Sea, Sand, and Science

Attendees listen to Robijn Bruinsma, University of California, Los Angeles, give his talk entitled: Encapsidation of Single-stranded RNA by Viral Proteins

The Dynamic DNA Packaging Across Kingdoms: Chromatin & Beyond meeting, at Asilomar Conference Grounds on the beautiful shores of the Pacific, was held successfully in early July. Representing 13 countries, over 100 scientists and researchers participated in the meeting and shared their perspectives on the topic. Nearly 30% of attendees were international participants, including attendance from Germany, Singapore, the Netherlands, France, United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, Italy, China, India, Taiwan, and Oman!

Interactions between attendees was one of the most unique parts of the meeting. Attendees had frequent discussions during the meeting and had more informal interactions during breaks, lunch time, and poster sessions. Six topics were discussed during this four-day meeting: DNA Packaging in Prokaryotes; DNA: Protein Condensation and Energetics; Nucleosome Structure and Stability; Nucleosome Assembly and Mechanics; Beyond the Nucleosome: Higher Order Structures; and In Vivo Studies of DNA-Protein Interactions.

Attendees present their research during a poster session at the July 2011 Chromatin Meeting at Asilomar Conference Grounds

Other meetings should strive to have this type of interaction, which effectively facilitates sharing and learning. Positive reactions from attendees marked the “fantastic, diverse set of speakers,” the “composition of the group of attendees,” and the “intimate environment” as keys to its success. One attendee remarks that “it was an opportunity to meet top scientists in fields that don’t normally mix. The techniques ranged through theoretical simulation, unusual applications (for me) of biophysical techniques, and stunning molecular imagining that forces one to rethink old assumptions. This was a very powerful effect of the group interaction.” Another attendee said, “As a molecular biologist, I end up mostly interacting with other biologists and biochemists. It was really great to hear what the physicists thought and get their perspective on things.”

Check out the  Facebook album of photographs from this meeting!

The Biophysical Society co-hosts several Thematic Meetings each year. For more information or to submit a proposal for a meeting of your own, please visit: Submission deadline for proposals for 2013 meetings is September 9, 2011.

To view the online study book for the Chromatin Meeting featuring speakers and participant (poster) abstracts, visit:

Attendees for the 2011 Chromatin Meeting gather outside of the Asilomar Conference Center.


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