Madeline Shea presented the 3rd Annual Gary K. Ackers Lecture at the 25th Annual Gibbs Conference on Biothermodynamics in Illinois in September. The laboratories of Ernesto Fuentes and Shahram Khademi also participated in the meeting, along with Biochemistry alumni and members of their current laboratories, including Liskin Swint-Kruse at KUMC and Greg DeKoster at Washington University (Robertson Lab graduates), Brian Baker at Notre Dame and Jim Horn at Northern Illinois (Murphy Lab graduates) and Susan Pedigo at Ole Miss (Shea Lab graduate). In fact, current and former Iowa Biochemistry members and their trainees accounted for 12% of the attendees at this year’s conference.
The Gibbs Conference annually attracts 200 scientists with an interest in the energetics, kinetics, structure, and engineering of biological macromolecules and systems. The conference showcases a broad spectrum of thermodynamic, structural, hydrodynamic, spectroscopic, calorimetric, and computational techniques. Since its inception in 1987, the Gibbs Conference has been attended by many students and postdoctoral fellows. This year, half of the approximately 30 talks were delivered by trainees. Trainees also served as session moderators, including four with Iowa connections: John Froehlig, a former Shea Lab undergraduate student now in Herschel Wade’s laboratory at Johns Hopkins; Ann Murray, in the Fuentes laboratory; Nagamani Vunnam, in the Pedigo lab at Ole Miss; and Dan Parente in the Swint-Kruse lab at KUMC. More than 110 posters – most presented by junior scientists – were displayed during the poster session. This year the meeting added a new event – Saturday Night Thermo – for trainees only. It featured flashtalks and a Career Panel. This was co-organized by KUMC Associate Professor Liskin Swint-Kruse and LSU Professor Vince LiCata.
There was a special issue of Biophysical Chemistry associated with this meeting, including papers from Swint-Kruse and Shea. Dr. Shea also penned a historical introductory article on 25 years of the conference.