Meeting report

[AsCA logo]AsCA '07

Taipei, Taiwan, November 4-7, 2007

[Speakers]Speakers and Chair/Co-chair of the first session "New Methods for Structural Biology". Left to right: Z-J. Liu, B-C. Wang, L. Ito, K. Sekar, C. Yang and I. Tanaka.
The 8th Conference of the Asian Crystallographic Assn featured excellent presentations on every aspect of crystallographic theory, methods and application. The opening plenary lecture by Z.L. Wang (Georgia Inst. of Technology, USA) exemplified this with stunningly beautiful slides of exciting and innovative research in the field of nanopiezo electronics. Wang is exploring innovative nanotechnologies for converting mechanical energy (such as body movement and muscle stretching), vibration energy (such as acoustic/ultrasonic waves) and hydraulic energy (such as body fluid and blood flow) into electric energy that will be used to power nanodevices without using batteries. He showed amazing pictures of circular and helical single crystals of nanoscale materials that produce intricate and beautiful diffraction patterns. He illustrated how a long single crystal “belt” turns into a helix and the fine details of the surfaces of these crystals. He demonstrated the ability of his piezoelectronic crystals to generate voltage and speculated convincingly about potential biological applications. His rem[AsCA '07 attendees]arkable slides and illustrations can be found at and in a paper in Science (Wang and Song), Vol. 312 (2006), pp. 242-246.

[Poster prize winners]IUCr poster-prize winners Kazuyuki Toyota, Yi-Wei Chang and Yu-Chun Chuang
In her plenary lecture Jill Trewhella (U. Sydney, Australia) explored another X-ray diffraction frontier, solution scattering studies of biomolecules, and presented applications including the development of new antibiotics that target enzymes in gram-negative bacteria that are not found in mammals. Novel applications of diffraction techniques to test the perfection and properties of microelectronic devices and sensors including boundary dislocations and point defects in crystals of silicon and gallium arsenide semiconductors were described by K. Lal (National Physical Lab, India) in his plenary lecture. Other plenary talks concerned gating control in molecular transporters in bacteria (O. Nurek, Tokyo Inst. of Technology, Japan), molecular mechanics of apoptosis (Y. Shi, Princeton U., USA) and the synthesis, crystal structure and solid-state NMR of new metal silicates (K-H. Lii, National Central U., Taiwan).

[Poster prize winners]AsCA and RSCB poster prize winners.
There were six macromolecular microsymposia on new methods of crystallographic phasing and analysis, membrane proteins and assemblies as well as two sessions devoted to new protein structures of novel fold and function. The microsymposia in the area of materials research covered crystal engineering and molecular dynamics; organic, inorganic, electronic and magnetic structures; and pharmaceuticals and natural products. The six microsymposia on methods and techniques covered small-angle scattering, synchrotron radiation, powder and neutron diffraction.

In a session on neutron sources, instrumentation and applications, Andrew Studer (ANSTO, Australia) described early results from the fastest neutron powder diffractometer in Australia, which included in situ measurements of battery charging and discharging.

Sung-Min Choi (KAIST, Korea) described plans for a 40 m SANS instrument at the proposed cold source at HANARO. The need for such an instrument in Korea was clearly justified through an example of polymer coatings on single wall carbon nanotubes, with such coatings leading to stable dispersions of the nanotubes. Robert Robinson (ANSTO, Australia) gave an overview of the status of the neutron scattering instruments at the new OPAL reactor in Sydney, stating that the instruments will be available to all users, irrespective of location. Finally Toru Ishigaki (Ibaraki U., Japan) described the status of the neutron beam instruments at J-PARC with focus on the Ibaraki materials diffractometer. Each talk attracted lively discussion and the crystallographic opportunities afforded by these new facilities promise excellent science in the future.

