Cancelled: Chemical biology symposium 2020

11 May 2020, London, United Kingdom

This symposium will showcase the state of the art in chemical biology, bringing together the wider community with leading national and international experts in the field. The programme will explore all aspects of chemical biology and highlight the wider scope and impact of the field. Additional aims of the event are to stimulate research collaboration, networking and engagement within the chemical biology community, as well as with those in related disciplines.
This event will include a poster session, providing an opportunity for early career researchers to share and discuss their recent research advances and to network with others delegates. Abstracts are welcomed from PhD students who are in their final year of study (at the time of submission), postdoctoral researchers and early career academics.

CV Checks

In addition, two of the RSC’s Career and Professional Developments Specialists will be available for one-on-one CV consultations. 10-minute sessions can be booked at registration, and are available to RSC members only. 


The Royal Society of Chemistry is keen to encourage and enable as many people as possible to attend our events, to benefit from the networking opportunities and the chance to hear talks from leaders in the field. If you would like to discuss accessibility, or have childcare, caring responsibilities or other care needs, please contact us to discuss your requirements so that we can enable your attendance. Please refer also to our Grants for carers fund, for more information please see the ‘bursaries’ section on this page.
Justin Benesch, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Justin’s research has garnered an international reputation for innovative biophysical chemistry approaches based on combining mass measurement with other experimental methods, simulations, and quantitative thermodynamic and kinetic analyses. This has allowed him and his group to change our thinking as to how proteins assemble, interact, and even evolve.

After a degree in Chemistry at the University of Oxford, Justin obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge for the development and application of novel mass spectrometry approaches. He was awarded fellowships from the Medical Research Council and Royal Society, and appointed to faculty at the University of Oxford in 2012 as an Associate Professor in Biophysical Chemistry, and Tutorial Fellow in Physical Chemistry at University College. Justin has been recognised by the Cell Stress Society International with the Alfred Tissières Award, the Howard Prize Lecture from the Biophysical Sciences Institute at Durham, and the Norman Heatley Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2019.

His group’s research impacts broadly the interface between chemistry and the life sciences. Their insights have been important to understanding molecular chaperone (mal)function in humans, and the stress tolerance of plants; and their innovations in mass measurement approaches have provided new means for researchers to quantify biomolecules and their interactions. 

Benjamin Cravatt, The Scripps Research Institute, United States

Dr. Cravatt is a Professor and the Norton B. Gilula Chair of Chemical Biology in the Department of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute. His research group is interested in developing chemical proteomic technologies that enable protein and drug discovery on a global scale and applying these methods to characterize proteins that play important roles in human physiology and disease, especially as pertains to the nervous system and cancer.  Dr. Cravatt obtained his undergraduate education at Stanford University, receiving a B.S. in the Biological Sciences and a B.A. in History.  He then received a Ph.D. from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in 1996.   Professor Cravatt joined the faculty at TSRI in 1997. Dr. Cravatt is an Associate Editor for JACS and is a co-founder of Activx Biosciences, Abide Therapeutics, and Vividion Therapeutics. His honors include a Searle Scholar Award, the Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry, a Cope Scholar Award, the Protein Society Irving Sigal Young Investigator Award, the Tetrahedron Young Investigator Award in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, the ASBMB Merck Award, and memberships in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, and National Academy of Sciences.

Kai Johnsson, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Germany

Kai Johnsson is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Department of Chemical Biology, since 2017 and Professor at the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). His current research interests focus on the development of chemical approaches to visualize and manipulate biochemical activities in living cells. His past achievements include the introduction of methods to specifically label proteins in living cells (i.e. SNAP-tag and CLIP-tag), the development of new fluorescent probes and sensors as well as studies on the mechanism of action of drugs and drug candidates.

Kai Johnsson obtained his Diploma and PhD from the ETH Zürich in Switzerland. He joined the faculty of EPFL in 1999. Kai Johnsson is Associate Editor of ACS Chemical Biology since 2005. He is member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Science and of the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation. He received the Prix APLE for the invention of the year 2003 of EPFL, the Novartis Lectureship Award 2012/13, the Karl-Heinz Beckurts Prize 2016 and is elected member of EMBO. 

Laura Kiessling, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States

Laura Kiessling is an institute member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and the Novartis Professor of Chemistry at MIT. Her interdisciplinary research interests focus on elucidating and exploiting the mechanisms of cell surface recognition processes, especially those involving protein-glycan interactions. She and her lab also maintain an interest in multivalency and its role in recognition, signal transduction, and direction of cell fate.
Kiessling is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Member of the American Academy of Microbiology, the Wisconsin Academy of the Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences.  Since 2005 she has served as the founding Editor-In-Chief of the journal ACS Chemical Biology. She is an author of over 140 peer-reviewed journal articles, and an inventor on more than 28 US patents. She is a member of the Research Advisory Board of GlaxoSmithKline, the Yale University Council, and the Council of the National Academy of Sciences. Her honors and awards include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the ACS Gibbs Medal, and, most recently, the Tetrahedron Prize.
Professor Kiessling received an Sc.B. degree in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she performed undergraduate research in organic synthesis with Professor Bill Roush. She received her Ph.D. in chemistry at Yale University for her research with Stuart L. Schreiber. After two years at the California Institute of Technology as an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow with Peter B Dervan, she joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1991. There she became the Steenbock Professor of Chemistry, the Laurens Anderson Professor of Biochemistry, and the Director of the Keck Center for Chemical Genomics. In 2017, she returned to MIT as the Novartis Professor of Chemistry.

