The 13th International Biotechnology Symposium (IBS) and Exhibition for the Sustainability of Human Society was held at the Dalian World Expo Centre, Dalian, China from 12-17 October, 2008. Around 2000 scientists from all over the world attended the conference. Under the auspices of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the IBS series is held every four years on a different continent and recognised as the premier international biotechnology event. The 14th IBS will be held in Italy in 2012.
The conference was divided into two parts: plenary lectures delivered by distinguished scientists including two Nobel Laureates (Prof K. Barry Sharpless and Prof Werner Arber), and parallel sessions covering nine themes including system biology, tissue engineering and cell cultivation, medical biotechnology, agricultural biotechnology, industrial biotechnology, marine biotechnology, environmental biotechnology, food biotechnology, and biosafety and bioeconomy. I attended all the plenary lectures and three themes: system biology, tissue engineering and cell cultivation, and industrial biotechnology.Attending the conference is an excellent opportunity to learn wide general knowledge as well as in-depth start-of-art techniques. The plenary lectures and some invited talks covered a wide range of biotechnological applications, including enzymatic biotransformation, human genome project, marine biotechnology, plant biotechnology and bioeconomy.
For example, Professor Sharpless from the Scripps Research Institute, USA delivered a plenary lecture on enzymatic biotransformation using an example of Huisgen 1, 3 dipolar cycloaddition. Professor Cui from Oxford University gave a talk on stem cell bioprocessing, addressing important bioprocess challenges for clinical usage of stem cells.Well-known biochemical engineers, like Professor Daniel I.C. Wang from MIT and Professor We-shou Hu from University of Minnesota, addressed enabling technologies and physiological fundamentals for mammalian cell culture. Apart from general lectures from those masters, some research reports are helpful in my current research. For example, Professor Qian from East China University of Science and Technology developed novel florescent molecules, which may be potentially useful for stem cell research work. I was able to present my own research work at the conference. An ultra scale-down device was developed to address the gas-liquid interfacial damage to biomolecules in the formulation stage. Computational fluid dynamics was used to predict the area of gas-liquid interfacial area in the small device, which can be used for predictions of large-scale formulation processes.
I received several inquiries about the configuration of the small device and the mechanism governing the predictions from the small scale to large-scale processes. Quite a few industrial representatives were keen to know more about the experimental verification using the technique. The feedback and comments we received from the participants will help us further develop the technique. Encountering such established scientists gave me more confidence in my research work, especially the two keynote speakers on high throughput screening of bioprocess conditions using small parallel bioreactors. We pioneered this research from 2000 and published our first paper in Chemical Engineering Science in 2003.
I was very pleased to see other research groups working in this area. Their work gives me great confidence in my current research project regarding novel research projects and solid research results. The conference provided a unique platform for me to communicate with Chinese scientists and I was impressed by their research results presented at the conference. I took advantage of this useful opportunity to establish some networks with them. I would like to thank SCI for supporting my attendance of this conference with a bursary from the Messel Fund.