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A group shot via 'Zoom' of the Annual Meeting.

Physics’ BioSpec team successfully host the 4th Annual Meeting of the EU COST Action BioBrillouin network.

On the 9-11 September 2020, the BioSpec team at Exeter hosted the 4th Annual Meeting of the EU COST Action BioBrillouin (CA16124, 2017-2021), a pan-European network established to advance the field of Brillouin Light Scattering – an emerging optical elastography technique – applied to life science and biomedical research.

Founding leads of the network are Dr Kareem Elsayad from Vienna BioCenter and Prof. Francesca Palombo from Exeter, chair of the organising committee of virtual BioBrillouin2020. For the first time, the meeting was an online event hosted on Zoom with free registration for all. It saw the participation of more than 170 delegates from 24 countries worldwide including Australia, Singapore and the USA. The programme of the virtual event included 40 talks, of which one keynote, 10 invited, 18 oral and 11 poster presentations, breakout discussions and an online exhibition of optical devices hosted on the conference website. The Society for Applied Spectroscopy (SAS) UK Regional Section sponsored two prizes for early career researchers, one for best talk and the other one for best poster presentation.

Dr Francesca Palombo, Associate Professor of Biomedical Spectroscopy, writes; “The experience was mind-blowing from start to end. We received positive feedback from many attendees who thoroughly enjoyed the meeting and the opportunity to access online recordings of the sessions. Let us not forget that many meetings this year were cancelled or postponed due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and, in some cases, this was the only conference that researchers were able to attend and present at. The meeting also triggered a follow-up session on the 17 September focused on the correlation between AFM and Brillouin-derived elastic moduli. As a result of this session, a critical review is being drafted for publication. In 2021 we still hope to be able to host an in-person meeting in Exeter and to replicate the success of this year’s meeting, which had the largest cohort of attendees ever recorded in BioBrillouin network events.”

Special thanks to Karen Lenton (CEMPS), Emma Boswood (CEMPS), Michelle Bailey, Dr Alex Dudgeon and Prof. Nick Stone (BioSpec), and the Core Group of the COST Action BioBrillouin for their help in the planning and delivery of this virtual event.

Date: 23 September 2020

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