Balmy summer days in Vienna were the perfect backdrop for the excellent scientific programme at Biotrans 2015. As always, the conference provided a great summary of the latest developments in biocatalysis and biotransformations, with good representation from around the world.
Highlights for myself included an excellent presentation on the progression of enzyme engineering from capturing exquisite natural chemistries to evolving enzymes for bio-based applications incorporating man-made designer chemistries by Prof. Frances Arnold from Caltech; some very impressive systems metabolic engineering described by Prof. Sang Yup Lee from Korea and enthusiastic perspectives on the emerging area of “genochemetics” and “chemogenetics” by Dr Rebecca Goss from Scotland and Prof. Tom Ward from Basel, Switzerland. Both imine reductases and artificial metalloenzymes commanded entire sessions, excellently lead by Prof Nick Turner from Manchester and Prof. Tom Ward from Basel, respectively. Several presentations also addressed “the cofactor problem”, with elegant solutions ranging from ordered co-immobilization to artificial synthetic cofactor analogues to our own nanomachines incorporating tethered cofactors.
Social highlights included an excellent Heuriger dinner, a visit to the Schönnbrun palace and an appropriately musical opening ceremony featuring the TU Wien string quartet. Many evenings were spent exploring intriguing alleys and quaint restaurants in the Old City, as well as admiring the spectacular palaces, cathedrals and horses of Vienna.