History of the Hellenic Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (HSBMB)

The Hellenic Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (HSBMB) was founded in 1971 as the Hellenic Society for Biochemistry and Biophysics (HSBB) and was the initiative of 23 scientists working in the field of biochemistry or biophysics. Forerunner of the HSBB was the Hellenic Society of Biochemistry established in Thessaloniki in 1959 and subsequently incorporated in the HSBB in 1983. In 1999 the HSBB was renamed in the Hellenic Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (HSBMB) to include the growing field of molecular biology.

The HSBMB currently consists of more than 500 regular and associate members who work in Greece and abroad. Requirement for membership was and remains the possession of a Ph.D. in biochemistry or molecular biology or at least three publications in peer-reviewed international scientific journals in the same fields. This prerequisite has warranted the scientific quality of the society’s members. The HSBMB is also open to young scientists undertaking postgraduate studies in the aforementioned fields that can register as associate members.

Among all other goals of the society is the organization of conferences with the participation of HSBMB members and other researchers after evaluation of the submitted to be presented studies. The first conference was held in 1971 - year of the HSBB establishment - in the auditorium of the National Research Foundation in Athens, including 8 oral communications. Scientific meetings of the society have been incessantly ongoing since 1971 and were held twice a year for many years, one in Athens and one in another Greek city. Since 1999, the meetings have been limited to one per year, and again interchangeably in Athens and in another Greek city owning a university or research center with members serving the HSBMB. These meetings have evolved into the Αnnual National Conferences of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the latest (65th) having been held with great success in Thessaloniki in November of 2014. Lately, more than 250 research communications are presented in each annual conference as oral or poster presentations from more approximately 1000 registered participants, while distinguished Greek and international renowned scientists from abroad regularly give plenary lectures as invited speakers. Indicative is the participation of the Nobel Prize awarded researchers Francis Crick, Arthur Kornberg, Sidney Altman, Timothy Hunt, Venkatraman "Venki" Ramakrishnan and Aaron Ciechanover. The conference proceedings including the selected abstracts were and continue to be published in the, formerly printed and currently electronic, society’s Newsletter that reached in 2014 its 60th volume.

Another goal of the HSBMB is the representation of the Greek Biochemists and Molecular Biologists in international organizations such as the IUBMB (International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) and FEBS (Federation of European Biochemical Societies), while numerous HSBMB members participate in various committees of these organizations. In cooperation with these organizations, the HSBMB has hosted several international events, starting with the special session of FEBS "Cell function and differentiation" held in Athens in 1982. In the peak of these events lies the very successful organization of the global 33rd FEBS Congress & 11th IUBMB Conference that occurred in Athens in the summer of 2008. In addition, a FEBS Workshop on Biochemistry Education was held in Athens in 2010, which is planned to take place again in Athens in 2015. In the past, the HSBMB had a leading role in the organization of the conferences entitled "Balkan Biochemical and Biophysical Days (BBBD)", which were conducted in the Balkans from 1977 to 2001 and thus helped the expansion of many collaborations, as well as the exchange of scientists.

2006 was the first year of creation and distribution of the HSBMB electronic newsletter (e-newsletter) to all HSBMB members and to several public and private bodies with the aim to inform about the progress and achievements of both the society and its individual members, as well as about job openings, future conferences and other academic issues. Another significant intervention of the HSBMB in our country was the edition of an English-Greek dictionary containing terms of biochemistry, molecular biology and biotechnology in 1995 in an effort to establish a common biochemical terminology. The new improved and updated version of the dictionary is expected to be published in 2015.