Life Science Research Luminaries Speak at First AFM BioMed Conference

At the first AFM BioMed conference, held last month in Barcelona, Spain, world-leading life science researchers came together to share ideas and investigate how atomic force microscopy (AFM) technology can be used to solve biological bottlenecks and provide innovative solutions for healthcare. Over the three day conference, held at the CosmoCaixa science museum, about 30 oral presentations and 130 posters were presented to 220 scientists.

‘AFM BioMed’ was created by a scientific organizing committee including: Pierre Parot and Jean-Luc Pellequer, CEA/DSV (Life Science division of the Atomic Energy Commission), France and Daniel Navajas, University of Barcelona, Spain; and the session chairmen Yves Dufrêne, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium; Peter Hinterdorfer, Johannes Kepler University, Austria; Simon Scheuring, Curie Institute, France and Christian Le Grimellec, INSERM (National Institute of Health and Medical Research), France. The conference was co-sponsored by Veeco Instruments Inc. a leading provider of instruments for nanotechnology, Leica Microsystems, a leading designer and manufacturer of optical microimaging systems and Telstar Instrumat.

Pierre Parot, Chairman of the AFM BioMed Conference organizing committee, commented, “The conference, which was standing room only, exceeded our expectations in its first year, effectively linking hundreds of international academic and industrial experts in life sciences involved in AFM and related techniques in medical/biological studies. We are pleased that the concept of starting a conference focused exclusively on biology and medical applications of AFMs was so well received by the research community. In fact, the wide variety of applications evidence the potential of AFM technology in biomedical research.”

Michael Horton, Life Sciences Director at the London Centre for Nanotechnology commented, “This conference emphasizes the need to set up cross-disciplinary collaboration up front. Now that AFM has a relatively firm footing in the life sciences, biologists are becoming innovators in the use and applications for AFM as much as physicists have been. The next step is to connect nanoscale research to clear biomedical needs.”

Another renowned speaker was Toshio Ando, Kanazawa University, a pioneer in the development of high spatial resolution imaging in aqueous solution with enhanced scan speed. He presented the hand-over-hand movement of myosin V along actin filaments. Professor Ando commented, “High-speed AFM is useful for studying protein’s dynamic action, and will open new ways of elucidating the mechanism of protein function.”

Prof. Paul Hansma, University of California, Santa Barbara, a bio-AFM pioneer who gave the conference keynote speech commented, "Back when we were developing AFM for biological applications, we were hoping that AFM would one day contribute to quality of life, like the light microscope and the electron microscope has in the past. I look forward to the day when we will see the picture of the first person who was healed because of the use of an AFM."

Edward H. Braun, Chairman and CEO of Veeco, commented “Our sponsoring of this conference is part of our initiative to bring instruments that we have developed for materials sciences and semiconductor technology to the life science market as biologists and life scientists reach for the same advanced resolution and performance for their research already existing in information technology. Our vision is to apply what we have learned to deliver new, innovative high performance solutions for biologic research applications.”

Werner Kampe, Marketing and Sales Manager of Leica Microsystems’ Life Science Research Division added, “As Veeco’s technology and marketing partner, we are pleased to jointly develop a system that combines AFM with optical fluorescence and confocal microscopy. After officially announcing our cooperation at this conference, our vision is to take these technologies to the next step of innovation and integration.”

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