Fiona Marshall, MSD, United Kingdom

Fiona is VP at MSD where she is Head of Neuroscience Discovery and Head of the new Discovery Research Centre in London  which is focused on research into diseases of ageing.    Previously Fiona was Chief scientific officer at SoseiHeptares. Fiona was a founder of Heptares Therapeutics a highly successful UK Biotech company focussed on structure- based drug design.  Fiona is most well known for her work in the field of G protein-coupled receptors.  Whilst at GSK her team was responsible for the identification of the heterodimerization of the GABAB receptor, and the cloning of the RAMP/CGRP receptors, the HCA2 receptor and the free fatty acid receptors FFA2 and FFA3.  Whilst at Heptares her team solved the X-ray structures of over 15 different GPCRs including the first structures of Class B and Class C receptors.  Fiona won the 2012 WISE Women of Outstanding Achievement for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the 2015 RSC Malcolm Campbell Award for chemistry. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Honorary Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society and  Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Alanna Schepartz, UC Berkeley, United States

Alanna Schepartz is the C.Z. and Irmgard Chu Distinguished Chair in the departments of Chemistry and Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research group studies the chemistry and biology of complex cellular machines and exploits this knowledge to design or discover molecules–both small and large–with unique or useful properties. Dr. Schepartz obtained her undergraduate education in chemistry at the State University of New York, Albany. She earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University under the direction of Ronald Breslow, and spent two years as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at Caltech working with Peter Dervan. Professor Schepartz joined the faculty at Yale in 1988 and was named a Sterling Professor, Yale’s highest honor, in 2017. In 2019 Professor Schepartz and her laboratory moved to the University of California, Berkeley. Her honors include a Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, the Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry, an ACS Cope Scholar Award, the ACS Chemical Biology Prize,
the Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry, the Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry, the Frank H. Westheimer Prize, and the Wheland Medal. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

Abstract Submission
Submit your poster abstract by 2 March 2020.  

Abstracts are welcomed from PhD students who are in their final year of study (at the time of submission), postdoctoral researchers and early career academics. 

Authors will be notified of the outcome of the review process within 4 weeks of the submission deadline. The abstracts should be no longer than one A4 page in portrait layout. 
Registration is now open and includes:
  • ​Attendance at the sessions
  • Refreshments throughout the meeting
  • Lunch
  • Attendance at the poster session drinks reception
  • Hard copy of the abstracts
  • **For non-member registrants, membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry until the end of 2020
Registration category Early bird* Standard*
Non-member £66.67 £75.00
Member £58.33 £66.67
Student non-member £50.00 £58.33
Student member £41.67 £50.00
Accompanying fee £41.67 £41.67
*Prices above do not include VAT, this will be added during registration at the prevailing rate

**For non-member registrants, affiliate membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry until the end of 2020, the affiliate membership application will be processed and commence once the registrant has attended the event.

Accompanying person

If you would like to bring a guest to the conference, this can be done during the registration process. The accommpanying person fee includes:

  • Refreshments throughout the meeting
  • Lunch
  • Attendance at the poster session drinks reception 

Travel and health insurance

Delegates are advised to ensure that they have appropriate travel and health insurance.

Terms and Conditions for Events run by the Royal Society of Chemistry


Travel Grants for PhD Students and Early Career Scientists

We have two types of grants available to attend this meeting:
  • A limited number of non-competitive travel grants of up to £200 are available for PhD students and early career scientists. These are assigned on a first come, first served basis. Applicants must be Royal Society of Chemistry members of any level at the time of making their application.
  • Competitive grants of up to £800 are available to assist with international travel expenses for PhD students, postdocs within 10 years of completing their PhD and early career scientists (including technicians and industrialists) within 10 years of leaving full time education. In addition, applicants must be Royal Society of Chemistry members of any level at the time of making their application. 
To take advantage of the competitive grants and many other benefits, become a member. Follow the link on the right hand side to find out more and join today!
Applications for either grant should be submitted as early as possible. Please see respective terms & conditions for full eligibility information.

Grants for Carers

Grants for carers have been introduced following the Royal Society of Chemistry Breaking the barriers report where 78% of chemists working in UK academia felt that managing parenting and/or caring responsibilities has an impact on women’s retention and progression. This fund is not limited to women scientists and welcomes applications from anyone with caring responsibilities. These grants have been supported by The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Chemists’ Community Fund.
Caring responsibilities are wide and varied, and so each application will be individually assessed, examples of applications that we will consider include:
  • paying for extra home help or nursing care for a dependent whilst you will not be present
  • additional medical/respite care for a dependent whilst you will not be present
  • travel expenses for a relative to travel with you to care for dependents whilst you attend a meeting or event
  • paying for extended hours with a care worker/childminder/play scheme to cover time when you will arrive home later than normal.
You are eligible to apply if:
  • you are a chemist
  • you will incur additional caring expenses whilst attending a chemistry-related meeting, conference, event or workshop or a professional development event
  • you will use these funds to cover the cost of care that you usually provide
  • you are based in the UK or Ireland or if not, you will normally have held three years RSC membership (past or current).
Sponsorship & supporting organisations
A selection of sponsorship opportunities are available for companies who would like to promote their activities at the Chemical Biology Symposium 2020.

As well as booking a table top exhibition space, there are opportunities to sponsor social events, advertise in the abstract book or place a promotional item in delegate packs. A sponsorship menu document is available to download from this page with more details and prices.

If you would like more information about sponsoring the Chemical Biology Symposium, please contact the Commercial Sales Department at the Royal Society of Chemistry on Sponsorship Menu
The Royal Society of Chemistry

The Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BA, United Kingdom

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