From left to right, top row: Distinguished Professor and the conference chair Sang Yup Lee, Sang-Hyup Kim - Secretary to the President of Korea, Dr. Jay Keasling, Dr. Greg Stephanopoulos. Left to right, bottom row: Dr. William Provine, Dr. Terry Papoutsakis, Dr, Jens Nielsen, Dr. Lars Nielsen.
The importance of industrial biotechnology that produces chemicals and materials from renewable biomass is increasing due to climate change and the dearth of natural resources. Industrial biotechnology refers to a technology that allows sustainable bio-based production of chemicals and materials that could enrich human"s lives using microorganisms. This is where metabolic engineering comes into play for successful application of microorganisms, in which they are engineered in our intended way for improved production capability.
The 8th International Conference on Metabolic Engineering, the longest running conference of its kind, was held on June 13-18, 2010 at the International Convention Center in Jeju Island, South Korea. Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee of KAIST, Dean of College of Life Science and Bioengineering and Co-Director of Institute for the BioCentury, chaired the conference with the main theme of "metabolic engineering for green growth."
With 300 delegates selected by the committee, papers on production of biofuels, chemicals, biopolymers, and pharmaceutics and the development of fundamental metabolic engineering techniques were presented at the conference along with examples of successful commercialization of products developed by several global companies.
Sang Hyup Kim, Secretary to the President of Korea, gave an opening plenary lecture entitled "Korean green growth initiative," to inform experts from around the globe of the leadership on green growth in Korea. Young Hoon Park, President of Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB, Korea) delivered his congratulatory address.
Sang Hyup Kim said, "Hosting an international conference in Korea on metabolic engineering, which forms a core technology necessary for the development of environmentally friendly processes for producing chemicals and biofuels from renewable biomass, is very meaningful as green growth is a big issue around the globe. This is a great chance to show the excellence of Korea"s green growth associated technology to experts in metabolic engineering and industrial biotechnology."
A total of 47 invited lectures in this conference included recent and important topics, for instance, "Synthetic biology for synthetic fuels" by Dr. Jay Keasling from the Joint BioEnergy Institute (USA), "Microbial oil production from renewable feedstocks" by Dr. Greg Stephanopoulos from MIT (USA), "Yeast as a platform cell factory for production of fuels and chemicals" by Dr. Jens Nielsen from Chalmers University (Sweden), "Mammalian synthetic biology - from tools to therapies" by Dr. Martin Fussengger from ETH (Switzerland), "Building, modeling, and applications of metabolic and transcriptional regulatory networks at a genome-scale" by Dr. Bernhard Palsson from the University of California - San Diego (USA), "Genome analysis and engineering Eschericha coli for sucrose utilization" by Dr. Lars Nielsen from the University of Queensland (Australia), "Artificial microorganisms by synthetic biology" by Dr. Daniel Gibson from JCVI (USA), and "Metabolomics and its applications" by Dr. Masaru Tomita from Keio University (Japan). From Korea, Dr. Jin Hwan Park from the research group of Dr. Sang Yup Lee at KAIST presented "Systems metabolic engineering of Escherichia coli for amino acid production," and Dr. Ji Hyun Kim from KRIBB presented "Genome sequencing and omics systems analysis of the protein cell factory of Escherichia coli".
Global companies involved in biorefinery presented their recent research outcomes with emphasis on commercialized technologies. They included "Metabolic and process engineering for commercial outcomes" by Dr. William Provine from DuPont (USA), "Direct production of 1,4-butanediol from renewable feedstocks" by Dr. Mark Burk from Genomatica (USA), "Development of an economically sustainable bioprocess for the production of bio 1,2-propanediol" by Dr. Francis Voelker from Metabolic Explorer (France), "Biotechnology to the bottom-line: low pH lactic acid production at industrial scale" by Dr. Pirkko Suominen from Cargill (USA), "Bioisoprene™: traditional monomer, traditional chemistry, sustainable source" by Dr. Gregg Whited from Danisco (USA) and "Efficient production of pharmaceuticals by engineered fungi" by Dr. Roel Bovenberg from DSM (Netherlands).
This biennial conference also presented the International Metabolic Engineering Award (expanded version of the previous Merck Metabolic Engineering Award) to the best metabolic engineer in the world. The 2010 International Metabolic Engineering Award went to Dr. E. Terry Papoutsakis from the University of Delaware (USA) who has contributed to the production of biobutanol through the metabolic engineering of Clostridia in the last three decades, and he gave an award lecture. Dr. Sang Yup Lee, the current chair of the upcoming conference, was the previous recipient of this award at the last metabolic engineering conference in 2008.
In addition to the invited lectures, a total of 156 carefully selected poster papers were chosen for presentation, and awards were presented to the best posters after rigorous review by the committee members. Such awards included "The 2010 Metabolic Engineering Best Poster Award" and the "2010 Young Metabolic Engineer Award" from the Metabolic Engineering conference, and prestigious international journal awards, including "Wiley Biotechnology Journal Best Poster Award", "Wiley Biotechnology and Bioengineering Best Poster Award" and "Elsevier Metabolic Engineering Best Paper Award." Dr. Catherine Goodman, a senior editor of Nature Chemical Biology, also presented the "Nature Chemical Biology Best Poster Award on Metabolic Engineering."
Regarding this conference, Dr. Sang Yup Lee, the conference chair, said, "This conference is the best international conference in the field of metabolic engineering, which is held every two years, and Korea is the first Asian country to host it. All the experts and students spend time together from early breakfast to late poster sessions, which is a distinct feature of this conference. Although the number of delegates had typically been limited to 200, around 300 delegates were selected this year to accept more attendees from many people who have been interested in metabolic engineering. Also, it is very fitting that "green growth" is the main topic of this conference because Korea is playing a key role in this field. I"m grateful to the Lotte Scholarship Foundation, COFCO, GS Caltex, Bioneer, US DOE, US NSF, Daesang, CJ Cheiljedang, Genomatica and DuPont who provided us with generous financial support that allowed the successful organization of this conference."
The conference was organized by the Systems Biology Research Project Team supported by the Ministry of Eduction, Science and Technology (MEST), Microbial Frontier Research Project Group, World Class University Project Group at KAIST, Institute for the BioCentury at KAIST, Korean Society for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, and the Engineering Conference International (ECI) of the United States.
Inquiries: Professor Sang Yup Lee (+82-42-350-3930), firstname.lastname@example.org
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