Systems Chemistry

Beilstein Bozen Symposium 2008

26 – 30 May 2008

Bolzano, Italy

Scientific Program: Carsten Kettner and Martin G. Hicks


Proceedings of this Beilstein Bozen Symposium.


The Beilstein workshops address contemporary issues in the chemical and related sciences by employing an interdisciplinary approach. Scientists from a wide range of areas - often outside chemistry - are invited to present aspects of their work for discussion with the aim of not only to advance science, but also, to enhance interdisciplinary communication.

Chemistry and biology are two of the most creative sciences. The ability of chemists to design and create their own research objects is a unique feature of this science, making it in at least some ways, perhaps the branch of science that is closest to art, although the art of biological systems goes often unmatched.

Since the holistic approach of transferring data from small reaction systems to more complex systems consisting of hundreds or thousands of components is usually impractical, understanding of chemical and biological systems is often best achieved through reductionism.

Complex problems are broken down into their smallest parts, on the assumption that these behave in predictable, reproducible ways so that new theories or methods can be developed, tested and refined. Chemistry has been very creatively used to help understand pharmacological systems. Now modern biology through point mutations, siRNA, cloning, knockouts, is also providing many creative tools.

We are looking for ways to increase our understanding of nature going from methodologies with regard to chemical building blocks, to complex molecules, supra molecular assemblies and cells and organisms. Now that biologists and chemists are becoming able to modify and control biological systems, using the combined creativity and prowess of both disciplines, many hidden secrets of the biological systems in cells and organism can be begun to be understood and investigated in a structured manner. Parallels between contemporary chemistry and complex biological processes will be examined.

Scientific Program

Opening Remarks and Greetings
Martin G. Hicks, Beilstein-Institut, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Systems Chemistry and the Origin of Life
Günter von Kiedrowski, University of Bochum, Germany

Chemistry in Three Dimensions: How a System's Biology may Regulate its System's Chemistry
Hans V. Westerhoff, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Patches in the Genetic Program as Prerequisites for the Construction of a Synthetic Cell
Antoine Danchin, CNRS – Institut Pasteur, Paris, France

Catalysis at the Origin of Life
Athel Cornish-Bowden, CNRS, Marseille, France

New Concepts for Catalysis
Benjamin List, Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Mülheim/Ruhr, Germany

New Tools for Molecule Makers: Emerging Technologies
Steven V. Ley, University of Cambridge, UK

Microreactors as Tools for Organic Synthesis
Peter H. Seeberger, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich, Switzerland

Chemical Biology with Organometallics
Eric Meggers, University of Marburg, Germany

Exploring Biological and Chemical Space with High-throughput Crystallographic, Biophysical and Computational Methods: The new Dimensions of Drug Discovery
Tom L. Blundell, University of Cambridge, UK

Modeling for Regenerative Medicine
Dave A. Winkler, Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Drug and Xenobiotic Transport via Membrane Carriers - an Exception or the Rule? Biophysical versus Mechanistic Analyses
Douglas B. Kell, University of Manchester, UK

The Chemistry of Signal Transduction in the TetR System
Timothy Clark, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany

Protein Interaction, Association and Fibrillation
Sara Linse, Lund University, Sweden

Life on the Edge: Proteins are Close to their Solubility Limits
Michele Vendruscolo, University of Cambridge, UK

Shedding Light on Nucleic Acids and DNA under Construction
Alexander Heckel, University of Frankfurt, Germany

High-throughput Analysis of Nucleoside- and Nucleotide-binding by Proteins
Justin K. M. Roberts, University of California, Riverside, USA

Systems Biology from Synergistic Chemical Combinations
Joseph Lehár, CombinatoRx, Inc., Cambridge, USA

A Dynamical Supramolecular System for Chemical Biology - a Step towards Contiguous Structural Spaces
Holger Wallmeier, Sulzbach/Taunus, Germany

The Chances and Limitations of Molecular Design
Gisbert Schneider, University of Frankfurt, Germany

Summary and Closing Remarkds
Christop Steinbeck, EMBL Outstation - European Bioinformatics Institute, Hinxton, UK

Bozen 2008