ACS National Meeting and Exposition, USA, 22-26 March 2009

I was fortunate to be able to attend the ACS National Meeting and Exhibition 2009 Spring Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was held in the Salt Palace Convention Centre in the centre of the city. Just being there gave me an awareness of the scope of chemistry and the amount of research that is carried out all over the world. Although I had been to a number of much smaller meetings in the UK, this was a very different experience.

There were lots of parallel sessions in both organic and medicinal chemistry which gave me a choice of sessions to attend over the five days of the conference. Lectures were given by a large range of students, academics and industrial chemists. The meeting gave me an opportunity to go to lectures given by some of the most prolific and well-known organic chemists such as Amos B. Smith III, Brian Stoltz, Larry Overman and David Evans. Many of them chemists who I’d heard of and read papers from, but not had the chance to see speak about their work. In addition to these I also attended a number of medicinal chemistry lectures and general sessions where students also had the opportunity to present.

As well as attending the lectures there were poster sessions in the evenings which enabled a lot more discussion with the presenters about their work. These covered numerous aspects of medicinal and organic chemistry and were a great opportunity to meet people.

I presented my poster, ‘Kinase-directed libraries inspired by the natural product indirubin’ in one of the organic poster sessions. Throughout the two hour session, many people showed interest and came to discuss the work, ask questions and offer suggestions. It was great to get the opportunity to talk about my work to so many chemists.

At the conference there was quite an emphasis on boron chemistry in many of the sessions with two sessions even being dedicated to boronate chemistry due to its multiple uses in organic synthesis. I was most impressed by the talks given by Sarah O’Connor and others on the uses of enzymes to modify or make compounds and by Peter Wipf and Andrew Phillips on the use of natural product analogues or natural product like compounds as drugs.

Overall it was great to have the opportunity to learn so much about medicinal and organic chemistry, both similar and very different to that which I do and to see and talk about some fantastic and interesting chemistry. It was also really good to present my work and talk to others who were interested in it too. I would like to thank SCI for the Messel Bursary which helped enable me to attend this meeting.

Lynette Smyth
The Institute of Cancer Research

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