Bioinorganic chemistry is a vibrant field that encompasses a wide variety of scientific areas (e.g. genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, and analytical and physical chemistry) and an even wider assortment of methods to interrogate given questions (e.g. reaction kinetics, spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography, and computation). Because these areas are so diverse and require in-depth expertise, research in bioinorganic chemistry is most often carried out collaboratively. The exchange of ideas between bioinorganic researchers during scientific meetings and the training of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in diverse methods used in this field play a particularly important role in bioinorganic chemistry. In this application we request support for such activities. In order to provide training to students and postdocs working in the area of bioinorganic chemistry, workshops were offered from 1985 to 2003 at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium and from 1990 to 2000 at the University of Georgia (UGA). These workshops were offered to ~80 students and postdoctoral fellows and provided an unparalleled training opportunity. The workshop in Louvain-la-Neuve is now offered again, but no equivalent workshop is presently offered in the U.S.A. In 2010, the entire Bollinger/Krebs joint group hosted a short training workshop in bioinorganic chemistry for 36 students and postdoctoral fellows with diverse backgrounds (ranging from molecular biology, protein biochemistry to spectroscopy and computation). Because this workshop was very well received, we plan to offer workshop in 2012 and 2014 again. These will be significantly broader in scope (tentatively, participation of 12 faculty providing lectures and hands-on training in 14 subject areas). These workshops are aimed to provide this important training aspect in the U.S.A. again. The 2006 and 2010 summer symposia in Molecular Biology (hosted by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State) were under the patronage of the bioinorganic group and entitled "Frontiers in Metallobiochemistry". These symposia were very successful in the bioinorganic community and the Penn State community. The bioinorganic group will also organize the 2014 "Frontiers in Metallobiochemistry" summer symposium and is committed to making this recurring (every four years) event an important meeting for the bioinorganic community.
Research in the area of bioinorganic chemistry has many important implications to society, including human health, because metalloenzyme-catalyzed reactions are implicated in proper cellular functioning, while their dysfunction is often associated with the onset of severe diseases. Research in bioinorganic chemistry aims at unraveling these reactions and to exploit them for therapeutic purposes.