Thematic Programming at Future ACS National Meetings

Chemistry of Life
243rd American Chemical Society National Meeting
March 25 – 29, 2012
San Diego, CA

Chemistry is involved in all aspects of our lives, starting from what controls the structures and functions of biologically important molecules, to the mechanics of how complex organisms interact with each other. In the past decade, detailed insights into what governs these interactions on a molecular basis has allowed us to rationally design new therapies for diseases with large unmet medical needs such as neurological, infectious and autoimmune disorders, and to develop targeted treatments for cancer.

Understanding the chemistry of life at the cellular level has allowed scientists to control critical checkpoints for cell division and differentiation. At the macro level, advancements in this area have allowed us to address perplexing issues in health and in the environment. Enhancing our understanding of the chemistry of life will impact our ability to solve many of the most pressing issues within our society.

The San Diego meeting will focus attention on advancements made in basic and applied research toward understanding the chemistry of life at the molecular and macroscopic levels. Many of the divisions and committees programming at the San Diego meeting may participate in the theme by developing interdisciplinary symposia on drug development, cell biology, neurochemistry, synthetic biology, and systems biology. These will convey advances in these areas with a focus on critical unsolved problems.

Dr. Peter Senter, San Diego Thematic Program Chair,
Senior Editor, Bioconjugate Chemistry
VP - Chemistry
Seattle Genetics
Bothell, WA 98021


Materials for Health and Medicine
244th American Chemical Society National Meeting
August 19-23, 2012
Philadelphia, PA

Materials that are used to replace or restore function to a tissue/organ and are continuously or intermittently in contact with body fluids are defined as biomaterials. Material-based medical devices, such as prosthetics, contact lenses and hip replacement implants, are widely employed to provide mechanical support or physical corrections to patients with compromised organs. More advanced products, such as drug-eluting vascular stents and growth-factor releasing bone grafts, present biologically relevant molecules in a controlled manner so as to elicit the desired biological responses to the implants. The most sophisticated implant materials are living tissues created using tissue engineering methodologies through the combination of a scaffold matrix, progenitor cells and/or bioactive agents. Innovations in materials science and engineering have dramatically improved human health and revolutionized modern medicine.

Recent advances in molecular biology and genomics/proteomics have significantly influenced the design and application of biomaterials. Meanwhile, various materials fabrication tools and strategies have been adapted to the construction of biomaterials with increasingly complex functions. Recent work in this field ranges from fundamental studies aimed at manipulating biomaterial properties to control biological responses to the design of biomaterials for use in disease diagnosis and therapeutic treatment. The continued advances in materials science and engineering, translation of these advances to address biological challenges, and their integration with cell biology offer many promising approaches for the application of these materials in the repair and regeneration of functional tissues.

The Philadelphia ACS meeting will showcase the advancement of materials in health and medicine. Many ACS divisions can participate in the Materials in Health and Medicine theme by developing interdisciplinary symposia. Topics that are of interest to the ACS community include (1) understanding of the complexity of biological systems at molecular and cellular levels; (2) molecular design of novel biomaterials; (3) probing the interactions between materials and cells/tissues; (4) designing strategies to modulate the in vivo and in vitro responses of synthetic materials; (5) designing novel devices for diagnostic purposes and (6) adaptation of microfabrication tools for biological and medical studies.

Professor Xinqiao Jia, Philadelphia Thematic Program Chair
Materials Science and Engineering
Biomedical Engineering
Biological Sciences
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716


Chemistry of Energy and Food
245th American Chemical Society National Meeting
April 7-11, 2013
New Orleans, LA

The theme for the New Orleans meeting will be the chemistry of energy and food. This topic will involve many of the ACS divisions, since it can accommodate interests ranging from biotechnology, agricultural and food chemistry, to environmental aspects including food vs. fuel issues, emerging chemistry of nanotechnology, new analytical methods to ensure food and environmental safety, and the chemistry of biofuels and bio-based products from a variety of “green” feedstocks. Energy production and the food supply came under scrutiny during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil supply crisis, when a small army of scientists assessed the damage to the ecosystem, including the safety of seafood from the affected areas. The oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico contained polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons including some that are carcinogenic. Fortunately, the levels found in shrimp, finfish, and crabs fell below the levels of concern set by FDA, but widespread effects of the released oil, chemical dispersants, and other technologies used to mitigate the spill on the ecosystem and longer-term productivity are still undergoing intense study and follow-up. The Japan earthquake and its after effects on coastal nuclear power plants in Japan represent another, still unfolding, connection between energy production, food safety, and the ecosystem.

New sources of energy and bioenergy are under intense development in the Gulf region and elsewhere. New feedstocks and conversion technologies are being explored, and the first integrated biorefineries are far along in planning and/or implementation. What we are learning in terms of the potential of “green” energy to lessen global climate change, impacts on the food vs. fuel debate, effects of bioenergy production on water availability and quality, and other societal and environmental effects – particularly the areas where chemistry can contribute – will be explored in a plenary session and divisional programming.

Food quality and health, including food safety, healthful chemical constituents of food and beverages, and the sustainability of the food supply are capturing the attention of multidisciplinary teams involving chemists as well as food technologists, microbiologists, sensory scientists, agricultural engineers and other scientists and engineers. The benefits of such cooperative efforts will be explored as part of the chemistry of energy and food theme, including potential pay-offs in terms of affordable, healthy, delicious, and sustainable foods far surpassing what the average consumer puts on the dinner plate.

Professor James N. Seiber, New Orleans Thematic Program Chair
Editor, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Department of Environmental Toxicology
University of California at Davis,
Davis, CA 95616


Chemistry in Motion
246th American Chemical Society National Meeting
September 8-12, 2013
Indianapolis, IN

Chemistry impacts myriad facets of the transportation industry, from the fuels that are needed to power vehicles to the materials from which the vehicles are designed. Energy, the environment, and economics are intimately joined with regard to the creation of a successful transportation network, and chemistry impacts each and all components of that equation. Chemistry is a dominant factor for optimizing the use of precious resources, the development of new technologies to power and build our transportation infrastructure and to minimize the environmental consequences of a society built upon energy and mobility.

Cars, rail and planes are the dominant examples of chemistry in motion. Those modes of transportation have historically relied upon energy from fossil fuels and high density materials of construction. Petroleum, however, is becoming a more precious and valued resource and the economy of transportation depends on the mass of the vehicle, the efficiency of the power plant and the drag and friction associated with motion of the vehicle. As a result, society demands more economical production of petroleum-based fuels, development of alternative fuels and lightweight building components and more efficient and aerodynamic designs of our transportation vehicles. That, in turn, requires advances in catalysis, the development of bio-based and renewable production of fuels and lightweight, structural materials, the development of new economically-viable sources of power such as hydrogen fuel cells and photovoltaics, as well as health and environmental effects of those technologies. On the one hand, chemistry will facilitate the refinery of the future, and on the other hand it will provide the means to replace those refineries with sustainable technologies and bio- or agro-based renewable methods to use chemistry for motion.

The Indianapolis meeting will showcase contemporary research and future technologies that will transform the transportation industry in the 21st century. Divisions can participate in the chemistry in motion theme by programming and developing joint symposia on catalysis, biofuels, alternative energy, lightweight materials, health and the environment and tribology.

Professor Robert A. Weiss, Indianapolis Thematic Program Chair
Hezzleton E. Simmons Professor of Polymer Engineering
Department of Polymer Engineering
Polymer Engineering Academic Center
The University of Akron
Akron, OH 44325-0301


Submitted by Richard Love, ACS