The symposium was at the same time highly focused and highly diverse.
The focus came from the theme, i.e nanomaterials for cell tracking which is still a relatively new scientific field (the first few reviews on this topic have been published in the past 2 years, including our own). The diversity came from the combination of expertise and approaches required to achieve that aim: MRI with magnetic particles (and other labels), gold nanoparticles for photoacoustic imaging, of quantum dots for fluorescence imaging, but also of dye-loaded silica particles and silicon quantum dots. The diversity also came from the biological problems addressed that included (non-exhaustive) a better understanding of immuno cell therapy in cancer, understanding of metastasis and several models of tissue regeneration with stem cells. As a result of this diversity, I have learnt a lot and my impression is that most attendees had the same experience (but if not, please protest in the comment box!).
As one of the organizers, two of my duties were to organize the poster prize award and to chair the round table discussion that ended the meeting. For the former, we opted for a democratic protocol: instead of a jury of senior scientists choosing the winner, we gave every attendees a vote. The idea was to encourage everyone to engage as much as possible in the poster session. It worked well: 31 participants voted. The winner, Sofia Pereira, had a poster evaluating the feasibility of using genetically encoded markers (such as ferritin) for labelling. A lot of her results were extremely interesting but most would fit in the category of #negativeresults, i.e. things are much more difficult than what has been published in the literature. It is encouraging that such results were valued and I hope she will be able to publish well this work.
For the round table, nothing had been decided before the beginning of the meeting except for the fact that I was going to chair it. My aim was to (at a small scale) ‘restore the role of discussion in academic meetings’. The settings were not ideal: a lecture theatre and no round table, but, nevertheless, we did manage to create the atmosphere and get the discussion going. We spent a good hour discussing what are the current challenges in the field. Most attendees present, from PhD students to Professors contributed to the discussion – some insightful comments also from a Bruker representative (about Magnetic Particle Imaging) and from Felicity Sartain (nanoKTN). The final result from the round table discussion is shown below…
Thank you to all speakers, poster presenters and attendees. Thank you to Jane Remmer (PA to Matt Rosseinsky) and Arthur Taylor (PDRA in Patricia Murray’s group) who did a tremendous work in organizing the symposium. Thank you also to our sponsors listed below.
Should we do it again?