Small Molecule Interactions in Biomembranes (#418)

Small molecules that interact with biological membranes represent a frontier area of research with substantial impact in chemistry, biology, and medicine. For example, polyene-macrolide antibiotics and antimicrobial peptides directly bind lipids or sterols and exert powerful membrane-permeabilizing activities. These compounds can serve as powerful antibiotics or cell-penetrating agents for drug delivery, and represent natural starting points for the development small molecules with protein ion channel-like functions. The mechanisms of action of these small molecules have remained mysterious, but there have been major recent breakthroughs by the organizers and invited speakers. These advances have collectively created exciting new opportunities in several frontier areas of research that will be covered in the symposium, including synthesis of labeled compounds/fluorescent probes, development of analytical methods to characterize small molecule-membrane complexes at the atomistic level, and the pursuit of small molecules that can replace missing proteins that underlie a range of currently incurable human diseases. Bringing together from all over the world all of the active researchers of this area at this critical and exciting time in the field stands to powerfully accelerate the recent progress and stimulate major new breakthroughs.
Last update: Dec 28, 2015