Welcome to FrenchBIC

FrenchBIC is a CNRS network of about 200 French researchers from 25 research units, who work on all aspects of bioinorganic chemistry / metals in biology.

Bioinorganic chemistry is the study of metal-containing biological systems. It aims at understanding the role of metals in life processes and at designing artificial bio-inspired systems that have interesting properties, e.g. catalysts or metal-containing probes for analysis of biological media. Metal ions, by their large range of physico-chemical properties, offer a chemical diversity that is quite distinct from that of organic molecules, and is widely used by Nature. This diversity includes not only the nature of the metal ions and their oxidation states, but also the nature and number of ligands in the first coordination sphere and beyond, their dynamics etc. The understanding of mechanisms involving metal ions and newly discovered systems has inspired scientists for the development of applications in various contexts: energy production and storage, design of new drugs and targeting systems, imaging agents or bio-inspired catalysts. New techniques for the characterization of metal ions in complex biological environments, or for metal ion imaging, and also approaches using metal-based probes have proven very useful in this field, which is intrinsically multi-disciplinary and involves a large community worldwide.

The FrenchBIC network was created in 1987. The group was first called SAMBAS, an acronym for “Sites Actifs des Métaux Biologiques et Analogues de Synthèse”; it was a GDR CNRSClub métalloprotéines et modèles”  from 1994 to 2001. It then became a GIS CNRS  in 2001, renamed “FrenchBIC” in 2013.  It has also been a thematic group of the French Society of Chemistry since 2019.

This network brings together the researchers —  inorganic and physical chemists, biochemists and cell biologists, biophysicists etc. — of about 25 French laboratories. They meet usually once a year for a meeting that is sometimes joint with the bioinorganic community of another european country. Our next meeting will take place in Marseille in April 2024. We initiated in 2017 the organization of a summer school on metals in biology, the next one will be in Grenoble in November 2024. Online webinars are regularly organized.

Funding comes from the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and various other sources which we gratefully acknowledge.

The FrenchBIC logo.