16 December 2022, London, UK

The traditional Christmas Bioenergetics meeting was held this year at Imperial College London, UK. Normally an in-person meeting, a rail strike prompted the organizers to switch to a hybrid format. Over 150 registered and, to our pleasant surprise, most people were able to attend in person. The meeting opened with the Biochemical Society Keilin Memorial Lecture 2022 given by Professor Leonid Sazanov from the Institute of Science and Technology in Austria who took us through his pioneering research elucidating the structure and function of respiratory complex I. The talk featured a presentation of a new model in which proton transfer occurs via a ‘domino’ mechanism. The lecture was then followed by 14 interesting and high-quality talks by young researchers covering a broad range of topics in bioenergetics, including new methods to study the origin and evolution of photosynthesis, the use of cryo-EM to study various respiratory complexes, the ATP synthase and photosystem II, as well as the design of de novo bioenergetic proteins, among other advances.

The Biochemical Society Prize for Best Talk was awarded to Benjamin Nash, from the University of East Anglia, who presented a fascinating talk on the discovery and initial characterization of a previously unknown type of multi-cytochrome protein involved in bacterial respiration, which resembled the ancient bolas throwing weapon. The Biochemical Society Prize for Best Poster went to Bartosz Witek, from the University of Cambridge, who presented his work as a master’s student on the bio-photoelectrochemical characterization of co-cultures of photosynthetic and heterotrophic bacteria.

The conference closed with a lively reception where discussion arising from a great day of science continued for a few more hours. Overall, bioenergetics research in the UK is alive and well.

Published by Portland Press Limited under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND)