The founding of IACC and defining its role
Cellular Coenzymes can be metal ions or about 30 structurally diverse, relatively small, organic and inorganic molecules loosely or tightly bound to specific enzymes. Their importance is that they perform an essential role in the catalytic mechanism. About half of the organic ones are derived from vitamins: the rest are synthesised in the cell. There has been in recent years an upsurge in research into their synthesis or modification, control and availability of their cellular levels and the impact of this on some major cellular functions (e.g. insulating lipid availability for myelin sheath formation in neural transmission).
A symptom of the sudden emergence of the field is that there is no association or society on this broad topic: neither is there a journal dedicated to reporting research in this area. There is an International Coenzyme Q10 Association which concentrates on the long-appreciated role of this cofactor in oxidative phosphorylation which, since 1997, has organized a symposium/colloquium every two or three years.
The Main objective of the Association is to promote basic and applied research on cellular coenzymes in health and disease and to stimulate the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches based on coenzymes and their analogues.
a) to organize regular focused meetings and international symposia on cellular coenzymes;
b) to promote collaborative links among academic groups as well as new research projects with biotechnological and pharmaceutical companies ;
c) to diffuse, at a public level, general knowledge on basic problems and new information regarding safety and the therapeutic effects of cellular coenzymes and their analogues;
d) to collaborate with industry and society about the quality and safety of nutritional supplements, vitamins and coenzyme formulations available in the market.
A group of international scientists have, under the leadership of Professor Ivan Gout, organised two symposia in this research area:
A Biochemical Society Focused meeting on “Coenzyme A and its derivatives in cellular metabolism and disease”, London, UK, 20—21 March 2014 ;
A Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) Workshop on “Coenzyme A and its derivatives in health and disease” to be held in Marseille, France, 23-27 August 2016.
These have both been enthusiastically welcomed by researchers in the field and proposals to organise follow-up events in South Africa in 2018 have been put forward. Thus the first practical objectives of the new IACC would be to initiate a coherent programme for these colloquia and to have a headquarters base to offer information to putative members. Thus to have an address at UCL and be able to set up a website for communication is a crucial step.
Both The Biochemical Society (in 1911) and FEBS (in 1964) were initially established by at UCL largely because the prime movers in their founding were UCL staff. In this case, the initial president will be Professor Ivan Gout (Division of Biosciences, UCL) who, apart from having an active and successful research group in this field, has wide experience over many years in running research meetings and advanced courses in molecular biology. He will be supported by Ms Jovana Bakovic who is a member of his research team here. As an Emeritus member of UCL who set up research groups in the Biochemical Society and was for 21 years a Trustee and the Honorary Treasurer of FEBS, Ian Mowbray has agreed to be the founding treasurer. In addition, Prof. Susan Jackowski (USA), Prof. Helene McNulty (Northern Ireland), Prof. Ody Sibon (The Netherlands), Prof. Mathias Ziegler (Norway) and Prof. Manfred Eggersdorfer (The Netherlands) have also agreed to be on the board of the IACC Executive Committee.