The first edition of the Avanti Polar Lipids-IUPAB Medal and Prize has been awarded to Prof. Anthony Watts


The first edition of the Avanti Polar Lipids-IUPAB Medal and Prize has been awarded to Prof. Anthony Watts for his pioneering contributions to biophysical research on membranes especially with the use of novel NMR techniques.


Tony Watts graduated from Leeds University, UK with a BSc and PhD in biophysics. After 5 years working at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics, Göttingen, Germany studying lipid-protein interactions using functional studies combined with EPR and nitroxide spin labels, he was appointed to a tenure track position at Oxford University in 1980. Here he progressed to a full Professorship in 1996 and also secured, in 1983, and held the C. W. Maplethorpe endowed Fellowship at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, eventually becoming Vice-Principal.


In Oxford, Tony was a pioneer in the development of solid state NMR for biological systems, predominantly membranes. This work involved not only customization of NMR instrumentation for (lossy) biological systems, high fields (the first commercial wide bore 800MHz) as well as novel isotopic substitution chemistry to include NMR visible nuclei, especially deuterium and 13C into, especially, lipids, drugs and ligands. Some of these nitroxide and NMR labelled compounds are available today from Avanti. Tony holds patents covering new synthetic routes, as well as for lipid use in the food and leather industries, as evidence of translational applications.


More recently, Tony’s research has focussed on the development and characterization of polymer stabilized lipid nanoparticle technology to deliver drugs in a clinical context, and for (detergent-free) structural biology. Mass spec of lipids from an in vivo system (C. elegans) without compromising viability using polymer extraction, also shows promise for characterizing disease. The polymer technology has also enhanced crystallographic studies of novel photoreceptors, resulting in very high resolution receptor structures.


In all his research, functional characterization of a system has been a pre-requisite, despite the many challenges and difficulties in achieving this aim. Over 120 post-docs, almost 70 graduates and 10s of sabbatical workers, several from Brazil, have been trained and spent time in his lab. He was elected as a Fellows of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Royal Society of Biology, Institute of Physics (London) and the Biophysical Society, being one of the first non-US Fellows of the Society. Editorial work has included Biophysical Chemistry (9 years, managing editor), the European Biophysical Journal (15 years, managing editor), Biophysical Journal (6 years, associate editor) and he co-edits the Nature-Springer Encyclopaedia of Biophysics. He was chair (2000-2007; 2009-2017) of the British Biophysical Society (BBS) and President (2017-2019) of the European Biophysical Societies Association (EBSA), and is now an Honorary member of BBS and EBSA.

Prof. Watts is at University of Oxford, Department of Biochemistry.

Fifth Joint International Conference organized by Institute of Research Engineers and Doctors at Rome, Italy, May 27-28, 2017

You are invited to submit a research article for the above conference, to be held at Hotel Novotel Roma Est, ROME, ITALY. The converence aim is to bring together innovative academics and industrial experts to a common forum. We would be delighted to have you present at this conference to hear what the technology experts and researchers have to share about the technology advancements and their impact on our daily lives.

Joint International Conference Consists of following tracks:

Track 1: Fifth International Conference on Advances in Computing, Electronics and Communication – ACEC.
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Track 2: Fifth International Conference on Advances in Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering – ACSEE.
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Track 3: Fifth International Conference on Advances in Mechanical and Robotics Engineering – AMR
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Track 4: Fifth International Conference on Advances in Social Science, Management and Human Behaviour – SMHB.
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'Biomolecules and Nanostructures' conference May 10-14, 2017 in Poland

This is the 6th interdisciplinary conference as above, to be held in Podlesice in the Polish Jura, in the very picturesque Krakow-Czestochowa Upland, part of the Jurassic System of south-central Poland and surrounded by dramatic vistas and a chain of majestic medieval castles.

Key topics covering current subjects at the crossroads of molecular biology, physics and chemistry, include: protein folding, aggregation and disorder; single-molecule manipulation; biomolecular complexes; biomembranes; nucleic acids; polysaccharides; phenomena at bio-nano interfaces; and other issues related to molecular biophysics and biochemistry, both experimental and theoretical.

Invited speakers are listed at Also, a few short talks will be selected from the submitted abstracts. The book of abstracts will be issued within the Europhysics Conference Abstracts series, published by the European Physical Society. Two best-presentation awards of 350 euro each will be funded to young participants by Europhysics Letters.

