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Number: 2005-042-1-300

Title: Chemistry for Biology - an inventory of interdivisional and interdisciplinary activities within IUPAC in the field of biological chemistry

Task Group
: Torbjörn Norin

Members: George M. Blackburn, David A. Evans, Uwe Karst, Jan Labuda, Upendra K. Pandit, Willie Peijnenberg, and Kazuyuki Tatsumi

Completion Date: 2008 - project completed

Biological Chemistry is a rapidly developing multi-disciplinary area with strong links to molecular and mechanistic topics. The objective is to make a feasibility study and an inventory of current and planned IUPAC activities in the area and also to suggest and initiate new activities.

Biological Chemistry is a multi-disciplinary area with strong links to fundamental molecular and mechanistic topics. These topics are essential for the progress in the field. IUPAC shall be visible and shall have a central role in efforts to support strong links between chemistry and biology. The medicinal area and, to some extent, also the agricultural area have, already brought these two basic sciences together and have a lot of experience of multi-disciplinary research and development. However, IUPAC, with its Divisions, is mainly based on basic chemistry and its applications. Focus has been on fundamental chemistry and on its industrial applications, which has been successful and shall always be the fundament of IUPAC. However, new scientific areas of multi-disciplinary nature are approaching and there is a need to include these within the work of IUPAC. Biological Chemistry is such a topic.

Informal discussions at the Beijing GA resulted in a proposal to establish contacts with interested partners within IUPAC to form an informal discussion forum for the coordination and promotion of activities within the area of biological chemistry. The aim of the project is to provide this forum. The project will stimulate contacts and interactions between scientists who are active in the field. The aim of the project is to make an inventory and a feasibility study in order to present some proposals for IUPAC activities within this area.


> May 2006 report update (pdf file - 14KB)

> June 2007 - A collection of representative scientific articles is being selected for a special issue of PAC on Chemistry for Biology. The editorial work on this issue is now in progress and publication is planned for December 2007. A final report is planned to be
submitted in connection with the publication of the special issue.

> Dec 2007 - A Sympposium-in-print that illustrates the fundamental role of chemistry in a wide variety of biological topics has been published as a special issue of PAC 2007, Vol. 79, No. 12, pp. 2179-2366.

It should be pointed out that the present Symposium-in-Print complements the contributions from several recent IUPAC-sponsored conferences such as the combined International Conference on Biodiversity (ICOB-5) and International Symposium on the Chemistry of Natural Products (ISCNP-25) in Kyoto, Japan, 2006 [PAC 2007, 79(4), 467-823], and the 9th Eurasia Conference on Chemical Sciences, Antalya, Turkey, 2006 [PAC 2007, 79(12), 2101-2366]. Taken together, these contributions constitute a broad spectrum of illustrations demonstrating the role and the fundamental implications of chemistry for biology.

Chemistry for Biology (and the Dec 2007 PAC Sympposium-in-print) made the cover feature of Chem. Int. Mar-Apr. 2008

Conclusion: It is clear that research and development in chemical topics related to or directly involved in biological systems has become of increasing importance. Progress in this area of science is necessary for the understanding and control of these systems. Chemistry provides new tools for biology and the field offers new applications for chemistry. It is therefore not surprising that this new interdisciplinary area is rapidly developing and attracting attention of scientists from a broad range of disciplines. IUPAC should have an important role in this development. An interdivisional approach is needed for successful IUPAC actions in this important field. In conclusion, this task group suggests that future IUPAC activities in the field of chemistry for biology be placed on the IUPAC agenda as an area of high priority. An Interdivisional Task Group with IUPAC project support may take the responsibility for the coordination of these activities. The Task Group may operate under the present interdivisional Subcommittee of Biomolecular Chemistry.

Project complete

Last update: 31 May 2008


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