Challenges in Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Challenges in Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology took place in San Francisco, USA,  from 6 - 9 July 2010.

The symposium was complemented by extensive poster presentations, predominantly by student and post-doctoral researchers, covering numerous aspects of organic and medicinal chemistry and I presented my research, entitled ‘Amine-Promoted Alkene Aziridination’. The presentation not only allowed discussion of my research, but also the opportunity to network, both with peers, academics, and also industrial chemists from around the globe. Due to the interactive nature of the presentation this allowed much dialogue with others and raised several thought provoking concepts relating to my work. It was certainly interesting to discuss my research with leading academics, such as Keiji Maruoka and Justin Du Bois. In a similar manner it was also stimulating to view and discuss the many other posters on show and to find out a little more about the work of my peers.

'Challenges in Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology' was the first of three international meetings hosted by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) as part of the International Symposia on Advancing the Chemical Sciences (ISACS), in support of the launch of the new RSC flagship journal Chemical Science. As a result the conference offered an unrivalled opportunity to hear from a series of 18 internationally renowned speakers presenting plenary lectures- a unique opportunity to review the latest cutting-edge research advances and the challenges within my field of study. The symposium was directly relevant to my research, which in the broadest sense could be described as ‘novel synthetic-organic methodology’, and provided a clear opportunity to further learn about the state-of-the-art research areas in the field of synthetic chemistry. The lectures not only helped broaden my core competency in the area but also provoked new ideas based upon the latest advances. Many excellent lectures were presented and particular highlights included presentations by Eric Jacobsen and David MacMillan.

I consider conference attendance an important part of career development and, as highlighted, I believe there were many potential benefits from attending ISACS1. An opportunity to hear and to learn from leading members of the field is always notable but to meet some is often a unique opportunity. There were also many benefits in terms of professional development such as further expansion of my presentation skills and also the prospect to network with a wide variety of members of the chemical science community and the conference provided an unparalleled chance to develop international contacts due to its nature.

As a research group we have a tradition that when members attend a significant conference, on return will present a short research summary to the group in the form of an informal presentation. The summary covers the most interesting and relevant research topics discussed by the speakers during the conference and so provides to the rest of the research group exposure to some of the state-of-the-art material presented.

My attendance at the conference was extremely beneficial to myself in a wide variety of aspects and I would like to express my gratitude to the SCI and to its Awards Committee for their help in allowing me to attend and to participate at this fantastic symposium.

Robert D C Pullin
Messel Bursar

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