The Symposium on Biomaterials, Fuels and Chemicals is back! After a hiatus from conferences due to COVID, the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology has returned with its first virtual conference, the 43rd SBFC. Scientific conferences play a critical role in driving scientific innovation, collaboration and communication; our goal in developing the exciting program for the 43rd SBFC is to foster innovation, collaboration and communication in the area of biotechnology for sustainable production of biologically derived materials, fuels and chemicals.
This year we are excited to bring you five Keynote Speakers whose talks will cover a scientific breadth of biotechnology research and development. We have a fantastic slate of Keynote Speakers: Prof. Bernard Henrissat (Technical University of Denmark), Prof. Linda Broadbelt (Northwestern University), Prof. Jens Nielsen (The BioInnovation Institute and Chalmers University of Technology), Prof. Claudia Schmidt-Dannert (University of Minnesota) and Dr. Blake Simmons (DOE Joint BioEnergy Institute and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) as well as twelve Concurrent Sessions filled with exciting speakers.
The first Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals was held in 1978 and hosted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It was the first technical meeting focusing exclusively on the biotechnologically-‐mediated conversion of renewable feedstocks, especially lignocellulosic plant biomass, to fuels and chemicals. This annual meeting soon became large enough to be co-‐hosted by the predecessor of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Golden, CO) and the Symposium’s location alternated yearly between Tennessee and Colorado. In 2008, SIMB began handling the logistics of the meeting and locations were expanded to include other states, with the Symposium being held in alternate years in the eastern or western United States.
While many aspects of this meeting have changed since its inception, several features remain the same.
1. The meeting remains focused on the latest technology in biotechnology for fuels and chemicals.
2. The feedstock coverage has expanded beyond dedicated energy crops and agricultural and forestry residues to include non-‐lignocellulosics, e.g., algae and carbon oxides.
3. The broad topic areas remain largely the same, i.e., feedstocks, pretreatment/fractionation, biological conversion, bioprocessing integration, process techno-‐economics/commercialization/ sustainability, while varying special topics sessions cover new and cutting edge directions.
4. There is a healthy split between oral (~100/year) and poster presentations (~350/year)
5. The meeting runs Sunday through Wednesday, with daytime oral sessions and evening poster (Sunday and Monday) and special topics (Tuesday) sessions.
6. A banquet is held on Wednesday evening where awards are presented to the best student posters as well as leading individual and organizational contributors who have advanced the field.