A couple of weeks ago I made the most of the UK’s rail connection to mainland Europe and hopped on the Eurostar to attend Biometals 2012 in Brussels. This conference takes place every two years and alternates between the two sides of the Atlantic; the historic capital of Belgium certainly made a contrast to the wonderful desert landscape we experienced in Tuscon, Arizona in 2010!
The meeting, hosted at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, covered a broad range of topics related to the role of metals in biological systems, from iron uptake to copper homeostasis, and from metalloproteins to plant-metal interactions. Delegates came from across the globe to present their work and network with colleagues, and I was certainly pleased to see some familiar faces from other meetings.
There were two particularly poignant mentions for members of the community who have sadly passed away in recent times: Ivano Bertini and Jorge Crosa. The Ivor Stojiljkovic Award was posthumously presented to Jorge, and his post-doctoral colleague Hiraoki Naka gave a talk on some of the recent work from the group. Meeting Chair Pierre Cornelis also gave a fitting tribute with some excellent pictures from Jorge’s life. I was lucky enough to meet Jorge at Biometals in 2010 – he was a great scientist, a charming man, and will be missed by his peers and colleagues.
Our thanks to the organisers for having Metallomics as part of this great conference, in particular the local committee: Pierre Cornelis, Joris Messens, Max Mergeay, Nathalie Verbruggen, Jan Colpaert and Ruddy Wattiez.
Many of the speakers at Biometals 2012 have published with Metallomics and with other RSC journals; we’ve highlighted some of their work in a temporary collection of papers which you can find here. These will all be free to access until 21 August 2012, so please take a look.
The articles below are a taster of what features in the collection.
Critical Review: Cytosolic zinc buffering and muffling: Their role in intracellular zinc homeostasis
Robert A. Colvin, William R. Holmes, Charles P. Fontaine and Wolfgang Maret
Metallomics, 2010,2, 306-317
Minireview: Iron homeostasis and management of oxidative stress response in bacteria
Pierre Cornelis, Qing Wei, Simon C. Andrews and Tiffany Vinckx
Metallomics, 2011,3, 540-549
Structural basis for oxygen sensing and signal transduction of the heme-based sensor protein Aer2 from Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Hitomi Sawai, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Yoshitsugu Shiro, Haruto Ishikawa, Yasuhisa Mizutani and Shigetoshi Aono
Chem. Commun., 2012,48, 6523-6525
The challenges of using a copper fluorescent sensor (CS1) to track intracellular distributions of copper in neuronal and glial cells
Katherine A. Price, James L. Hickey, Zhiguang Xiao, Anthony G. Wedd, Simon A. James, Jeffrey R. Liddell, Peter J. Crouch, Anthony R. White and Paul S. Donnelly
Chem. Sci., 2012,3, 2748-2759