The deadline for registration, abstract submission, and payment for lodging and the conference fee is March 1, 2017. The conference fee includes all local expenses: admission to the conference, conference materials, coffee breaks, meals and accommodation. We shall provide transportation to Podlesice from Krakow Airport, Katowice Airport, and from Zawiercie railway station on May 10 and back on May 14.

The conference is organized by the Institute of Physics of Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, the Committee of Physics of Polish Academy of Sciences and the Pro Physica Foundation, under the auspices of the Division of Physics in Life Science of the European Physical Society.

The conference poster is available at:

SciDataCon 2016

Most of the presentations given at SciDataCon 2016 which took place in September in Denver, Colorado are now available from the conference website alongside the accepted abstract for the paper. Each session and the abstracts and papers that comprised it are best accessed from the programme page

19th IBC Young Scientist Travel Awards

Early Career Travel Grants are to assist young biophysicists, especially from developing countries, and applications will open from Monday, January 09, 2017.

These IUPAB awards are intended to supplement, rather than to fully pay travel expenses.

Maximum award is $1000 Euros and minimum is $250 Euros. The awards are not intended to cover the cost of registration to the Congress.

Application Form will soon be available in pdf on the IUPAB website under “Forms” in “ABOUT US”. This will give you all the information necessary to complete an application.

Closing date for applications is Friday, March 10, 2017.

After that date, a lengthy evaluation process by the IUPAB Executive takes place, and all applicants will then be advised of the outcome of their applications.

Applicants must present a poster or platform contribution to the Congress, and it is required that supervisors approve of their attendance.

The funds will be paid in cash in Euros at the actual congress, and it is a condition that recipients attend the whole congress. They must register on Day 1 at the YSTA booth, and the location will be posted near the Registration area.

Passport or similar photoID must be provided, together with a photocopy to be left with us for attachment to an official receipt form.

Payments will be made on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 19, and a receipt must be signed by each recipient.

This is a requirement of our Auditors, and payments cannot be made without compliance with this condition.

Report on Advanced School on Receptors & Signalling, May 23-27, 2016 on Spetses Island, Greece

Spetses Photo

This School was held jointly with IUBMB/IUPAB/IUPS. The Spetses Summer Schools have been held annually since 1966, and over the years have attracted more than fifteen Nobel Laureates and more than five hundred different lecturers, to teach more than five thousand young pre- and post-doctoral researchers.

The program included lectures, posters and various traiing sessions to enable young scientists to interact with some of the best international experts in their fields. Additionally, there were “tutorials” where young scientists could take advantage of the advice of senior colleagues, as well as a “round table discussion”. As lecturers and young participants were accommodated together, discussions were possible during leisure times, as well as programmed social events such as the farewell dinner held on May 26.

Links to the Programme and list of Lecturers are below.


Report on Summer School on "Imaging neuroinflammation" at Kotor, Montenegro in June, 2016

The Regional Biophysical School “Academician Radoslav K. Andjus” (NERKA) was established in honor of Professor R.K. Andjus (1926-2003), an internationally recognized scientist from the University of Belgrade, a member and founder of Montenegrin and Serbian academies of sciences and arts. This was the sixth school, organized traditionally by the Biophysical Society of Serbia, co-organized by the Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade, Institute for Marine Biology in Kotor also as the venue, and with the fellowships sponsored by the International Union for Pure and Applied Biophysics (IUPAB).

The topic of the School was to introduce modern methods of biophysical imaging and image analysis in studies of inflammatory phenomena and markers of neurodegenerative diseases. Discussion was stimulated among participants on the translational value of these techniques and the clinical relevance of presented experimental markers. A discussion panel was also organized on the crisis in modern science and the relevance of interdisciplinarity and team work. The techniques covered were MRI, MRS, PET, EPRI, and advanced microscopy (non-linear microscopy- dual photon fluorescence, Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy & microscopy, PALM, STED, CARS, digital holographic microscopy). A multidisciplinary faculty (from 8 countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Italy, Serbia, Sweden, UK, and USA) was chosen ranging from fields of physics (applications of laser technology and advanced microscopy), physical chemistry (magnetic resonance techniques and applications), biology (experimental models of neurodegenerative diseases), and medicine (clinical studies and markers of neuroinflammation).

