Obituary: Ivano Bertini (1940-2012)

Picture of Ivano Bertini

Ivano Bertini died of lung cancer on July 7, 2012, whilst still fully scientifically active.  He was at the crossroad of many scientific communities, encompassing chemistry, biology, biophysics, spectroscopy and biomedicine.  Academia and society as a whole have lost a unique personality, one that will not be easily forgotten.

As many scientists, Ivano did not believe in life after death but, as Frank Rooney once said: “Immortality is the genius to move others long after you yourself have stopped moving”.

The above is an excerpt from an Obituary by Lucia Banci, Director of CERM, and Claudio Luchinat, President of CIRMMP, Professors of Chemistry at the University of Florence, CERM/CIRMMP, Via Luigi Sacconi 6, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy.The full text is available at Bertini Obituary

Applications for Funding for 2013

Applications for funding for Workshops and Schools in 2013 will be open from July 2, and close on August 31, 2012 at midnight, Sydney, Australia time.
Council will then assess the applications, and decisions on the allocation of funds will be made as soon as possible. All applicants will be notified of the results, we hope within six weeks from the date of closure of applications.
The IUPAB website has details of the current Sponsorship policy and guidelines, as well as the Application for Funding form.
Please contact either the Secretary-General or the Treasurer if you have any queries about applications.

2012 Funding for Schools and Workshops

Applications are now open for IUPAB financial support for next year’s Schools and Workshops. Click on “Forms” to download a funding application. The closing date for submissions is AUGUST 30, 2011.

Obituary: Greta Pifat-Mrzljak

Vale Greta Pifat-Mrzljak
At the time of her death after an illness in December, 2009 Greta was director of the Ruder Boskovic Institute in Zagreb, Croatia. She was also the current awardee, and the first non-U.S. recipient, of the prestigious Emily M. Gray Award for exceptional contribution to education in biophysics. She will be remembered by many, but especially by the many students who benefited from her skilfully organised workshops and summer schools, the most recent in Rovinj, Croatia last year.

Sneak preview of the new official IUPAB journal

Biophysical Reviews vol 1, issue 1 2009.

The first articles for this issue are now available in pdf format by visiting the journal site.

Contents of issue #1:

1- Biochemical characterization of breast tumors by in vivo and in vitro magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS).
Uma Sharma; Naranamangalam R Jagannathan.

2- The role of beta-sheets in the structure and assembly of keratins.
David AD Parry; RD Bruce Fraser.

3- Properties of the nucleic-acid bases in free and Watson-Crick hydrogen-bonded states: Computational insights into the sequence-dependent features of double-helical DNA.
AR Srinivasan; Ronald R Sauers; Marcia O Fenley; Alexander H Boschitsch; Atsushi Matsumoto; Andrew V Colasanti; Wilma K. Olson.

4- Phase plate electron microscopy: A novel imaging tool to reveal close-to-life nanostructures
Kuniaki Nagayama; Danev S Danev.

5- CFTR structure and function: Is there a role in the kidney?
Jackson Souza-Menezes; Marcelo Marcos Morales

6- Intercalated discs: Multiple proteins perform multiple functions in
non-failing and failing human hearts.
Colleen B Estigoy; Fredrik Ponten; Jacob Odeberg; Benjamin Herbert; Michael Guilhaus; Michael Charleston; Joshua W Ho; Darryl Cameron; Cris G dos Remedios

Report: IUPAB Contribution to the ICSU 29th General Assembly in Maputo, Mozambique, October 20-24, 2008

As agreed and discussed with Council prior to the ICSU meeting, IUPAB presented a poster that focussed on IUPAB workshops and taskforces, especially as they related to Africa.  The poster can be viewed here.

Outcomes of the IUPAB presentation: The Secretary-General presented this poster and provided 25 copies as A4 printed sheets. The poster was located just outside the meeting room for African delegates. All copies were taken on the first day of the four day meeting. The content of the poster was discussed with delegates from African countries and organizations, and the laminated poster was presented to Professor Sospeter Muhongo, Regional Director ICSU Office For Africa where it will be displayed at their regional office in Pretoria.

