The German Bunsen Society of Physical Chemistry (DBG) is honored to invite on the occasion of the

116th General Assembly of the German Bunsen Society for Physical Chemistry

from 25th to 27th May 2017 at the TU Kaiserslautern.

Main Topic: Physical Chemistry for Life Sciences
Opening Lecture: Development of Proteomics Technologies and their Application to Life Sciences
Industrial Symposium: Physical Chemistry for Life Sciences in Industry and Industrial Exhibition

The tremendous progress in Life Sciences that brought this discipline into the public spotlight in the last decades has been spurred by the development and refinement of methods from both experimental and theoretical physical chemistry. The contribution of physical chemistry to Life Sciences as a key technology of the 21st century must not be underestimated and strongly enabled the analysis of biologically relevant processes on a molecular level. This is e.g. a precondition for medical science to design drugs and therapeutic approaches.

Some methodological developments like matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) and electrospray ionization (ESI) paved the way for mass spectrometry to become a standard analytical technique in proteomics. Furthermore spectroscopy and microscopy yield information on structure, functionality and whole biological processes in the disciplines of Life Sciences. Manifold spectroscopic techniques exist which are able to cover different sizes of molecular systems in gas and condensed phase and with respect to different time resolutions. Due to the complexity of biological systems e.g. a bottom-up approach can start with the investigation of single molecular components. In this context different (laser) spectroscopic techniques for example analyze isolated species in molecular beams or ion traps yielding intrinsic structural properties with regard to fundamental interactions like hydrogen bonds, dispersion or electrostatic stabilization. Those kinds of interactions also govern intermediate structures in protein folding pathways or are important in rational drug design for specific biomolecular targets. In addition time resolved spectroscopy reaching from millisecond to femtosecond resolution allows to activate, probe and analyze energy levels and thereby to follow dynamics of biologically relevant systems of different sizes. The structure elucidation of macromolecules like proteins, lipids, DNA or RNA as well as macromolecular complexes is also a domain of EPR and NMR spectroscopy. Further increasing in size the visualization of cellular structures or whole cells is the domain of microscopy though (especially with regard to fluorescence) the junction to spectroscopy is fluent.

Despite this enormous pool of techniques – only a few were addressed here – theoretical studies are necessary to gain insight into processes of biological systems on a molecular level and by this to interpret and support experimental findings. Depending on the size of the system advanced ab initio and DFT-based chemical methods or molecular dynamics simulations are applied with the latter even allowing the analysis of large biological entities (e.g. proteins, ion channels, membranes).

As briefl y illustrated above the application of physical chemistry concepts and methods branches out in fields of biochemistry, molecular biology, molecular medicine and should in this meeting bring together outstanding scientists to discuss leading-edge results and push the frontiers of these fields further. The strong interdisciplinary aspect of the main topic of the Bunsentagung 2017 should foster discussions and spawn new collaborations across the boundaries of scientific disciplines.