.
  3. A workshop on  “The power of interactive teaching“  organsed by Dr Manuel Costa was held in Braga Portugal  with 50 attendees This workshop analysed interactive teaching methods through a hands-on workshop. Participants were exposed to different interactive teaching methods and their philosophy.
    The workshop was a two day event. International specialists on each method led teaching for half a day and participated in a “round table” in which the different methods were confronted, at the end of the experience. Sessions simulated real classes on Interactive Teaching. For example, a half day on PBL had participants trying to solve a real problem which focuses on using PBL.
  4. A one-day workshop:  “Student centred learning in biochemistry and molecular biology“  was held as part of the Vietnam Biochemistry Society meeting in Hanoi. Approx. 40 attendees from throughout Vietnam were present. The workshop introduced educators to a range of strategies (lectures, laboratories, computer activities) by which students could engage actively in learning.  A CD containing additional teaching resources was provided to all participants as well as a work book.  The structure of the workshop was designed to be re-delivered artother locations in the future.

    The President of ASBMB also attended, funded by ASBMB and  ongoing link with ASBMB was established.  Plans for follow up activity in 2010 were discussed.

  5. A workshop on Education in Bioinformatics and Computational Biologywas held immediaely prior to the FAOBMB meting in Taiwan.  At the FAOBMB meeting a Women in Sciences symposium was also sponsored by IUBMB.  The speakers at this meeting were also invited to present at the subsequent International Conference on Woman Scientists- Challenges, Opportunities and Choices. Excellent linkages were made with women and students from Asia Pacific region interested in the issue.

 

2. Membership of the Education Committee

The composition of the Education Committee for 2008 was: 

    1. Susan Hamilton (Australia) 2006 – 2009

    2. Trevor Anderson (South Africa) 2005 – 2008

    3. Ellis Bell    (USA) 2005 – 2011

    4. Steve Dahms (USA) 2005 – 2011

    5. Manuel Costa (Portugal) 2007 – 2010

    6. Leopoldo de Meis (Brazil; ex officio)

    7. Judith Voet (USA; ex officio)

    8. Donald Voet (USA; ex officio)

Report on the IUBMB Website (Peter Ott)

The website of IUBMB is used to spread continuously updated information on all the aspects of IUBMB and it’s activities. The site has an increasing popularity as can be seen from the summary overview of the access statistics for the years 1999 – 2008 shown in the table below.

 

Year

Page Views

Visits

Visitors

 

Total

Average
per day

Average
per visit

Total

Average
per day

Total

One-time

Multiple

1999

37795

103

2.66

14183

38

9653

7996

1657

2000

89559

244

2.67

33546

91

22654

18968

3686

2001

89014

243

2.34

38065

104

27365

23656

3709

2002

102237

280

2.16

47396

129

34668

30094

4574

2003

108642

297

2.09

51954

142

36645

31184

5461

2004

126504

345

2.21

57246

156

38035

32593

5442

2005

185852

509

2.49

74557

204

45847

38782

7062

2006

208348

570

2.16

96642

264

60698

51375

9323

2007

197860

542

2.09

94815

259

48775

39897

8878

2008

209698

572

2.46

85208

232

45435

37872

7563

 

The most requested pages, besides the “Homepage” have been those with information about meetings and congresses, symposia, education workshops, the Wood-Whelan fellowships, the Standard for the PhD Degree, the Journals of IUBMB and last but not least the list of all the (Associate) Adhering Bodies with contact addresses including e-mail contacts.