Plant natural products have been used for decades as traditional remedies. They continue to be a rich source of chemically active scaffolds in modern medicine and contribute substantially to general human well-being. Recently, plant-derived chemicals have been in the spotlight with the 2015 Nobel Prize in medicine being co-awarded to Youyou Tu, a pharmacologist at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing, for developing the antimalarial drug artemisinin in the late 1970s. Also 2015 saw a boom in microbial strains engineered for highly complex multi-step pathways, including the creation of yeasts that churn out controversial opioids from sugar. In the wake of these exciting advances, it is timely to discuss the most recent developments in the field through a meeting organized on behalf of the Phytochemical Society of Europe (PSE).
Through the POBHH meeting the organizers wish to launch a platform to bring together European and International labs working on plant metabolites with nutraceutical and pharmaceutical properties that benefit human health. The meeting aims to provide a forum to present the latest developments in the fields of functional genomics for plant metabolism, metabolic engineering in plants, synthetic biology for plant-derived chemicals, and challenges faced in plant omics and biotechnology.
We framed the scientific program into eight plenary sessions that highlight the various aspects involved in bringing a high-value plant chemical to the consumer market to ultimately benefit human health.
More information can be found at http://www.psb.ugent.be/PSE
We look forward to your contributions to make this an exciting conference. See you in Gent!
Alain Goossens and Tessa Moses