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Isotopes 2013 (Sopot)

Isotopes 2013
Sopot, Poland | June 16-21, 2013
By Martin Elsner and Agnieszka Dybala-Defratyka, conference chairs

Kinetic isotope studies are of fundamental importance to elucidate chemical reaction mechanisms. Changes in pollutant isotope ratios demonstrate the occurrence of remediation in contaminated groundwater. Recent instrumental advances allow measurements of isotope effects in unprecedented resolution and precision, and even at low environmental concentrations. Traditionally, related knowledge has been dispersed over different disciplines. From June 16 to June 21, the biannual international conference on the Chemistry and Biology of Isotope Effects, known as "ISOTOPES 2013", brought together scientists from different fields in the beautiful seaside resort of Sopot, Poland. A fruitful knowledge exchange was stimulated by numerous posters, contributed and invited talks. For this, funding by the Geochemical Society is gratefully acknowledged.

Sessions on Organic Chemistry (chairs: Andrew Beckett, Ian Williams) presented advanced interpretations of isotope effects to resolve the dynamics of chemical reactions (Daniel Singleton, Texas A&M University, USA), unexpected effects of tunneling (Matthew Meyer, University of California, Merced, USA) and insight from triply labeled molecules (Friedrich Hammerschmidt, University of Vienna, Austria). Sessions on Enzymatic Reaction Mechanisms (chairs: Daniel Quinn, Iñaki Tuñón) dealt with enzyme dynamics, catalysis and associated kinetic isotope effects (Adrian Mulholland, University of Bristol, UK), reviewed isotope effect research on tunneling (Richard Schowen, University of Kansas, USA), provided glimpses on "dancing enzymes" during catalysis (Dorothee Kern, Brandeis University, USA) and focused on accurate isotope effect calculations from molecular simulations (Dan Major, Bar-Ilan University, Israel). The same issue – computations of isotope effects – was subject of two Theory of Isotope Effects sessions (chairs: Aleck Van Hook, Piotr Paneth) dealing with enzyme catalysis (phosphorylation: Shina Lynn Kamerlin, Uppsala University, Sweden; protein motion: Vicente Moliner, Universitat Jaume I, Iñaki Tuñón, Universitat de Valencia, Spain), binding isotope effects (Piotr Paneth) and isotope effects on liquid phase equilibria (Jerzy Szydlowski).

These "classical" isotope effect disciplines were matched by sessions on Analytical (chair: Torsten Schmidt) and Environmental Chemistry as well as Biogeochemistry (chairs: Thomas Hofstetter, Anthony Sauve). Updates were given on latest advances on isotope ratio mass spectrometry in the coupling of comprehensive 2D gas chromatography (Tom Brenna, Cornell University, USA), liquid chromatography (Maik Jochmann, University of Essen, Germany) and the analysis of metals and metalloids (Frank Vanhaecke, Ghent University, Belgium). An extended environmental session (chairs: Thomas Hofstetter, Anthony Sauve) focused on compound-specific isotope analysis of groundwater contaminants such as chlorinated solvents (Ivonne Nijenhuis, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ; Orfan Shouakar-Stash, University of Waterloo, Canada) and perchlorate (Neil Sturchio, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA). A Young Researchers session, finally (chair: Daniel Hunkeler) provided for the first time a dedicated platform for the next generation of isotope scientists, again with a strong focus on environmental topics.

The next conference (ISOTOPES 2015) will take place in Israel and will be chaired by Dan Major (Bar-Ilan University) and Faina Gelman (Geological Survey of Israel).