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Vol. 27 No. 4
July-August 2005

Conference Call | Reports from recent conferences and symposia 
See also www.iupac.org/symposia

Biotechnology

by Juan A. Asenjo and Barbara Andrews

More than 500 scientists and specialists from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas participated in the 12th International Biotechnology Symposium and Exhibition, which was held between 17–22 October 2004 in Santiago, Chile. This well-known event, which is sponsored by IUPAC, is held every four years on a different continent. This symposium is the main international meeting in the rapidly expanding field of biotechnology. This was the first time the conference was held in Latin America.

The 12th IBS was organized by CONICYT, the Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (National Council for Research in Science and Technology) and the Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences of the University of Chile. Sponsors were the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Trieste, the Steering Committee on Genetics and Biotechnology of ICSU, and RELAB-Latin American Network of Biological Sciences.

The Organizing Committee divided the program into 10 sections to include many newer areas in the field: Molecular Tools, Cellular Tools, Genomic Tools, Applied Genome Research, Cultivation Technology, Downstream Processing, Biocatalysis, Health Care, Plant and Food Biotech-nology, and Environ-mental Biotechnology. Each section was chaired by two or three internationally recognized leaders in their field, who were given the task of selecting, on the basis of scientific excellence and relevance, lecturers who would present the latest developments in the topic areas. Eight plenary lectures and 32 keynote lectures were presented during four concurrent sessions. A list of lecturers and their topics are available online <www.conicyt.cl/IBS2004>.

President of Chile Ricardo Lagos (left) greets Congress Chairman Juan A. Asenjo.

The 12th IBS was inaugurated by the President of Chile Ricardo Lagos. He was accompanied by Sergio Bitar, minister of Education; Eric Goles, president of CONICYT; Murray Moo-Young, a representative of IUPAC; and Juan A. Asenjo, Congress chairman.

A welcome reception for all the participants took place at Casapiedra Convention Center on 17 October. A concert and reception was held at the National Library on 19 October. The concert was performed by the Bartok Ensemble, featuring international, Latin American, and Chilean classical music.

An interesting roundtable was held at the congress titled “Biotechnology in the U.S., Europe, the ‘Asian Tigers,’ South America, and Chile: Innovation, Enterprise, Comparative Advantages, or ‘Déjà-Vu’?” The meeting was coordinated by J.A. Asenjo with the participation of Arturo Yudelevich (BiosChile, Chile), Barry Buckland (Merck, USA), Eric Mathur (Diversa Corporation, USA), and Fernando Flores (senator from Chile).

The next International Biotechnology Symposium will be held in China in 2008.

Professor Juan A. Asenjo <juasenjo@ing.uchile.cl>, chairman of the 12th IBS, is director of the Centre for Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Department of Chemical and Biotechnology Engineering, Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, University of Chile. Professor Barbara Andrews <bandrews@ing.uchile.cl> is deputy director of the Centre for Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology.


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