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Conference Info


Andy Herr

Secretary of the Gibbs Society


Important Dates

June 1, 2022: Application site is open.  

July 1, 2022: Abstract submission is due.

October 14-17, 2022:  37th Annual Gibbs Conference

Mission Statement

The Gibbs Society of Biological Thermodynamics is committed to advancing the development and application of thermodynamic principles to understand biological systems; fostering the professional growth of early-career trainees; promoting an equitable, accessible, and inclusive biothermodynamics community; and hosting an annual conference that includes significant opportunities for trainee oral presentations. 

Brief History of Gibbs Conference

The Annual Gibbs Conference on Biological Thermodynamics started around 1986 and ever since then it has taken place annually at the Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center in Carbondale, Illinois.  Participants of this conference share one thing in common: a passion for understanding the thermodynamic forces that govern macromolecular interactions.  And so it is that every year, scientists from various institutions gather at nature filled campgrounds near Little Grassy Lake to discuss the folding of macromolecules, linkage theory, conformational changes, ligand binding and many other topics united by the common interest of understanding these processes to a fundamental level, applying physico-chemical principles to biological systems.

Two other things that define this conference are its emphasis on training and its relaxed atmosphere.  The program includes a mixture of talks given by students, postdocs, research associates and PIs.


Historically, the setup of the conference promotes inter-generational scientific exchange, where PIs, students, postdocs, research associates and industry participants share meals, canoeing rides and conversations along the traditional bonfires at the Little Grassy Lake beach on Sunday and Monday nights.  When we gather at Touch of Nature Conference Center, you will find scientists of all career levels discussing thermodynamic ideas all day long and late into the night!

What to Bring

The average temperature for Carbondale, Illinois around the beginning of October varies from 45 to 75°F, usually sunny, but with occasional thunderstorms.  Hence, it can be cold at night (especially in the 8-person cabins).  We recommend that you bring some warm clothes or blankets.  Also, some parts of Touch of Nature grounds are very dark at night, so we recommend that you bring a flashlight.  Cell phone coverage varies depending on your carrier, but free WiFi access is available in the lecture hall and the dining area.  Please pack a COVID test kit (see below).


COVID Health & Safety Plan

To maintain a safe and respectful environment, mask wearing is encouraged in closed environments, such as the main presentation room. Additional space will be provided during meals, including outdoor options, to encourage social distancing.  We encourage you to bring your preferred masks to the conference. Basic medical masks will be available on site.  For those who are able, we encourage you to bring a COVID test kit.

How to Get Here

Most people fly to St. Louis (STL – St. Louis Lambert International Airport) and drive to Touch of Nature.  The drive takes approximately 2.5 hours and there are various car rental places near St. Louis Airport. 


Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center

1206 Touch of Nature Rd

Makanda, IL 62958

Where to Stay

Lodging at Touch of Nature 

A big reason for the great atmosphere of the conference is Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center venue. The rustic style of the cabins, the group meals, the amazing autumn colors, the star-filled skies and the bonfire at the beach all contribute to creating a relaxed atmosphere, away from distractions and very conducive for scientific exchange.  However, keep in mind that it is a summer camp (not a hotel convention center).  Come with an open mind, bring comfortable clothes and enjoy your stay at Touch of Nature!

Lodging at Nearby Hotels

Some participants prefer to stay at nearby hotels and drive to the conference in the morning.  Here is a list of some nearby lodging options.  (Please note that this is an incomplete list.  You can find more hotels using hotel booking websites.)

Code of Conduct

The Gibbs Society of Biological Thermodynamics is committed to providing a safe and productive environment that fosters open dialogue and the exchange of scientific ideas, promotes equal opportunities and treatment for all participants, and is free of harassment and discrimination. Harassment includes speech or behavior that is not welcome or is personally offensive, whether it is based on ethnicity, gender, religion, age, body size, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other reason. It includes stalking, unnecessary touching, and unwelcome attention. Behavior that is acceptable to one person may not be acceptable to another, so use discretion to be sure that respect is communicated. Harassment intended in a joking manner still constitutes unacceptable behavior. Anyone experiencing conduct that violates this Code should report this conduct to any member of the Gibbs Society Board.

Confidentiality Statement

Please remember that the content of all presentations (talks and posters) for this meeting are confidential material and may contain unpublished results. Abstracts will not be posted online. Please ask permission from the authors before taking photos or screenshots of posters or poster material. Please do not record or take screenshots of the talks, posters, or any presented material unless a speaker has given you express permission.

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