The students were from 8 countries: Armenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovakia. Altogether 33 students were registered. 15 students were awarded a fellowship on competitive basis.

Report on 9th K.H. Kuo Summer School in June, 2016

The 9th K. H. Kuo Summer School of Electron Microscopy Crystallography was held in Beijing, China from June 24 to 30, 2016, organized by Hongwei Wang (Tsinghua University, China) and Peijun Zhang (University of Pittsburgh, USA).

IUPAB contributed funding to support the summer school.

The organizers invited more than 40 famous scientists in the field of cryo-EM across the world to attend the Summer School, such as Joachim Frank (Columbia University, USA), Robert Glaeser (University of California, Berkeley, USA), Richard Henderson (MRC Molecular Biology Laboratory, UK), Eva Nogales (University of California, Berkeley), Yifan Cheng (University of California, San Francisco, USA) and others.

About 150 participants attended the summer school and they were taught by scientists from Tsinghua University, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of California at San Francisco, Baylor College of Medicine and engineers from FEI company, etc. All attendees learned and discussed the topics including the theory of electron microscopy, image processing and micro-electron diffraction, software demo practices for single particle, practices on negative stained and frozen sample preparation, and EM operation for auto data collection during the summer school.

During the Summer School, scientists in the field of cryo-EM gave talks on the newest topics of cryo-EM covered new advances in cryo-EM technologies, electron diffraction, cryo-EM on high symmetric structures, single particle application and dynamic, cryo-EM of membrane protein, cryo-EM of cellular structure and electron tomography. The pioneer of single particle and member of the US National Academy of Sciences, Prof. Joachim Frank, gave the keynote lecture on “Single particle cryo-EM at 2.3 angstrom resolution – a dream come true. But what is next?”, presenting a comprehensive summary of the history of single particle and put forward an exciting prospect for the future development of this technology. Additionally, 42 posters selected from the submitted abstracts were presented by students and young scientists, among which five were selected to give oral presentations.

The 9th K. H. Kuo Summer School provided a good opportunity for young scientists and students in the field of cryo-EM, especially those from developing countries, to understand and learn the theory and technology of cryo-EM, discuss the newest progress in Cryo-EM, and directly interact with the leading scientists. The Summer School also promoted international communication and cooperation, which promoted the development of cryo-EM and structural biology.

Participants in the demo session

Report on the Biophysical Society meeting in Vancouver, Canada on June 14-17, 2016

Vancouver Group Photo
Vancouver Group Photo

Engineering Approaches to Biomolecular Motors: From in vitro to in vivo

In June, approximately 100 scientists and engineers from diverse backgrounds gathered in Vancouver, Canada, at Simon Frasier University for the Biophysical Society thematic meeting, Engineering Approaches to Biomolecular Motors: From in vitro to in vivo.

The program ranged from artificial motors based on DNA, peptides, proteins and supramolecular chemistry, through the engineering of biological motors and their incorporation into nanodevices and on to reconstituted systems and living cells. Theoretical perspectives provided insight into the workings and fundamental operational limits of these machines. The science presented showed that both bottom-up and top-down engineering approaches had reached a level of maturity where major advances are being made into understanding and utilizing molecular motors.

The breadth of the program engaged scientists who do not normally meet together, spawning lively and challenging discussions. Single-molecule methods abounded, spilling from synthetic constructs to cell biology. The program was dense, with 36 presentations plus nine session introductions, yet, the theater remained full until the very end. Thirty-seven posters were presented over two sessions with four students and one postdoc awarded prizes from the Biophysical Journal for their excellent presentations. Each poster presenter delivered a one-minute “flash talk” as part of the oral sessions to raise awareness of their science.

The meeting was capped by a harbor cruise around Vancouver. The weather was perfect allowing the participants to enjoy spectacular vistas of the mountains and bay surrounding Vancouver from the decks of the paddle boat, culminating in a picturesque sunset. During the cruise, there were numerous discussions regarding the potential for subsequent meetings to draw together a similar cohort of scientists to discuss progress in the field and to map the future.

The meeting’s organizing committee members included Zev Bryant, Stanford University, United States, Paul Curmi, University of New South Wales, Australia, Nancy Forde, Simon Fraser University, Canada, Heiner Linke, Lund University, Sweden, and Samara Reck-Peterson, University of California, San Diego, United States.

Paul Curmi, University of New South Wales, Australia