The PHOQUS 2016 conference took place at the West Park Conference Centre in Dundee, Scotland from 22nd to 23rd August. The overall theme of the conference was Biophotonic approaches: From molecules to living systems and featured a packed program of invited talks by research leaders, contributed talks and posters from various conference delegates, mixed with presentations on the R&D results of the PHOQUS Fellows. The talks and posters covered all aspects of the theme, including highlights in in vivo, tissue, high resolution and biomechanical imaging. The conference was divided into a number of sessions, each chaired by the PHOQUS Fellows. The sessions were deliberately mixed in topics to offer more variety during the information rich talks.
Following a brief welcome from Prof. Kees Weijer, co-ordinator of the PHOQUS programme, the event started with a talk on Intravital imaging of drug target engagement from Erik Sahai of the Francis Crick Institute. Talks on the first day covered a range of topics from novel imaging techniques in vivo to talks on fundamental beam shaping and adaptive optics techniques. Among many fascinating talks, two highlights were the talks on Wave front shaping techniques from Monika Ritsch-Marte of the University of Innsbruck and the talk on in-vivo deep imaging from John Girkin of Durham University. The first day closed with a conference dinner attended by all of the invited speakers and the PHOQUS fellows. The dinner gave the fellows an opportunity to network with top notch scientists from all over the world on a more informal basis.
The second day opened with a talk on Multidimensional Fluorescence Imaging across the scales from Paul French of Imperial College, London. Talks on the second day covered a range of topics from mechanical phenotyping to novel beam shaping techniques. The highlights included a talk on high throughput mechanical phenotyping via microfluidics from Jochen Guck of TU Dresden and a talk on beam shaping techniques to allow microscopy through a single mode fiber from Tomas Cizmar of the University of Dundee.
In addition to the talks and posters, the PHOQUS fellows had a stand demonstrating some of the Outreach activities. The demonstration that generated most interest was PDMS lenses that can be produced at home for a few cents. These lenses allow a standard mobile phone to be used as a microscope. The conference program included many long coffee breaks to give attendees the chance for dialog amongst fellow scientists. This led to many informative and helpful discussions and allowed for a pleasant networking experience among top-notch scientists and students alike.
Around 90 delegates from the UK and Europe participated in this event and the feedback from the attendees and speakers indicated that everyone enjoyed the conference and found it very stimulating: “The conference was very enjoyable and academically very profitable”, “Thank you very much for organizing such a great event”, “I really enjoyed the two days in Dundee and everyone else from my group did as well”.