TBICS (Taiwan Bioinorganic Chemistry Society) was founded about sixteen years ago by Professor Sunney Chan to promote research at the interface between chemistry and biology, particularly bioinorganic chemistry, biochemistry mediated by metal ions and metalloenzymes, and the role of metal ions in human nutrition and diseases. It is a vibrant and growing research community with many young scientists. The topic for TBIC 2005 was on “Molecular Image and Sensing”. TBICS 2004 was on “NO Chemistry in Biology” and TBICS 2003 was on “Controlled Oxidations of Hydrocarbons by Metalloproteins and Synthetic Biomimetics”. Each of them was a success that drew an audience of over 200 researchers from a diverse cross-section of the chemical and biochemical community.
Professor Chan took an early retirement from Caltech in 1997, where he spent essentially the bulk of his professional career, to work in Taiwan. Aside from rebuilding the Institute of Chemistry in a modern image, he established the Taiwan International Graduate Program and led the development of modern life sciences and biotechnology in Taiwan. He worked with the National Science Council of Taiwan to put together the National Research Program in Genomic Medicine in order to promote basic and applied research in genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics within the life science community. He also led the effort to create a Research Center on Genomics at Academia Sinica. A modern building dedicated to research in genomics and proteomics now dominates the campus. Largely through Sunney’s vision and hard work, Taiwan has now in place a research infrastructure to promote and support research in biomedical sciences and modern life sciences on this Island.
As expected, Sunney has also been active in the chemical community, promoting modernization of the undergraduate curriculum in chemistry, raising the standards of graduate research in the national universities, nurturing young scholars and junior faculty, and pointing the way to improving the infrastructure for basic and applied research in the molecular sciences. He has been particularly inspirational to young scientists, and the generosity, with which he has shared his chemistry, insights about science, wisdom on life.
As Sunney is turning 70 on his birthday in 2006 and will retire from Academia Sinica, the Institute of Chemistry and Taiwan Bioinorganic Chemistry Society will be hosting the 2006 Taiwan Bioinorganic Chemistry Symposium at Green Bay Howard Hotel to celebrate his 70 years old birthday and to honor and appreciate his devotion to chemical society in Taiwan. The theme of the conference will be “From Bio-catalysis to Fuel Cells”, one of Sunney’s more recent interests. Professor Harry Gray, the 2006 Sunney Chan Lecturer will also participate the symposium and present a keynote lecture.