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Pure Appl. Chem. Vol. 75, No. 2-3, p. iv (2003)

Pure and Applied Chemistry

Vol. 75, Issues 2-3

Special Topic Issue on the Theme of Natural Products


The traditional centrality of natural products in organic chemistry is reflected in an unbroken series of biennial IUPAC symposia reaching back to 1960. The riches of Nature continue to offer inspiration and, increasingly, new challenges and opportunities for discovery and exploitation at interdisciplinary interfaces. This evolving process is reflected in the scientific program of the 23rd International Symposium on the Chemistry of Natural Products, held in Florence, Italy from 28 July to 2 August 2002, which presented works devoted to a broad cross-section of traditional subdisciplines, while also featuring a range of topics such as proteomics, genetics, and molecular biology.

> link to conference calendar

The symposium attracted about 500 delegates from 45 countries, and the success of the event owes much to an outstanding corps of international scientists who contributed to a program comprising
13 plenary and 16 invited lectures, supported by 57 oral presentations and no less than 250 posters. The lecture program offered diverse coverage of structures and function in life processes, as well as novel approaches for synthesis of complex bioactive compounds,converging on a unifying theme of the interdisciplinary foundations of drug design and synthesis. This theme is encapsulated in the opening plenary lecture that introduces this issue, with an account of new therapeutic leads inspired by Nature, and a concluding plenary presentation highlighting the design and execution of classical and new-generation synthetic strategies in pursuit of natural and unnatural targets.Biomimetic and chemoenzymatic approaches recur throughout as a complementary component of modern synthetic methodology, and exemplify the rapidly expanding boundaries of the chemistry –biology interface. New insights into biosynthetic pathways and advances in functional genomics and proteomics research featured prominently in the symposium program, and are reflected in some of the presentations in this collection. Similarly,advances in spectroscopic and computational techniques continue to facilitate problem solving and predictive power.

Overall, the symposium was an enriching experience for all those who attended, and an undoubted source of inspiration to a large contingent of young scientists from many countries. It is, therefore, desirable to share the topicality and relevance of the event with a wider audience, and this special topic issue of Pure and Applied Chemistry offers a representative selection of short reviews and research papers based on the scientific proceedings. It is hoped that it will serve, not only as an enduring record of the current state of natural products research, but also as a signpost pointing to future challenges and opportunities.

This issue is part of an ongoing project, which seeks to recognize and offer more in-depth coverage of certain IUPAC-sponsored events featuring new and emerging themes in all branches of
chemical sciences.

It remains to acknowledge many individuals and sponsors who ensured the outstanding success of the symposium, and the authors and reviewers who have contributed their manuscripts and expertise in the preparation of this special topic issue of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

Bruno Botta
Chairman, Organizing Committee
Dipartimento Studi di Chimica e Tecnologia
delle Sostanze Biologicamente Attive,
Università “La Sapienza”, Roma, Italy


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