Director's Message

27th Annual CBB Conference
"Frontiers in Biocatalytic Science"

October 16, 2018
The University of Iowa 
Iowa Memorial Union, Iowa City, IA

Welcome to the 27th annual CBB Conference.  The title for this year’s conference is Frontiers in Biocatalytic Science and, as is our custom, the conference brings together both accomplished and up-and-coming researchers interested in solving long-standing problems through advances in Biocatalytic Science.  The morning session features the following group of world-renown speakers:

Professor Veena Prahlad, in the Department of Biology at the University of Iowa, will talk about her research to understand at the molecular level how organisms detect and repair protein damage caused by stressful environments, such as heat shock response. 

Professor Koji Sode, in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina, will explain strategies developed by his research team for optimizing targeted properties of enzymes for specific applications, such as in the engineering of oxidoreductase enzymes to meet the demands of future biosensors.

Professor Chris Ahern, in the Department of Physiology at the University of Iowa, will describe his progress in understanding fundamental biochemical mechanisms for function and pharmacology of ion channels through novel labeling strategies. 

Dr. Shane Climie and Mr. Brett Cohen, collaborators with LEV Therapeutics, will team up to present their challenges and successes in developing an enzyme-biotherapeutic for treating mitochondrial disorders. Their presentation will cover the science behind mitochondrial enzyme-replacement therapy as well as business factors that impact the road to clinical testing.

A poster session scheduled over the lunch period will highlight a wide array of biocatalytic science projects pursued by student researchers.  Last year, the poster session seemed to fly by with enthusiastic discussion between the guests, students, faculty and representatives at the vendor booths. 

I informally call the afternoon session “The Quinn Symposium,” in honor of Professor Daniel Quinn who was an original member of the Biocats and who retired from the University at the end of the 2018 spring semester.  The symposium recognizes Dan’s long-time contributions to the Center, including his tenure as the Principle Investigator of the NIH-supported Predoctoral Training Grant in Biotechnology. Two of Dan’s former students, Nathan Baker and Joe Topczewski, will give presentations. Nathan, Director for the Advanced Computing, Mathematics, and Data Division at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will talk about computation methods to understand interactions between biomolecules.  Joe, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Minnesota, will educate us on the Winstein Rearrangement.  The Quinn Symposium will end with a presentation from Dan himself speaking about the mechanism of serine esterase.  

It is my pleasure to welcome each of you to this wonderful day of science and engineering.  Please take advantage of the opportunity to learn from others and establish new collaborations. 

Thank you for your interest,

Mark Arnold, Ph.D.

Director; Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing, Office of the Vice President for Research & Economic Development, University of Iowa Research Park, Coralville, IA

Professor and Edwin B. Green Chair in Laser Chemistry, College of Liberal Arts, Department of Chemistry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA