In September 1991, Victor Zammit and I were in the Department of Biochemistry, the University of Cambridge, discussing our collaborative research project when we realized the potential value and need for a conference specifically concerned with fatty acid oxidation and ketogenesis. The idea, once seeded, was indulged and flourished into the first "Fatty Acid Oxidation & Ketogenesis (FAOx&K) Conference" that was held in the Department at Eastertime, 1992. It was attended by colleagues mainly from the U.K., France and Spain. From these modest beginnings a tradition for holding a conference every second year has grown and this Book results from the 4th International FAOx&K Conference that was held in London at the Institute of Child Health & Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, University College London Medical School in the new Conference Suite and was attended by colleagues from over twenty countries and five different continents. I would like to thank all my colleagues who have contributed to the conferences and, most importantly, to this Book.

The first two conferences were held in the University of Cambridge and were organized entirely by me but Simon Eaton, who came to work in London with me in February 1997, became Conference Secretary and co-organized the last two meetings. His contribution to the conferences has been invaluable and without his dedicated help and effort neither the later meetings nor this Book would have been possible. I would like to thank him personally for his help and support and most of all for his sense of humour that I must have sorely tried during the preparation of this manuscript. My heart-felt thanks to you, Simon!

There are many other colleagues to whom I am indebted. I would like to thank specifically Dr Philip K. Tubbs and Dr Martin D. Brand for taking me on as their PhD student in Cambridge and introducing me to my passions of fatty acid metabolism and biochemical research respectively. Without Philip's enthusiasm for his subject and Martin's passion for rigorous analysis my interest would not have been kindled and, hence, this Book would not have emerged. Since that time I have been encouraged and supported by many, many close colleagues in the field of fat metabolism, far too numerous to mention, whose friendship and professional advice I have needed, valued and appreciated. However, I would like to make special mention of the following colleagues: Professor Jean Girard; Dr Jean-Paul Pegorier; Danielle & Pierre Robin and Dr Victor Zammit. Drs Keith R. F. Elliott; Philip K. Tubbs and Martin D. Brand have given me continued friendship and support since my undergraduate and postgraduate student days respectively and Professors Bryan Winchester; Lewis Spitz; Peter Milla and E. David Saggerson during my time in London, for which I am extremely grateful. Everyone knows that it is the postgraduate students and post-doctoral researchers who accrue all the results in any research group and, therefore, I would like to acknowledge and thank all the past and present members of the "Quantlab" who have contributed to this work. Finally, I would like to thank the Trustees of the Sir Halley Stewart Trust and Professor W. Jacobson in particular, for their real interest in and financial support for my fatty acid metabolism research and the development of my career. Their commitment to my research and their understanding of the clinical significance and academic importance of the research in this field has made this Book possible.

The recent explosion of interest in molecular genetics and its associated techniques has tended to overshadow the more traditional metabolic biochemistry. My hope is that this Book will re-ignite enthusiasm for rigorous research in the field of fatty acid oxidation, using the new methods and approaches available to us.

March, 1999 Patti A. Quant

I would like to thank Patti Quant for initiating this series of conferences, and allowing me to become involved in the running of the third and fourth meetings. It was attending the second conference in Cambridge that eventually led to me coming to work with her here in London, and I would also like to thank Patti for her help in writing all those fellowship proposals, for initiating me into the "dark art" of control analysis in fatty acid oxidation and for her advice and help. Speaking of initiations, I am also indebted to Professor Kim Bartlett for introducing me to fatty acid oxidation and HPLC and for his continued enthusiasm and guidance, and Dr Stan Sherratt for introducing me to the box of tricks known as the mitochondrion. I am also grateful to for support given by Professors Lewis Spitz and Bryan Winchester in London, and to the many friends and colleagues in London and Newcastle and elsewhere who have provided ideas and help over the years. I am also very thankful for the grant support given to me by the British Heart Foundation over the last five years.

I believe that this conference and book indicate that a multi-disciplinary approach involving biochemistry, physiology, molecular biology and clinical medicine can be extremely productive towards an understanding of a fundamental pathway.

March, 1999 Simon Eaton

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