Bay Area Chemistry Symposium BACS

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The award-winning Bay Area Chemistry Symposium (BACS) was held this year on November 3rd, 2023 at Robertson Auditorium on the UC San Francisco Mission Bay Campus. The weather was warm, the sun was shining and the science and networking opportunities were delightful! — Report by Charlie Gluchowski

This event, organized by the California and Silicon Valley ACS sections, and financially supported by established and start-up local industry sponsors, has grown significantly in the 4 years that it has been held. This year it brought together over 250 participants at all career stages from undergraduates to distinguished scientists to hear about new discoveries in chemistry and biochemistry coming from academic and industrial labs throughout the SF Bay Area and beyond. 

The tag line for the symposium – “connecting industry + academia” – certainly was fulfilled at this event:  the symposium featured an eclectic mix of oral presentations from both distinguished faculty such as Professors Kevan Shokat, UCSF and Carrie Partch, UCSC as well as talks from industrial scientists such as Michael O’Keefe from Gilead and Joseph Young from Novartis.  In addition, 40 posters were presented by young scientists from all over the bay area. 

With the weather at a balmy 72 degrees and sunny in downtown San Francisco, it was a beautiful day to mingle outside in the sunshine during coffee breaks and lunch. Blankets were provided for picnicking on the Koret Quad outside the auditorium. The symposium was capped off by a reception and poster session followed by awards being presented for the best posters. Each of the winners received a gift card. The following individuals won poster awards:

  • 1st place: Di Gu, UC Berkeley, Wenjun Zhang Lab, “Discovery and biosynthesis of Salivabactin, a new antibiotic from oral bacteria”
  • 2nd place: Logan Bartholomew, UC Berkeley, Richmond Sarpong Lab, “14N to 15N Isotopic Exchange of Nitrogen Heteroaromatics through Skeletal Editing”
  • 3rd place: Clifford Leung, University of San Francisco, Herman Nikolayevskiy Lab, “Development and Mechanistic Analysis of Covalent Inhibitors Against Sortase A. Activity in Staphylococcus aureus Bacteria”

Speaking of awards, as a reminder, at the National ACS meeting held in San Francisco in August this year, the BACS and the California Section was recognized at the ChemLuminary Awards with the Outstanding Continuing Public Relations or Communications Program of a Local Section Award!

Special thanks to Caleb Karmel, Maze Therapeutics and Professor Ian Seiple, UCSF, co-chairs for the 2023 BACS, the rest of the organizing committee and particularly Julie Mason, CalACS for her support.

Check out the BACS website for updates on the plans for the 2024 event!

Photo Gallery (all photos by Natalie McClure)