2009 is the tenth anniversary of the founding of leading life sciences and nanotechnology company, JPK Instruments. In celebration, the company hosted their eighth annual symposium on the applications of scanning probe microscopy (SPM) alongside the second annual symposium on optical tweezers. The symposia were held on the 14-15th October in Berlin at the Umspannwerk Ost center which provided a comfortable and relaxed surrounding inspiring an excellent dialogue between delegates. These meetings have become highly regarded on the international SPM meetings calendar with more than 130 attendees participating over the two day program.
With speakers coming from leading laboratories across Europe and the USA, it is quite a challenge to pick highlights from the eighteen oral talks. While leading professors including Juergen Rabe (Humboldt University, Berlin) and Daniel Mueller (TU Dresden) gave their customary high stand of review, a young postgraduate student, Patrick Bosshart from Basel University, stole the show on the opening day with a confident insight on what you learn from force spectroscopy when studying ion channels.
The optical tweezers day began with an overview covering the rapid development of the technique from Professor Heinrich Hoerber of the University of Bristol. Subsequent cutting edge applications presentations highlighted how optical tweezers sheds new light on the dynamics of cellular and molecular processes. Dr Remus Dame from Leiden University described how to unravel the organization of chromatin. The talk from Dr Satish Rao from ICFO in Barcelona also stood out describing how optical tweezers can be coupled with Raman spectroscopy to follow biosystem dynamics. The effect of cancer on red blood cells was most effectively demonstrated.
Reflecting on this year's meeting, Torsten Jähnke, CTO and cofounder of JPK said he was very happy to see so many people attending the symposia. "The quality of the talks was again very high. I was extremely impressed with the poster sessions. The standard, particularly in the optical tweezers session, was of the highest quality."
This year's SPM poster winner was Dr Clemens Franz from the DFG-Center for Functional Nanostructures in Karlsruhe. He cleverly used iPod technology to complement his presentation. The optical tweezers winner was Ms. Elisa D'Este, CNR-INFM-National Laboratory TASC, Trieste. She applied the technique to stimulate and track hippocampal neurons using BDNF beads.
To learn more or to review the presentations from this year's meeting, visit the NanoBioVIEWS web site, www.nanobioviews.net.