The Secretary-General provided names, titles and email addresses of a number of African contacts requested by Professor Greta Pifat-Mrzljak who will encourage African students to attend the workshop she has organized in Croatia in 2009.  This list of contacts will also be sent to the organizers of other IUPAB-approved Workshops (Sofia Bulgaria, Mumbai India, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) in 2009.

Cooperation between the Scientific Unions in Africa:  The Secretary-General had discussions with the following Union representatives:  (1) Professor de Leon (Union of Mathematical Sciences, UMS) was positive about cooperating on educational aspects of  mathematics in Africa and was supportive of the proposed IUPAB Taskforce on Computational Biophysics; (2) Professor  Jacques-Henry Weil  said that IUBMB has already send a workshop into African and will continue to do so. He expressed an interest in coordinating with other scientific Unions; (3) Professor Bruce McKellar representing IUPAP (Pure & Applied Physics, a very large Union with a significant subsection on biophysics) who agreed we should cooperate in this field and that there was a need to develop educational capacity in Africa. IUPAP is also active in the area of ethical conduct in science so there it may be possible to introduce this into African PhD courses. The Secretary-General will contact other Unions including Biology and Physiology (Professor Ann Sefton, International Union for Physiological Sciences, IUPS).

Actions: The Secretary-General will contact the Regional Office in Africa (ROA), the  Third World Academy of Science (TWAS), and representatives of IUPAP, UMS, IUPS, and IUIS.

Report of the Bioinformatics Task Force for 2008

from Jean Garnier

Bioinformatics has become a discipline in itself and is well integrated into Biophysics. This is not because biologists need to digitalized their data and analyze them with computers but because this discipline needs to apply algorithms which come from concept or techniques developed in Physics or in Mathematics or to implement rigorous statistical tools for biological data analysis. These data can be obtained by molecular biological techniques, more exactly biochemical ones but also from physical analysis for macromolecular structure determination with synchroton radiation for instance. Bioinformatics is going also to be involved in the developing field of macromolecular interaction networks in systems biology or in the metagenome projects.
The Inter-Unions Bioinformatics Group had its last follow-up meeting at the CODATA Conference in Beijing (China) on 23-25 October 2006. A round-table on Primary Biological databases attended by about thirty participants followed a session on this subject with Jean Garnier as chairman. This round-table was animated by H. Berman, Protein Data Bank, Rutgers University, USA, C. O’Donovan and G. Cochrane from the European Bioinformatics Institute, Hixton, UK, H. Sugawara from the DNA Data Bank, Japan and Jean Garnier. It underlined the importance of biological databases not only in biology in general but also more specifically in Biophysics.
The membership of IUPAB to CODATA has been renewed at the 17th General Assembly in Long Beach, Feb 4, 2008. From 2002 to 2008 Jean Garnier has been a member of the executive committee of CODATA and he has represented IUPAB at the last 26th General Assembly of CODATA in Kiev, Ukraine on October 9 and 10, 2008 and chaired two sessions: Biomedical data sharing and informatics and Biological and Genetics Data at the 21st International CODATA Conference also in Kiev on October 5-8, 2008. See also the report on CODATA.
The Task Force on Bioinformatics has been renewed at the last General assembly of IUPAB. Since Jean Garnier is not any more member of the IUPAB council, a new member will have to be nominated among the Council members and if possible as Convener of the Task Force.

Biophysical Reviews – the new official journal of the Union

Biophysical Reviews publishes short and critical reviews from key figures in the field. Authors are encouraged to discuss with the Editor the possibility of contributing a review. Biophysical Reviews covers the entire field of biophysics, generally defined as the science of describing and defining biological phenomenon using the concepts and the techniques of physics. This includes but is not limited by such areas as bioinformatics, biophysical methods and instrumentation, medical biophysics, biosystems, cell biophysics and organisation, macromolecules: dynamics, structures and interactions, and membrane biophysics, channels and transportation.

From the publisher’s description.