Ten poster prizes were awarded: Mg2+ transport proteins (M. Hattori, Japan), transcriptional coactivation (C-L. Li, Taipei, Taiwan), heat shock proteins (Y-W. Chang, Taiwan), nitrilases (S. Kimani, Suth Africa), inclusion compounds (K. Toyota, Japan), nickel complexes (Y-C. Chuang, Taiwan), disorder in solid solutions (Y. Terado, Japan), polymers (A. Au-Yeung, Hong Kong), modulated structures of metal oxides (N. Sharma, Australia) and charge-density analysis of heterobimetallic compounds (C-R. Lee, Taiwan).

There were four social events: the welcome reception (sponsored by Rayonix and Marresearch), a buffet dinner (sponsored by Bruker AXS), the conference banquet (sponsored by Rigaku), and the farewell party (sponsored by the Organizing Committee).

Bernard Kennedy and Bill Duax

[Poster session]View of poster session and Exhibit area.
[Exhibit area]

AsCA ’07 Council Meeting

Shih-Lin Chang, Chairman of the International Organizing Committee in Taipei, presented a summary of statistics concerning AsCA 07. A total of 337 abstracts were received for 6 plenary, 96 oral and 235 poster presentations. The 412 attendees came from 20 countries, including 117 from Taiwan and 159 student registrants. Japan headed the list of non-local participants. The exhibit featured 19 booths for sponsoring organizations. Of the 41 applications received for travel, 19 awards were made with IUCr funding.

On behalf of Zihe Rao, Zhi-Jie Liu presented a bid to host the AsCA 09 meeting in Beijing. A joint meeting is proposed with the Biophysics Society of China (of which Rao is currently chairman), the Chinese Crystallographic Assn and the Inst. of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. The likely venue would be the Beijing International Conference Centre (BICC), adjacent to the 2008 Olympic site, in October or early November. The council endorsed the bid.

Se Won Suh (Seoul National U., Korea) presented a proposal from Korea to host AsCA 10. Korea has not yet hosted an AsCA meeting and the crystallographic community in Korea is growing. The most likely dates for the meeting would be late October/early November. Details concerning several possible venues were presented; the key issues were a) facilities and location, b) cost and c) transportation logistics. The bid from Korea was endorsed.

[AsCA Council]Members of AsCA Council and others presenting bids for future meetings. Standing: S. Hall, K. Lal, J Martin, K. Miki, K. Haller, A. Hussain, Y. Wang, A. Nangia, Y. Ohashi, S.W. Suh, D. Sangaa, J.K Dattagupta, G. Desiraju, M. Takata, S-L. Chang. Seated: B. Kobe, M. Guss, M. Vijayan, I.D. Williams.
Ashwini Nangia (India) made a presentation on behalf of the Indian crystallographic community describing their bid to host IUCr23 in Hyderabad in 2014 and soliciting the endorsement of the bid by the AsCA council. The bid was put together on behalf of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and the Indian Crystallographic Assn (ICA). Several reasons were offered for hosting the congress in India. An IUCr congress has never been held there, India has a long and rich history in crystallography and has witnessed a surge in research in both small molecule and macromolecular areas since the 1980s. Of several centers of excellence identified as potential meeting sites, Hyderabad is favored as it has a cluster of universities and institutes and both pharmaceutical and materials R&D laboratories. A new international airport has recently opened there, directly served by Dubai, Frankfurt, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, as well as a state-of-the art convention center capable of holding several thousand delegates. Nangia felt that a large contingent of local and Asian attendees could be expected to attend. Most opinions and comments were highly favorable for the bid and Vijayan gained the consent of all council members to fully endorse and support such a strong bid from the AsCA region.

On the basis of information provided by Y. Ohashi (Japan) and S. Hall (Australia), Secretary/Treasurer I. D. Williams reported the current balance in the AsCA accounts of Y634,800 (US $5,000) in the Japanese account and A$107,061 in the Australian account. New officers for the next triennium were “elected” by unanimous vote. They are President Mitchell Guss (Austalia, immediate past Vice-President), Vice-President Se Won Suh (Korea) and Secretary/Treasurer Ken Haller (Thailand). Guss thanked Vijayan for his astute and valued leadership of the society for the past three years and the meeting was adjourned.