Latin American Summit a success

The IUCr-UNESCO Latin American Summit took place in Campinas, Brazil from 22 to 24 September with support by Funding Agencies CNPq, CAPES, and FAPESP, sponsorship by Molecular Dimensions, Bruker, NanoTemper, Agilent, GE Healthcare, Rigaku/Dairix, FORMULATRIX, astex, ttplabtech, and INCOATEC, and Institutional Partnerships with CNPEM, LNBio, LNLS, ABCr, and IFSC. This was the second summit meeting of the IYCr, where the scientific theme was biological crystallography and complementary methods. Over 100 senior scientists, young researchers, post-doctoral fellows, and students from 12 countries met during the summit meeting held at the LNLS in Campinas.

[2014: Latin American Summit Meeting on Biological crystallography and complementary methods: Group photo] 

Delegates enjoyed a mix of lectures on the history of Latin American crystallography and examples of current, cutting edge research and the collaborative programmes that are taking place in Latin America.  We learnt how initiatives such as CeBEM have contributed to increased collaboration and strengthening of crystallography by providing funds for training courses, exchanges and sharing of facilities. 

Dr. Marvin Hackert (President, IUCr) gave the opening lecture on IYCr2014 and the role and benefits of the OpenLabs and summit meetings. Dr. Lidia Brito, Regional Director for Latin America for UNESCO, spoke about the partnership of UNESCO with the IUCr for the International Year of Crystallography.  Glaucius Oliva (IFSC/USP) presented an overview of the history of crystallography in Latin America, while Antônio José Roque da Silva (LNLS) presented a glimpse of the future with the construction of a 4th generation synchrotron (Sirus) at Campinas. It became clear during the meeting how much progress has been made in biological crystallography in LA over the last 25 years with dozens of groups where there was previously none. The LNLS has had a central role in making this possible by giving access to equipment as well as financial support to groups spread around the region.

A memorable highlight was the keynote lecture given by Nobel Laureate Ada Yonath who discussed the progress to design better therapeutics from our understanding of the structure of the ribosome.  She was given a standing ovation at the close of her talk.  Another highlight was a round-table discussion mediated by Samar Hasnain (Editor-in-Chief of IUCr journals) where the panelists reflected on the changes, opportunities and challenges facing the further development of crystallography in Latin America.  At the close of the final session, a petition was presented and unanimously approved by those attending to ask for continued support from the IUCr and UNESCO to promote regional scientific collaborations in Latin America, with a pledge to partner in supporting these activities from regional resources.  More information and a full description of the program can be found on the IYCr web site under summits.

The summit was a clear success both scientifically and in generating the enthusiasm of working together for strengthening crystallography in LA. The success of the event was due to the positive spirit of the participants and the hard work of the local organisers Richard Garratt, Andre Ambroiso, Iris Torriani and Glaucius Oliva.

Marv Hackert, President of IUCr 
Samar S. Hasnain, Editor-in Chief of IUCr Journals

Read the Summit declaration | See the photo gallery | Watch the video by Agência FAPESP