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Nature Chemical Biology’s symposium series

Taken from the Editorial in the November issue of Nature Chemical Biology (5, 863; 2009):

In the past decade, chemical biology has expanded to embrace increasingly diverse research areas at the interface of chemistry and biology. Nature Chemical Biology has strived to highlight this aspect of chemical biology by publishing papers that apply chemical and biological approaches to achieving a greater mechanistic understanding of biological systems. The field also offers small molecules and tools that can be used to manipulate chemical and biological systems with unprecedented molecular precision. Given these basic and applied aspects, chemical biology has naturally resonated with fields that rely upon integrated chemical and biological insights. No field has been more affected than drug discovery.

This synergy was highlighted at the third Nature Chemical Biology symposium Chemical Biology in Drug Discovery, held on 19–20 September 2009 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The organizers were Paul Workman (Cancer Research UK Centre for Cancer Therapeutics at The Institute of Cancer Research, UK), Giulio Superti-Furga (Center for Molecular Medicine, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria), Brian Shoichet (University of California, San Francisco, USA), and Joanne Kotz (Nature Chemical Biology, USA)

Though the symposium focused primarily on the ways that chemical biology will shape the science of drug discovery, it was clear that chemical biologists, who are equipped with a substantial toolbox of ‘pathfinder compounds’, chemical methods and other technologies, represent a new generation of talented interdisciplinary scientists who will bring fresh insights to the drug discovery culture. Pharmaceutical companies should make every effort to integrate chemical biology programs and scientists into their portfolios to promote innovation in chemical biology for drug discovery.

A primary aim of the Nature Chemical Biology symposium series has been to nucleate discussions among scientists who share common interests but approach these scientific areas from different perspectives or with divergent tools. We look forward to bringing together other groups at the frontiers of chemical biology, and we welcome suggestions for future symposium topics.

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